The upcoming Rangeley Town Election has two Board of Selectmen (BOS) seats available. The first is currently being held by Stephen Philbrick who is choosing not to run for re-election. The second seat is currently being held by Ethan Shaffer who is finishing up his third year and has chosen to run again. The other current members of the BOS are Chair Cynthia Egan, Vice Chair Shelly Lowell and Selectperson Ethna Thompson.

In addition to Shaffer, the three additional candidates who are vying for the two open positions are Donald Nuttall, Jacob Beaulieu, and Sam White.

I was able to conduct a phone interview with Nutall and Shaffer, an in-person interview with Beaulieu, and due to unfortunate time constraints, only a very brief Q&A with White over Facebook.

Here are the highlights of those communications in order for readers to familiarize themselves with their options come the June 14th election.

Jacob Beaulieu

Jacob Beaulieu

A little background

Beaulieu grew up in Turner and started his daily commute working here in Rangeley in 2006. In 2013 he moved here permanently with his wife and five children. Beaulieu is currently serving the third year on the Planning Board. He is currently the Operations Manager at Boss Power Equipment.


Why run for selectman?

“Younger people need to get involved. There is nobody in our generation really doing it. It seems like everybody that is there has been there and been repeat and then repeat. Which I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but if the town is not happy with some of the choices that the Board is making, maybe there’s a reason. So, I thought it would be interesting to give it a whirl.”

Regarding the job of Selectmen

Besides his experience on the planning board Beaulieu has done some research by obtaining a copy of the Municipal Officer’s Manual for the State of Maine from the town office.

“They looked at me like I had three heads when I asked them for something to read. Because I went online, and I Googled the duties of a selectman and it’s vague. It gives you what other municipalities do and this and that, but this is more or less what the Town goes by.”

“I read 287 pages the first evening. It took me like three nights. It gives you all the info. as to what you’re required to do, what the expectations are, how the board should be run, internally, as well as from the outside looking in.


There’s a lot of stuff in there. Having a board that gets along and how the people of the town don’t necessarily trust a board if you and I are fighting all the time and we have a straight dislike for each other.

It touches on every little thing within the Town workings. I mean, every little thing. And it was kind of funny because again, when I asked for it, they kind of looked at me and they’re like ‘What?’. I was like, I really want to look through it. In the off chance that I do get elected I want to have some idea of what the expectations are. I have a general idea, like most people, as far as what selectmen do, but when you actually get reading in here it better defines exactly what is expected from each individual.”

He added, “I like the whole thing about the board though- how everybody… we HAVE to get along. We don’t have to agree, but we should get along. Don’t take it personal.”

He enjoys his position on the planning board. “It’s nice to be able to assist people.”

Beaulieu Perspective

“A lot of your true locals in this town do not like the expansion that’s happening. They don’t like the amount of people coming to town. That is what it is. At some point, some of these people have to realize it’s that way everywhere. It’s not just Rangeley right now that is seeing an influx of people. It’s all these smaller towns. And this is a destination town. So all of a sudden with this Covid thing, and everybody being locked down, what’s the first thing they wanted to do when we were allowed to go back? They want to go outside, they want to go out, they want to go places. They want to be away from a lot of folks. Well, your infrastructure, your capabilities, you have to take care of these people who are coming. They are coming regardless. You can’t stop them from coming. That’s not gonna happen. But you need to make adjustments. You have to be able to somehow, for lack of a better term, better police it. Like, our law enforcement. How many months out of the year do they talk about abolishing the Rangeley PD? How many times has this come up?


It’s seems to be driven almost by the selectmen sometimes because of the financial aspect of it. ‘It’s going to be cheaper to hire out Franklin County, rely on the state police.’ Well, how big is Franklin County, and how many officers are in this region on a daily basis? And if something happens, you need assistance, you don’t know where Franklin County is. They could be in Farmington, they could be anywhere within the county and not readily available.

You look at the big picture of it. Yes, we pay the police department X amount of dollars, but they provide a service. They’re here. They’re not 3 hours away, they’re in your backyard. They’re down the street. There are a bunch of little things like that that are to me, concerning.”

He added the recent conversations regarding the petition going around for another fire truck.

