TREMONT — Three candidates are running for two seats on the Board of Selectmen at the May 7 town election.
Incumbent Kevin Buck and two first-time bidders, Steve “Spiff” Carter and Mike Mansolilli, are seeking the two open seats. Selectman Chris Eaton, who has been a selectman since 2006 and a former chairman, will not be running for another term.
Two three-year Tremont School Committee seats also are on the ballot. Ben Jacobs filed as a new candidate and will be running against committee Chair Heidi Lawson and incumbent Jennifer Horner.
Keri Hayes is unopposed in her bid for another three-year term on the Mount Desert Island High School Trustees Board.
Buck is seeking a second three-year term on the Board of Selectmen.
Buck is satisfied with the course the town is on, and he’d “like to see it continue this way,” he told the Islander on Monday.
“I think we’ve got a good staff and town crew, and I’d like try and keep them.” Buck is retired and has been a resident of Tremont, which he calls the “best town around,” since 2000.
Buck said that since he joined the board, selectmen have been able to work well together to come up with compromise solutions.
Developing sustainable energy for the town is a high priority for Buck. In addition to serving as selectman, he’s a member of the Solar Task Force.
Previously, Buck served as the chair of the Warrant Committee and the chair of the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee.
He said the town has been having a hard time keeping the boards and committees staffed, and he’d like to “get more residents involved in the process.”
Steve “Spiff” Carter
Carter is making his first bid for selectman. This also is his first attempt at any public office.
Carter said what motivated him to run was the recent tax hike in the town’s budget. He said his primary goal as selectman would be to find a way to at least slow the increase of taxes.
“I’m concerned about the budget and just want to make sure the town’s going on a path that I like,” he told the Islander.
Carter is a lobsterman and the father of a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. The Bernard resident was born in Massachusetts but he said his family has lived on the island for generations.
Carter said one of his strengths as a candidate is that he’s open-minded.
“I like to fight for the bad guy or at least try to see the other guy’s point of view,” he said.
He added that he’s also very approachable and would like to “hear any little suggestion about how the town can better help its people.”
Mansolilli has some experience working in local government, but this is his first time to seek a seat on the Board of Selectmen.
Mansolilli lives with his girlfriend, Samantha, and 3-year-old son, Nyall, in West Tremont. His family has been in Tremont for eight generations, he said, after originally settling on Bartlett’s Island.
Mansolilli owns a landscaping company and oversees eight employees.
“I’m a small business owner here, and I think Tremont has more potential to offer small businesses than other towns in the area,” he said.
The harbor is the engine of the town, he said, and he would like to keep its productivity at the forefront of planning. He said he will work to protect and maintain the town’s “great school” as well.
Mansolilli served on the planning board in Southwest Harbor, where his business used to be based, for eight years. In that role, he said, he often attended selectmens’ meetings and gained a lot of town government knowledge.
He said he doesn’t have a particular agenda and would rather find out what voters want.
“I will be a voice for all residents, whether part of the workforce or retired,” he said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated Mansolili’s previous town service.
Lawson is running for a second three-year term on the Tremont School Committee, but she has served for at least five consecutive years while filling in for other people.
She said she’s running again to preserve some of the knowledge within the committee.
“Without somebody with history, projects hit a wall,” she said.
Lawson participated in the superintendent search and is now involved with the contract negotiations between the school board and teachers union representatives. She said the board just got around to long-range planning, and she’d like to continue being a part of those conversations.
“I enjoy being a voice for the school, I enjoy being involved,” she said.
Lawson said one of her strengths is her willingness to learn and to look at things from every angle before forming an opinion.
The Seal Cove resident is the mail carrier for the town. She has two black belts in taekwondo.
Lawson’s eldest son is a senior at MDI High School. She also has a son in eighth grade and a daughter in third.
She said Tremont Consolidated stands out from other schools in the area for the quality of programs it offers students, particularly in French, arts and music.
“It’s a school that people want to send their kids to.”
Horner is making a bid for a second three-year term on the Tremont School Committee.
The Bass Harbor resident is a stay-at-home mom and has three children who attend eighth, sixth and fourth grade at Tremont Consolidated School.
Horner said she has enjoyed serving on the School Committee for the past three years. She said filed her nomination again to make sure all the seats are filled.
“I think it’s important for people to give back to the community, and I feel this is a great way for me to give back to my community,” she said.
Horner added that she doesn’t have an agenda, “I’m just here to support the staff at the school and the community.”
Jacobs is another newcomer to running for town office. He’s seeking a seat on the Tremont School Committee.
“Maybe that’s what the board needs, a person with new ideas and a different outlook,” he told the Islander.
The Seal Cove resident has two kids who go to the school, one in sixth grade, another in first.
Jacobs said he’s been going to all the meetings and is looking forward to contributing to discussions on athletics, the budget and space restrictions at the school.
“As far as athletics go, that can be fine-tuned. In the beginning, years back, we didn’t have enough children, and now the schools are getting bigger, so the teams are getting larger,” he said.
Jacobs said he’s an effective communicator and a good listener. As the highway superintendent for the Town of Mount Desert, he is used to dealing with the public on a daily basis.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story implied Jacobs was a highway employee for the Town of Tremont.