Edgecomb will vote for its municipal officers Friday, May 20 with two newcomers running unopposed for seats on the board of selectmen and the school committee. Ted Hugger is running for a seat on the Edgecomb Board of Selectmen; Mark Graham for a seat on the Edgecomb School Committee.
Several incumbents are seeking re-election as road commissioner, tax collector, and town clerk and treasurer, as are members of the planning board.
Claudia Coffin is seeking re-election for a one-year term as town clerk and treasurer; Deb Boucher is seeking re-election for a one-year term as tax collector; Scott Griffin is seeking re-election for a one-year term as road commissioner; and Gretchen Burleigh-Johnson is seeking re-election for a three-year term on the planning board.
Barry Hawthorne did not return nomination papers by deadline, but is seeking election to the planning board as a write-in candidate.
Edgecomb will hold its election for municipal officers Friday, May 20 from 1-7 p.m. at the town hall. The open town meeting will be held Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m.
Soon after relocating to Edgecomb in 2013, Hugger became a familiar face at selectmen’s meetings. He began attending meetings because “as a business owner, I thought it was important to be aware of what was going on,” he said. “It’s so cool to watch a small town like this manage itself.”
Hugger was tapped to serve on several town committees, such as the appeals board and the comprehensive plan review committee, which morphed into Edgecomb’s new economic development committee.
When no candidates stepped forward for the seat on the board of selectmen, soon to be vacated by two-term Selectman Jessica Chubbuck, several people encouraged him to run, Hugger said.
“I was already attending most meetings and it’s important,” Hugger said. If elected May 20, Hugger will no longer just watch from the sidelines. He will have a direct hand in the decisions made by the board, which he hopes will help Edgecomb move forward.
Hugger, a “serial entrepreneur,” brings with him more than 30 years of experience in marketing, communications, and event management, and as an independent business owner.
Prior to purchasing the Cod Cove Inn with his wife Jill, Hugger owned and operated Highliner Events LLC and Hugger Event Management LLC, which specialized in organizing large trade shows in the fishing, marine, and logging industries, among others.
Originally from Michigan, Hugger relocated to Maine in 1989 to work as marketing director for WoodenBoat Publications, a producer of trade magazines and expositions. He moved on to work as marketing director for Diversified Expositions, which organized international trade shows.
The trade show business “gets into your blood,” said Hugger, who ventured out on his own in 1994 to organize events that brought major vendors and players in various industries together under one roof.
Jill Hugger has an extensive career in the hospitality industry and was often encouraged by Ted to also venture out on her own, and run her own hotel. One day, the decision was made. The couple searched real estate listings throughout the state and found the Cod Cove Inn.
The Huggers saw the Cod Cove Inn for the first time in July 2015. By Sept. 3, 2015, the couple had sold their house and moved to Edgecomb as the inn’s new owners. “It was destiny,” Ted Hugger said.
As a selectman, Hugger said he is committed to listening to all sides of an issue to ensure the decisions made are fair. Figuring out how to broaden Edgecomb’s tax base while maintaining the character of the town will be a major challenge moving forward, he said.
As a business owner, each year Hugger is accustomed to reviewing budgets item by item to figure out how to run “leaner and meaner,” he said. He plans to bring this experience to the table as a new selectman.
Hugger said he is excited to work with the town office staff and the other selectmen, whose enthusiasm for the town is apparent and vital, he said. “We’ve invested everything in the inn and thrown a lot into Edgecomb,” Hugger said. “It’s really important to me that the needs of the community are addressed.”
“I’m a huge fan of education,” said Graham, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree. “I want to make sure that our education is protected.”
Graham’s youngest daughter attended Edgecomb Eddy School, which “has a great staff that does a great job with the kids,” he said. The future of Edgecomb Eddy School has long been a topic of conversation in town; the education budget accounts for the lion’s share of Edgecomb’s tax commitment.
As the conversation about the future of education in Edgecomb continues, Graham decided to enter the front lines of the debate as a member of the school committee. “I’m a big fan of local control,” he said. “I want to protect the school.”
Graham is a member of the recently formed facilities committee at the Edgecomb Eddy School. In addition to an extensive career in law enforcement, where he worked for the Boothbay Harbor Police Department, Damariscotta Police Department, and Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, Graham worked as head of facilities for Hodgdon Yachts.
He currently works for Camden National Bank as director of facilities. His work experience in facilities maintenance drove him to get involved with the facilities committee to ensure the school is properly maintained in a cost-effective manner, he said.
“I’m a big believer that you need to get out and vote and, if you have time, volunteer in the community,” Graham said.
The current chair of the Edgecomb School Committee, Sarah Clifford, will also appear on the ballot Friday, May 20. Clifford is running for the final year of Cassandra Fabiano’s term on the school committee. Due to a recent move, Fabiano resigned from the committee May 1.