Former state legislator and state Republican chairman Charlie Webster has been appointed by Gov. Paul LePage as a Franklin County commissioner to replace former Commissioner Fred Hardy, of New Sharon, who died July 4.

Webster, of Farmington, who turned 60 Saturday at his camp in Island Falls, said he is excited about being chosen and expects to be sworn in in the next few days.

“It’s another chapter in politics for me, although it is not a partisan position,” Webster, a Republican, said Monday in a phone interview. “I’m excited about it. I think it’ll be kind of a nice way to end my political involvement.”

He was one of four candidates for the District 2 seat picked by Franklin County Republican Committee District 2 representatives July 27. The district comprises Farmington, New Sharon and Chesterville.

The other candidates were Peter Tracy, a registered forester, and Ryan Morgan, an electrician and businessman, both of Farmington, and Chesterville resident David Archer, a longtime selectman in that town. Tracy and Morgan are former Farmington selectmen, and Morgan and Archer are members of the Franklin County Budget Committee.

“There were four very capable candidates sent to the governor, and we’re very pleased that Charlie is the appointed individual,” Bill Crandall, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Committee, said Monday. “We know he’ll do a great job.”

Webster said he had known Fred Hardy for a long time and hopes to continue his good work. Hardy, 85, died at Maine Medical Center in Portland after a long illness.

Webster said Hardy was conscientious and hard-working. “I supported him when he ran in the primary for the position 22 years ago,” Webster said. “I knew him personally. I respected him, and I actually worked on his first campaign. He was a great guy. I feel that he would be pleased to have me there.”

Webster, the owner of Webster Heating Co. in Farmington for the past 34 years, served in the state House of Representatives from 1980 to 1984 and in the state Senate from 1984-1994. He was chairman of the Maine Republican Committee from 2008 to 2012.

In LePage’s letter to Webster, dated Friday, the governor said it was his honor to appoint Webster a commissioner to represent District 2.

“I am confident you will make a valuable contribution to the state in that position,” the letter says. “The strength of our government is found to a great degree in the willingness of individuals to serve when asked. I thank you for offering your energies to this position.”

The governor chose Webster from the four candidates chosen July 27 by the Franklin County Republican Committee District 2 representatives.

Crandall said that Hardy’s wife, Ruby, vice chairman of the Franklin County Republican Committee, opened the July 27 meeting.

“The sad news is we lost Fred Hardy, longtime Franklin County commissioner,” Crandall said Monday. “He did a great job for this county, and we had a moment of silence at the caucus to honor his service and dedication.”

Webster said a couple of legislators asked him to consider seeking appointment to represent District 2, which includes Farmington, New Sharon and Chesterville.

“I never really thought about it, but I love public service and I enjoy running for office and campaigning,” he said.

He will fill Hardy’s four-year term, which ends at the end of December 2016, and then, he said, he will file papers to run for the position.

“I spoke to the governor prior to applying and told him that if appointed, I’ll run again,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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