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Selectman candidates agree broadband is high priority

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Feb 22, 2021
Breanna Pinkham Bebb, left, and Ann Frenning Kossuth are running in the April 14 special election to fill out the remainder of Zach Hollingshead's term on the Board of Selectmen.

Northport — While neither of the candidates running to fill out the rest of Zak Hollingshead's term on the Board of Selectmen has held elective office before, both have considerable experience with community organizations, and both say they are running out of a desire to give something back to the town they love. Hollingshead vacated the seat when he moved out of town a few months ago.

The special election is set for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 14 at the Town Office.

Ann Frenning Kossuth has been a permanent Maine resident only since last March, when she and her husband moved to Northport from Medford, Massachusetts. But she has been coming to the town at all seasons of the year since she was a small child, she said. Her mother was born and raised in Rockland, a 10th-generation Mainer, and her parents had a house in Northport all the time she was growing up in Massachusetts, where her father was a state representative from Boston.

"I have always loved this place," she said.

Her husband in on the faculty of Boston University Law School and is currently teaching online for Tufts University, she said. She is a long-term substitute at Islesboro Central School, where their daughter is in ninth grade.

While they were in Medford, Frenning Kossuth was on the board of trustees for the library, and co-founded Medford Educational Foundation, a nonprofit that helps support the public schools. She said her talent for bringing people together around a common cause is one of the main assets she would bring to the Board of Selectmen.

Having gotten to know many people in town from her frequent visits over the years, she said she is "interested in getting into the granular local business of the town," and identified bringing high-speed internet to the town as a top priority. As evidence of her commitment to this issue, she applied to serve on the town's recently revived Broadband Committee and was appointed Feb. 8. In addition, she would like the Board of Selectmen to support the town's food pantry.

She is running for selectman because she wants to help the town, she said. She wants to bring an open mind to the position and listen to what residents want for their town. Frenning Kossuth said she is excited about working with the rest of the board members. If elected, and if she feels the position is a good fit, she would run again in June, when the term expires.

Breanna Pinkham Bebb also has roots in Maine, having grown up Down East and then moved for a time to western Maine. Later, she and her husband lived in Belfast, and she was executive director of Our Town Belfast from 2012 to 2017. Five years ago, they moved to Northport. She now works as branch office administrator at Edward Jones in Lincolnville. She and her husband have a son in kindergarten.

In addiiton, she is a board member of Waldo County Woodshed and manages the nonprofit's distribution site at the Northport Transfer Station. She is also on the town's Planning Board.

Bebb said she is running for the seat because she is grateful to live in a town like Northport, has time available and feels she could make a positive contribution. If elected, she plans to seek a three-year term on the board in June.

She agreed with Frenning Kossuth that high-speed internet is important for the town, to benefit workers, students and others. She noted that access to a fast, reliable internet connection is an issue of educational equity.

Another of her priorities is keeping the town's taxes affordable, given the recent influx of people coming to Maine from other states, partly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said she wants to serve the community, be a helpful resource to her neighbors and work collaboratively with other board members. "We're committed to this town."

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