“If we’re spending X amount of dollars on a used fire truck every five years, why are we doing that? Because you’re buying a fire truck that’s almost expired. If they only have a life expectancy of 25 years and you’re buying a 20 year old fire truck for all this money, it doesn’t make sense. You’re spending all this money for five years, the truck’s expired. It’s not worth money now. So, you look at how many trucks you’ve bought over the course of ten years. Maybe it makes sense financially, especially if it’s going to be comped. If a certain percentage is paid for NOT by the town, it might make sense to replace that truck with a brand new truck so that you actually get the full 25 years out of it, and the maintenance cost is down and it affects the insurance of the actual department.

I think people don’t look at it maybe…they don’t look at the big picture.

Those are the questions I have. Did you actually look at why they’re requesting a new fire truck?”


He also commented on the school upgrade discussions over the years.

“We went through it with the school. I went to every one of those school board meetings when they were looking at expanding the school and there was so much opposition from the town. Mostly locals who have been here their whole lives that didn’t want their taxes to go up to improve the school. The school that wasn’t even up to code! Now, I’m an advocate for school. I had five kids in that school system. I brought five kids to this town. I want them to have a good education. I want them to have the best schooling that they can.”

He mentioned his disappointment that they had to go to Farmington in order to receive the kind of education Foster Tech could provide and didn’t think that was a good message to be sending to the impressionable youth. In other words, that you would have to go out of town for any skills training. If they start thinking they need to leave for education, he is concerned where that will lead.

“How many of them actually come back and go to work here. Not a lot of them. They leave, and they’re gone.”

He also recognized and cited several examples in town where the workforce is aging and we are in a precarious position if we don’t keep our younger generation.

“If things are changing, the town, we have to be able to evolve with it. We can’t keep brushing everything aside and not looking at the fact that things are going to change.”


Donald Nuttall

Donald Nuttall

A little background.

Nuttall grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. After getting out of the army he moved here in 1973. Him and his wife Ginny Nuttall are the former owners of Noyes Realty. Among other places, he has also worked at Saddleback, IGA, the video store and Orgonon.

He hasn’t been a selectman for a few years now, but he’s been an active member in one form or another in Rangeley local government since the middle of the 90’s.

“I’ve been on almost every board there is.  I’ve been dealing with the Town Office for over twenty years. I’m still chairman of the Ordinance Committee and I’m on the Airport Committee.”

Difference between then and now?

“Oh God, it’s a whole other ball game. It was simpler.”


“The problem now is everybody is trying to balance you know having business and people here and all this stuff without ruining it. That’s kind of my biggest thing and now affordable housing is another thing. I’m not sure there is such a thing but for a family, a husband, wife maybe one, maybe two kids, two cars, a mortgage is a big deal. And you know I don’t know how affordable something like that is for somebody to start out but rentals are stupid now also. I don’t know what the answer is, but we need to balance the two without ruining the town and what everybody came here for in the beginning. That’s part of the challenge and the other one is keeping people’s taxes low and stuff like that. There are just more people to deal with now. When I first started, I think the budget was like 3 million dollars or something and now it’s like triple that. Anyway, it’s different.”

Nuttall’s Perspective

“We need to keep the taxes down. The people on the ‘Gold Coast’ and all that, they can afford to pay, but it’s the regular folks. We’ve kept the taxes pretty good over the years. I mean obviously it’s going to go up no matter what just because of the price of everything,- gas, stuff we have no control over.”

Regarding the job of Selectmen

“There’s a lot to it that people don’t realize. It’s way more time consuming then people realize. I mean you have to read everything or you’re sitting there like a bump on the log and not knowing anything.”

Why run for selectman?


“I’ve retired. We sold the business. I have the time to do it now. And I think we need a new direction with the selectmen here. We need more transparency. That’s for sure.”

Consistent with the other three candidates I interviewed, he had no strong feelings against any of the other candidates.

“I’m just running for the position. I was surprised that there was a couple of other people running but it is what it is. It’s not a bad thing.”

Ethan Shaffer

Ethan Shaffer

A little background

Shaffer was born in New Jersey, and moved here to Rangeley in 1986 when he was six years old. He lives here with his wife and two daughters and is currently finishing up his 3rd year as selectman.

