A former Madison selectman defeated a Starks selectman by a 382-vote margin in the race for the District 2 seat on the Somerset County Board of Commissioners.

Cyprien Johnson, 66, of Madison, won the race in Tuesday’s election to represent District 2 on board.

With all six district towns reporting Wednesday, Johnson cinched the election with a final vote of 2,557-2,175 over the chairman of the Starks Board of Selectmen, Paul Frederic, 74, of Starks.

District 2 consists of the towns of Anson, where Frederic received 558 votes and Johnson received 497; Madison, where Johnson received 1,431 and Frederic received 676; Mercer, where Johnson received 150 and Frederic received 213; New Portland, where Johnson received 169 and Frederic received 189; Smithfield, where Johnson received 276 and Frederic received 227; and Starks, where Johnson received 34 and Frederic received 312.

Johnson served three years on the Madison Board of Selectmen and six years on the Skowhegan Board of Selectmen. Frederic is in his 11th year on the Starks board.

The Somerset County Board of Commissioners sets county policies and oversees county departments such as the sheriff’s office.

The District 2 seat formerly was held by Robert Dunphy, who did not seek re-election.

Both candidates vying for the seat said they would focus on the economy, if elected, given how the area has been affected by the closure of Madison Paper Industries.

Frederic, a former director of the state Land Use Planning Commission, said his background in state and municipal government would serve as good experience for working to attract business to Somerset County. On top of bringing jobs to the county, Johnson said, he also wants to focus on the issues that stem from job loss, such as drug abuse and crime.

As for the regional economy, Johnson favors focusing on bringing more workers to Backyard Farms, which is now Madison’s largest employer. Johnson also said developing a Somerset County Chamber of Commerce would be a focus of his.

During the campaign, Frederic said his experience in agriculture and land use planning would help him as a commissioner, as he believes agriculture is an area where Somerset County can grow its economy.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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