How most Selectmen became women

Sat, 09/12/2020 - 2:30pm

About this blog:

  • Frank Barnako is a seasonal resident of Wiscasset at Clarks Point on the Sheepscot River.   His career in journalism included on air and news director positions with CBS and NBC Radio and TV stations.  He was a pioneer in the Internet, helping to create and co-found MarketWatch.com where he also developed a 200-station radio network and wrote daily columns focused on the stock market, business news, and technology. Barnako describes himself as “an aspiring photographer,” whose work can be seen at frankbarnako.com<http://frankbarnako.com>. He is a member of the town’s Investment Advisory Committee. Email him at wiscasset@barnako.com.

 A year ago, Barack Obama said "If more women were put in charge, there would be less war, kids would be better taken care of and there would be a general improvement in living standards and outcomes.”

Now, we'll see what happens when women run the Wiscasset Board of Selectmen.

A week after celebrating the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote, Wiscasset voters decided the Selectmen needed to get in to the suffragette spirit.  They elected three women candidates and no men..

Re-elected was Selectman Kim Andersson. She will be joined on the Board by lifelong Wiscassetan Sarah Whitfield and town library director Pam Dunning.  

It was a pretty low key  campaign, although yard signs for Bill Maloney  seemed to be everywhere in town.  Andersson had a few street signs and it wasn't until the day before voting that Sarah Whitfield pushed a few campaign comments on Facebook.  Turnout was light - the top vote getter, Pam Dunning, collected 233 votes.  There were 2,000 Wiscasset votes cast in the 2016 Presidential balloting.

I figure the average age of a Selectman, with the new members, has dropped into the mid-50s from the mid-60s.  As someone older than any of them, I also think this is all good.  And I believe the younger Board of Selectmen will get support from the new, also younger, Town Manager, Dennis Simmons.  He attended a recent Friends of Wiscasset Village morning meeting, eager to hear ideas, quick to take notes and promise answers.

As one who has attended a good number of Selectmen meetings over 15 years, I am excited to see what happens now.  I spoke with each of the victorious women before Election Day and was impressed.  They spoke optimistically about Wiscasset and agree the town needs to be business friendly. Dunning, Whitfield,  and Andersson are know the town's history. They may even be tired of hearing people how cushy it was when Maine Yankee was here.  They know those days are gone and the town needs to be managed accordingly.  The voters' rejection of three male candidates, each with histories of  volunteering and service to the Town, may mark a turning point.

Got a comment? Email mail@barnako.com