Regarding working in local government


“I was elected in ’19 and made it through the Covid year which was interesting. The difference between ’19 to ’20 was enormous.”

He has also served on the Sewer Commission and has attended pretty much every Water District meeting since he was hired by the Rangeley Water District back in 2012 where he is currently a Water System Operator, Class 2.

“I think it’s important for people to realize, we’re not full-time politicians and we have other responsibilities too. So, we do our best to do what we think is best for the town but we can’t be expected to have a vast knowledge at any given time when asked the question about specific issues.”

Why run for selectman?

Re: Sewer Commission. “I had always been interested and after attending the board meetings of water district it was interesting to see how things transpire. Even though it might not be as formal over there. I mean the rules are observed but it’s not quite the same thing as being on the Board of Selectmen. Also, my grandfather before me served on the planning board, the zoning board, and the board of selectmen and my father also did 3 terms. Having grown up here, I want to give back a little bit and give a perspective from someone that had grown up here and not to call myself a young board member but I’m younger than the other board members and I think I have a different perspective. One, because of my occupation, my construction background, and two, because I grew up here and knew some of the things that we as kids wanted or we thought was important.”

Shaffer was clear he enjoys his role as selectman and added, “Unless you are somewhat educated in politics formally or maybe occupationally, you can’t, I don’t want to say you can’t be a good selectman, but you have not learned nearly what you need to learn in 3 years to be a real solid selectman. So, I think to stop now it would be kind of like just quitting college in your second year.”


In addition to the education, he values the dynamic meetings. “I enjoy different perspectives and what makes a meeting go smooth or not and I enjoy being faced with those challenges. I also have a very distinct stance and I try my best, (maybe I’ll shoot my self in the foot here), I try my best not to have any real emotion involved, especially negative emotion, out loud in meetings. You’ll often find that I don’t say much in a lot of meetings until I do…, but I don’t see the benefit in getting heated up for lack of a better term, during a meeting. And when I go home, I do my best not to lose any sleep unless I really thought that I might have made a wrong decision in a vote, which doesn’t happen very often.”

Looking to the future. “I will enjoy serving again if I can.” He believes with one daughter off to college, it will mea less activities and more time.

 “I’m hoping that I could dedicate a little bit more of my thoughts and time to this next term.”

Shaffer Perspective

“I want to see proper growth in town. And that’s a relative term as far as ‘proper’, but I want to make sure that growth isn’t stagnated or I want to make sure that projects and things before us don’t get kicked down the road and overly questioned. Like I said, I grew up here and I think the town needs to move forward with the world. Not in a reckless manner, but I don’t like the idea when folks don’t want things to move forward simply because it’s a change.

Boards in the past I’ve noticed are oftentimes businessman or people that work at the bank,- which we have a banker, we have a paralegal, we have Ethna who has vast knowledge of municipal inner workings, because she worked at the town office for so long, but I like my perspective. Obviously cause I’m biased of myself (he laughed),  but I like my perspective because I am a municipal worker, that also sits on the board, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.”


Sam White

Sam White

A little background

“I was born and raised in San Francisco, moved to the suburbs of Washington DC when I was 8. I moved from Florida to Rangeley May of 2011”

She is currently the business partner and manager of Moose Alley and the owner of Inner Eye.

Why run for Selectman?

“ I love this town and I want to give back to it. I feel like there are a lot of us that want to step in and try and make a difference. So, with whatever good comes out of this, I hope I encourage others to run in the future and not be afraid to do so.”

White’s Perspective


“Honestly I am just excited about what Rangeley represents. There are currently a lot of challenges facing Rangeley and more to come. I am looking forward to the opportunity to come up with some great solutions and being a productive participant with the other selectman.”

What strengths would I bring to the office?

“I’m a good communicator. I have tremendous empathy for people and situations. I have a great business sense, constantly trying to be creative. I do love problem solving, always trying to come up with a better solution.”


As per Beauregard article on Page 3 of this issue, “Planning is underway to have a Candidates Night on June 2, 2022 at Lakeside Theater.  This event would provide an opportunity for candidates to share their inspirations and goals for the Town of Rangeley with voters.”

Comments are not available on this story.