WAYNE — A changing of the guards is in the works for one seat on the town’s selectboard. One longtime public servant is stepping down from the five-member body, while a fresh face is running for that same seat without any challengers.

At 85, the longtime public servant, Selectman Peter Ault, has served on various town committees and boards over the last 51 years, including two terms on the selectboard, 45 years as a trustee at Cary Memorial Library, 10 years on the budget committee and 11 years as town treasurer.

Ault is not seeking re-election. Running for his spot is Trent Emery, a local farmer whose time on Earth has been shorter than some of Ault’s stints on town boards. Emery, who will soon be 35, is making his first bid to be a public servant.

But that relative youth is one of the reasons Emery says he’s running for town government.

After growing up in Wayne and attending Hebron Academy, Emery graduated from St. Lawrence University and spent five years working as a public school teacher. He eventually left teaching to work full-time at Emery Farm, a 15-acre vegetable farm he runs with his wife, Alicia Emery.

They have two daughters and have now been running the farm for seven seasons. On a recent morning, Emery was getting ready to plant peppers after dropping one daughter off at school.

He’s running for selectman, he said, in part because two friends suggested he do so on separate occasions. Reluctant at first because of the time commitment, Emery eventually came around to the idea. He was also inspired to run by current Selectman Jonathan Lamarche, who, like Emery, has young kids and runs a small business in town.

“I’m concerned about community, and given the nature of my business and being part of a young family in Wayne, I thought I might be able to offer insight into the town’s needs,” Emery said.

Emery added that he does not have any specific concerns about the way the town is currently run.

“I don’t see this as being an agenda driven role for me. I just wanted to offer the perspective of someone who is 35, with two kids in elementary school, trying to make a living in the town,” he said. If elected, he went on, “Participating and listening would be the most important thing to do. For me, being so new to this, it’s important to get caught up to speed. There’s a lot of new material I’m not current on.”

The election for town officers will take place Tuesday, June 14, one day before the annual Town Meeting on June 15.

Though Ault is not running for re-election, he’s not hanging up his municipal servant hat either.

He is now involved with a committee that is studying the ability of local senior citizens to continue living in their homes. As a widower — his wife Eloise died more than a year ago — and the lone resident of the modest home overlooking Androscoggin Lake that his parents originally built as a summer place, Ault brings an important perspective to that committee.

“The reason I’m on it is, I guess, I represent my generation,” he said.

After studying history at Bates College, Ault was drafted into the Korean War. He then spent many years working as a bridge construction engineer for the Maine Department of Transportation, despite what he describes as a fear of heights, and still does the occasional consulting on construction projects.

Ault now describes himself as “the groundskeeper” at his property on Morrison Heights Road. A calm, round cat named Minnie Pearl roams around his house, and he spends his free time feeding the birds. After one of his bird feeders was inexplicably mangled recently, acquaintances have helped him set up a game camera to determine if it was a bear.

Though Ault has been recognized for his years of public service — two years ago, Maine Municipal Association gave him the Kelley Memorial Award for distinguished community service — he’s modest and quick to express his appreciation for health, luck and the competence of those he worked with at each stage.

Asked if he has any advice for members of younger generations who are interested in public service, Ault said, “I wish they would get involved.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker


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