Thorndike Second Selectman Josh Ard grew up just a few houses down from Sheriff Jeff Trafton. Now, they have the opportunity to sit on the town's Board of Selectmen together following the upcoming Aug. 22 annual meeting.

Ard is seeking reelection and Trafton is running to replace First Selectman Robert Nelson, who told Trafton he is not seeking reelection. It is unclear if Second Selectman Michael Mayer is seeking reelection. Ard and Trafton think their diverse backgrounds can offer a good representation of Thorndike’s residents.

Ard, who grew up in Thorndike, repairs old motorcycles, owns Permanent Expressions Tattoo Studio and spent time traveling around Africa for a number of years when he was a young adult. Trafton, who grew up in Wellington, served four years on active duty in Quantico with the Marines and 17 in Guard Reserves while working in various Waldo County law enforcement agencies.

Ard ran in the same social circle as Trafton's son as a kid and admits he was not always a model citizen, but grew up to love his community and felt a need to give back. Trafton said he always thought Ard was a good kid and is glad he grew up to be an active member of the community.

Trafton said his career managing law enforcement agencies gives him a good understanding of budgeting. For his part, Ard said his ability to connect with people on a personal level makes it easier for residents to come to him about issues or ideas.

Trafton’s house has always been a place where residents stopped to discuss ideas and grievances and get his respected opinion on town issues, Ard said. And Trafton said he has gladly accepted that role in the community.

He wants to stagger selectman terms to create better continuity in town government, he said. He would like to maintain roads better so there is not a sudden increase in taxes when roads need expensive repairs because they have not been properly maintained.

In the 31 years Trafton has lived in Thorndike and for all of Ard’s life, the salt and sand shed has always been a point of contention, they said. State ordinances for towns’ salt and sand sheds changed in the late ’80s, which put Thorndike’s shed out of compliance.

For 30 years there was a state grant program available to towns to help offset costs for building a new shed, Trafton said. But that program has since ended and now the town has to foot the entire bill to construct a new building that meets code.

The two men said they want to help put an end to a multigenerational issue that has plagued the town for several decades. It is one of the reasons Ard decided to run for selectman in the first place.

“I just wanted to see a lot of things get done,” he said. “You can only talk about something so long before you’ve got to do something or go away.”

He and Trafton agree that the community seems to be closer over the last year since the current selectmen were elected. The town held several events that were attended by large crowds of residents.

The previous selectmen did not support public events because of the possible liability to the town if someone was hurt, even taking down swings on the playground because of the fear, according to Trafton.

But Trafton said he thinks that is not a good enough excuse not to hold town events or update playground equipment and he is grateful that the current selectmen supported events proposed by the Parks and Rec Department.

Ard said town government is the purest form of democracy. Trafton prefers that form of government because of how easily citizens have access to the people they elected.

“Some of the Washington politics and budget is out of control. So, the only place you really get to have a say is at your town meeting and selectmen's meeting,” Trafton said. “That’s direct contact with the people making decisions, and that’s what I like.

“If somebody is upset with us about a decision as a selectman, you can go, the three people that made that decision are sitting in front of you and you can tell them how you feel … that’s true democracy.”