DAMARISCOTTA — The Lincoln County Democratic Committee will host its biennial Frances Perkins Award Dinner as a Zoom gathering beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16, according to a news release from Geoff Bates, chairman of the LCDC fundraising committee.

Guests will receive gift cards to favorite Lincoln County restaurants in lieu of sitting down to the traditional banquet-style meal.

The purpose of the event is to present the Frances Perkins Award. The biennial tradition recognizes a Lincoln County Democrat who exemplifies, through their efforts, the continuing legacy of Frances Perkins, share her values rooted in the needs of working people. Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett has been named the recipient of the 2020 Frances Perkins Award.

Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett Photo courtesy of the Lincoln County Democratic Committee

“Sheriff Brackett understands that our communities are better served by reducing recidivism and preventing crimes than by keeping full jails. He looks not only at a person’s failures or differences, but at the whole person, seeking the means to motivate each individual to change their path, improve their lives, and the lives of all the people around them” said Chris Johnson, chairman of the committee, according to the release. He added, “When we started the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative, Sheriff Brackett was a founding member, realizing that solving a substance use problem requires a medical treatment-based solution.”

Brackett’s exemplary career in law enforcement began when he worked in the Kennebec County Jail while earning a degree in criminal justice from the University of Maine. It was then that he developed his lasting appreciation and respect for people who make their careers as corrections officers. During this period he experienced a variety of aspects of law enforcement as he transported prisoners, worked as a dispatcher, and did some patrol work. Upon graduation, Frank Hackett, then sheriff for Kennebec County, offered him a position as a patrol deputy and sponsored his attendance at the Maine Police Academy, where he was awarded both the Firearms and Professionalism Awards. He was 21.

He served as a K-9 officer for nine years with his partner Cliff van Waldenstein, a German shepherd, first in Kennebec and then, beginning in 1988, in the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department. He was commissioned as the Damariscotta chief of police in 1998 and worked in that capacity until 2002, when he was elected with 57% of the vote to be the first ever Democratic sheriff of Lincoln County.

Brackett has been honored with several President’s Citations from the Maine Sheriff’s Association, an organization he led from 2007 to 2010, as well as a Legislative Sentiment. He has been recognized as a Champion for Children by the Maine Children’s Growth Council and is proud of his work on behalf of the children of Maine and his advocacy of early childhood education. He has also supported much needed reforms, speaking up for rehabilitation over incarceration in the official approach to the opioid crisis and other corrections-related issues.

“Every two years we honor a Lincoln County Democrat at a sit-down dinner,” said Bates, in the release. “This year, more than ever, we felt it was important to maintain a sense of normalcy during this topsy-turvy time. We know we can’t share a meal together, but by creating a Zoom gathering and offering gift cards to our patrons, we’ll offer an opportunity for fellowship as well as help our local eateries who are closed during this necessary, but devastating, shutdown.”

Friends and colleagues of Brackett who will deliver testimonial remarks include District Attorney Natasha Irving, Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry, and Commissioner for Corrections for the State of Maine Randall Liberty, who wrote in response to his invitation that he and the Sheriff have “traveled many miles together” having attended the Maine Criminal Justice Academy together in 1989, worked in Kennebec County, and having both served as sheriffs.
Additionally, Marge Kilkelly, who works on health policy for Maine Primary Care, will deliver a video testimonial.

The biennial event will feature a musical performance by award-winning Boothbay singer-songwriter John Schindler.

With each paid contribution to “attend” the event, donors can choose to receive a gift card from one of five popular local restaurants: Ports of Italy, Boothbay Harbor; Damariscotta River Grill, Damariscotta; Newcastle Publick House, Newcastle; The Narrows Tavern, Waldoboro; or Little Village Bistro, Wiscasset. The proceeds will go to LCDC’s campaign efforts while the local restaurants will receive a bit of stimulus during this economic stalemate.

For more information about the event, including how to make reservations or make a donation in honor of Sheriff Bracket, visit lincolncountydemocrats.com or contact Bates at 644-8776.

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