MOUNT DESERT — Martha Dudman and Stephanie Reece are competing for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen in the May 7 municipal election.
Dudman has held the seat since being appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in 2011. She was elected to a full term in 2012 and again in 2015.
Each of the candidates spoke with the Islander last week about why they are running and why they think they are right for the job.
“I’m running for re-election to continue our efforts to preserve the town of Mount Desert as a strong, viable year-round community,” Dudman said.
“We’ve made some really good improvements to the infrastructure of our town. We’ve improved signage, we’ve got a project in place for new LED streetlights, and we’re expanding broadband services to underserved parts of the town.
“Working with a large group of volunteers, we’ve created the Village Center Plan to repair and renovate the heart of Northeast Harbor, all while keeping our property tax increases to a minimum.”
Dudman’s business experience included running a group of radio stations for 10 years.
“For the last 20 years, I’ve been working with nonprofits all over the state to help them raise money to do good projects for their organizations.”
Dudman has previously held leadership positions in state and national broadcasters’ associations. She serves on the board of directors of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.
“I have quite a bit of experience working with boards, bringing people together and trying to effect changes that work for everyone,” she said.
Referring to the Board of Selectmen, Dudman said she is proud to serve on a board whose members really listen to people who come to them with concerns or complaints.
“I know I’ve changed my mind a couple of times because of the sincerity and passion and good arguments of the people who came to talk to us,” she said.
“It really feels good to be part of a governing body that approaches its work with respect, even-handedness and really keeping the interests of the people of our town in mind.”
Reece and her husband, Mark, own the Colonel’s Restaurant and Bakery in Northeast Harbor. They have two children, ages 11 and 14.
“I’d like to see somebody on the board who has kids currently enrolled in school,” Reece said. “I’d like someone there who represents that group of us. I think there are a lot of changes going on [with the schools].”
Reece said she considered running for the Mount Desert School Committee.
“But I think that sometimes gets a little bit more personal,” she said. “It has more to do with teachers and what’s going on with students.
“I kind of wanted to touch on some of the bigger issues, things that may be coming down the pipeline such as school consolidation.”
Reece said that, over the years, people have asked her to consider running for the Board of Selectmen.
“But my kids were just too young, and I didn’t want to do something if I couldn’t commit to it,” she said. “Now that they’re getting older, it’s a little easier. I know it’s a big time commitment, so I’ve made sure I could juggle my job, the kids and everything.”
When her children were much younger, she served as president of the Mount Desert Nursery School. More recently, she was a member of the town’s Revitalization Committee.
In addition to being a voice for young families, Reece said she feels she can represent the interests of small business owners and others who are self employed.
“Overall, I think the town does a really great job,” she said. “There’s a lot going on, and I would just like to be more a part of it.”