On Tuesday, June 8, Waldoboro voters will pick two of five candidates for the board of selectmen.
Incumbent Abden Simmons, the current chair of the board, is seeking reelection. Russell Brazier Jr., Kevin Court, Seth Hall, and William Pratt are also running for the two three-year terms. Selectman Katie Winchenbach is not seeking reelection.
The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the town office.
Kevin Court is originally from Ohio. He moved to Maine when he was 16, first to Nobleboro, then to Waldoboro, where he has lived for 11 years.
Court graduated from Lincoln Academy and started nursing school at the University of New England, but didn’t finish. The birth of his daughter changed the course of his life.
Court worked for eight years at Spear Farms in Nobleboro and seven years at the Maine State Prison in Warren. He is currently a self-employed carpenter. He gets “a lot of appreciation and self-worth” from carpentry and takes pride in his work. “It’s definitely a craft,” he said.
Court said he wants to be a resource for Waldoboro residents. He said he has seen a few meetings where residents brought up issues and got answers that were open-ended or unclear and that led to more questions.
“There are a ton of transportation issues that need to be addressed,” Court said. While the last winter seemed pretty mild, he heard a lot of complaints about the condition of the roads.
He said he had a snow-related accident on Route 1 and is concerned that “this past winter it seems like there was a disconnect with getting roads sanded or plowed. The roads aren’t being kept up.”
Court said he understands that it’s easy to criticize, “especially when you’re not the one doing the job.”
Court said he would have an open mind, review relevant information, and try to understand the cause of a problem before making a decision. “A pothole isn’t the only problem on the road,” he said.
Court counts his daughters as his greatest accomplishment. He has two girls with wife Kelsey. He said Alyse, 11, is a soft, gentle soul and 10-year-old Aubrey is a spitfire. He likes to garden — he started raspberries and strawberries with his kids. And he likes to be outdoors and keep active by cutting wood or mowing the lawn.
Court said that while he is not originally from a small town, “community is one of the greatest things I’ve found here. It doesn’t matter what you drive, who you are, what time of day it is. Three cars will stop if you’re pulled over on the side of the road.”
“It almost feels like you’re home no matter where you are in Waldoboro,” Court said. “There’s good people all around you.”
Seth Hall was born in Lincoln, Mass. He dropped out of high school at 16, but returned later. He took courses at the University of Massachusetts, followed by night courses through the Harvard Extension School, from which he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Hall has worked as a toolmaker and an ironworker, but after becoming interested in computer science, he spent most of his career as a research computer professional at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
When he was considering retirement, Hall, who has sailed in Maine waters since he was 9, purchased property on Dutch Neck and moved to Waldoboro in 2009. He has started two businesses in town: the BugTussle Brooder and the BugTussle Annex.
Hall has been a member of the Waldoboro Conservation Commission and the Medomak Valley Community Foundation. He has also served on the Waldoboro Economic Development Committee, and was a founding member of the Waldoboro Communication and Technology Committee. He was chair of the Waldoboro Planning Board for several years and has run for the board of selectmen twice before.
While chair of a renewable energy subcommittee, Hall “helped the town examine and create a power purchase agreement” that resulted in the construction of the solar array at the transfer station. The array provides 100% of the electricity consumed by town facilities.
Hall is very interested in economic development, particularly in the village. He said he thinks he has “brought more jobs to Waldoboro than anyone in 10-20 years.”
He wants a “more activist select board” that will recruit businesses and be “actively involved in the economic and social development of the town.” His biggest single concern politically is transparency in government, and making sure residents have the opportunity to be involved in the decisions that affect them.
Hall said he is very interested and involved in municipal broadband and reducing the high cost of connectivity. He strongly supports the idea of a public green — a communal space in close proximity to the village.
He is a strong supporter of the shellfish conservation committee’s work to protect the river. “We should have a clam shack selling Medomak-branded clams,” he said.
Hall raised his daughter as a single parent and has “one wonderful grandchild,” he said. He enjoys gardening, ocean sailing, and politics — though he takes politics more seriously than his other hobbies.
