CHELSEA — Deborah Sanderson, who has spent eight years as the Republican state representative for the Chelsea area, will now turn her focus to local government.

Voters in this rural town south of Augusta elected Sanderson to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday with 256 votes. Sanderson defeated incumbent Rick Danforth, the current chairman of the board, who got 186 votes, and newcomer Sheri Truman, who got 164 votes.

Sanderson said Wednesday she would attend the Board of Selectmen meeting later that night to start learning the town’s issues.

“At this point, what I would really like to do is have a good opportunity of a good overview of what’s in the planning process,” she said. “I’d like to facilitate it, make it better and build off that. I need to see what’s going on. There’s a lot of listening to townspeople that needs to happen, to see what their vision is. I hesitate to go in with great big ideas when you haven’t spoken to anyone yet.”

Sanderson said she wants to support the town’s economic development plan, which is geared to attracting business to Chelsea, and keep it rolling.

Danforth, who has been a selectman since the early 1990s, with a break from 2009 to 2012, has helped marshal the town’s efforts to develop an economic development plan thanks to funds generated from a Tax Increment Financing district formed when the routes of two natural gas pipelines crossed through parts of Chelsea.

Danforth had said there are a number of projects that he wanted to see to completion, including projects that foster a greater sense of community in the town of about 2,700 people.

Truman, a newcomer to politics, said she entered the race because residents aren’t being listened to. While she said she would have a lot to learn, she was willing to do the work.

The municipal ballot showed a change from a recent election, when only one person turned in nomination papers and as many as 24 positions were available. In the last two years, that person was the incumbent selectman, running for re-election. That left every other seat on the ballot — 19 seats in 2016 and 23 seats in 2017 — open to write-in candidates or later appointments.

Voters also may have been drawn out to the polls over a proposed Site Plan Review Ordinance, which would impose some regulations on large businesses relocating or opening in Chelsea.

That measure will appear on the warrant at Chelsea’s Town Meeting, which is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Chelsea Elementary School.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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