AUGUSTA — Two separate midday ceremonies ushered four Kennebec County officials into office Tuesday, publicly marking the start of their new terms.

Family members and supporters crowded into the first floor conference room at Hill House on State Street, where the county offices are located, to watch Maine Supreme Court Justice Joseph Jabar swear in Ken Mason as Kennebec County sheriff and Patsy Crockett and George Jabar as Kennebec County commissioners.

Just about a half-hour later, Michele Lumbert, a dedimus justice and Maine District Court clerk, swore in Libby Mitchell as probate judge in the courtroom where her husband, James Mitchell, had presided, filling the vacancy that was created when he died in September.

The four officials were generous in their praise to family, supporters and campaign staff in an event that focused more on celebrating than speeches.

“This is a great day in my life,” Mason said, who thanked his wife Joanne for her support and hard work on his campaign. “It was a long road to get to this point.”

Mason indicated his interest in the job more than a year ago. Failing to get a nomination from the county Democratic Committee in October 2015, he was appointed to the vacant sheriff’s position in early 2016 by Gov. Paul LePage, but withdrew his name from consideration not long after and annouced his intention to run as an independent.

For Mason, Tuesday’s swearing in was ceremonial; he was sworn in officially shortly after midnight on Jan. 1.

To her swearing-in ceremony, Mitchell brought a photograph of her late husband, noting that the photos of her predecessors were faded with time.

“I brought the colorful photo of a judge I’d like to be like,” she said, one with integrity and compassion. James Mitchell had served as probate court judge for 37 years at the time of his death.

Crockett, the District 1 county commissioner who represents the central part of the county, said she will welcome comments and suggestions from county residents as she undertakes her first full term on the commission. She was appointed by Gov. Paul LePage to complete the term of Beverly Daggett, who died in September 2015 partway through her term, which ended last month.

“Kennebec County is the best run county in the state,” she said.

Jabar, the District 3 county commissioner who represents the northern part of the county, was re-elected to the commission. He ran unopposed.

“I look forward to working with our new sheriff,” Jabar said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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