Hall is focused on economic and community development for Waldoboro. “When the economy tanks, when there’s a pandemic, communities are what’s left to help each other, to inspire each other, to teach our children to take care of people. The people are the most important thing there is,” Hall said.
Will Pratt was born and raised in Waldoboro and attended Coastal Christian Academy. His family moved to Boothbay, where he graduated from Boothbay Region High School.
He returned to Waldoboro, where he dug clams and worked as a lobsterman before landing a job at the transfer station. He has worked as an attendant there for the last two years. With a young family, he appreciates having a steady job.
Pratt has served on the shellfish conservation committee for four years, where he encouraged the expansion of cleanup activities to include the whole community. “We had a great turnout the first year,” he said, and this year more people have gotten involved. “It shows you care about your town. It’s good for the environment and it keeps Waldoboro looking good,” he said.
He has also served for almost a year on the Waldoboro Conservation Commission and for three years on the Waldoboro Budget Committee.
Pratt said he wants to encourage small businesses, which he feels are a good fit for the town. And he wants to draw visitors to the village district, rather than “just being a Route 1 drive-through town.”
Pratt said that parking and lack of awareness are inhibiting the growth of the historic district and he has ideas to address both issues. He wants to work with the economic development committee to “hash out a good plan — we could build a good foundation and hopefully it will grow,” he said.
Pratt and wife Rebekah have two young daughters, Zoey and Juniper. The family has a small homestead where they garden with the goal of being self-sufficient.
Pratt enjoys using a metal detector to find treasures, from coins to historic artifacts. He has a strong interest in local history and admires the Waldoborough Historical Society’s work to document the town’s past.
Pratt said one of the best parts of his job at the transfer station is that he gets to meet the “interesting mix” of people who make their home in Waldoboro. “Some have lived here their whole lives, some are new, but they all have great visions for the town,” he said.
Pratt said several people encouraged him to run for the board. “I had wanted to do it, I thought, maybe later in life. But the opportunity presented itself and I like the direction Waldoboro’s going. I want to keep it that way,” he said.
Abden Simmons grew up in and has lived almost all his life in Waldoboro. He attended Friendship Street School, Miller School, and A.D. Gray School before graduating from Medomak Valley High School.
A commercial fisherman, he has harvested clams, oysters, quahogs, mussels, urchins, scallops, and elvers, and has worked as a sternman on a lobster boat. Simmons owns A & A Shellfish, a clam-buying operation, as well as the Mighty Minnow bait shop.
Simmons said he used to work for Gordon Libby’s Forest Products or Locust Farm Dairy during the night and dig clams during the day. When it became too hard to work 40 hours and then go digging, “I chose clamming,” he said.
Simmons served on the planning board for two three-year terms and has been a selectman for the last six years. He was a state legislator for two years and was recently appointed to the Maine Department of Marine Resources Advisory Council by Gov. Janet Mills.
Simmons said that over the course of his work on behalf of the town, he has had “a lot of interaction with bills that pertain to commercial fishing.”
Simmons wants to get services back to pre-pandemic levels. He said that cutting the budget by half a million dollars last year “really hurt, but we survived it.”
According to Simmons, the town is “working our way back to 100%, slowly but surely,” while being “fiscally responsible and not taking the money out of the taxpayer’s pocket.”
Simmons said there are a lot of major projects in the works that will take time, such as a possible health care facility and recreation building on town land. Simmons thinks the health care facility would be a huge driver for jobs — “hopefully good-paying jobs.”
Simmons said he enjoys the diversity of industry and opportunity in Waldoboro, from farming to commercial fishing to forestry. “You’ve got almost everything here that you need,” he said. He said the town could use a little more light industry interspersed with the existing smaller and home-based businesses to create more jobs.
Simmons is married to April Simmons and has a son, Dalton, who works in cybersecurity for Dead River Co. He loves to hunt and makes annual trips to the Western U.S. to hunt elk or mule deer.
Simmons has served on the Waldoboro Shellfish Committee for more than 20 years and is particularly proud of his work with the Medomak Project.
“The river is probably the cleanest it’s been in the last 25 years,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of our flats back open so guys can go to work. That’s what I care about — guys going to work.”
Russell Brazier Jr.
Russell Brazier Jr. did not respond to interview requests.