YARMOUTH— Arthur Bell will face off against Republican Anne Fleming for the seat in Maine House District 47 come November after securing a win through ranked choice voting in the Democratic primary.

Bell. Courtesy photo

Bell initially pulled 930 votes on Election Day, July 14, Heather Abbot came in second with 824 votes and Peter Fromuth had 532 votes. Because none of the candidates garnered 50% of votes, the race was tallied through ranked choice.

Ranked choice voting takes into account the preference voters gave each candidate, and redistributes votes for the last-place candidate based on those preferences.

Results Tuesday showed Bell with 970 votes, or 53% of votes. Abbot garnered 873 votes.

Bell and Fleming, who is the chairwoman of the Yarmouth School Committee, are running for the seat previously held by Janice E. Cooper. Cooper termed out after eight years in Augusta.

“This is my first time doing this; it’s all very exciting,” Bell said. “I am thankful to the voters for choosing me, and I am thankful for the two opponents, Peter and Heather, who ran incredible races and caused me to raise my game. I look forward to working hard, I pledged to the voters I’d work as hard as I can to secure the election in November.”

“The environment will be my big thing if I get into the seat, and I am happy to have gotten this far and I am hopeful that I can persevere,” Bell said. 

“We’ve done a poor job; we have not been good stewards of the earth,” he said, noting the enthusiasm he’s witnessed among today’s youth. “We need to hand the ball over to the next generation … and give them all the resources they need; they’re going to do a better job than we are.”

Bell said he is “all onboard” with Gov. Janet Mills’ goal of making Maine carbon-neutral – no net carbon dioxide release to the atmosphere – by 2045. But he is disappointed by the governor’s support of Central Maine Power’s controversial proposal to construct a 145-mile transmission line, which would carry hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts.

He is involved as well with a watershed restoration initiative with Royal River Alliance, aiming to remove two dams.

“We know that the watershed would be healthier … all the way up to Auburn and all the towns in between, if fish could swim up there and spawn, and then come back into the ocean,” Bell said. “It would help alleviate some of the problems we’re having with Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine. Those dams, that are creating hydroelectricity way up in Quebec, are contributing to the warming waters in the Gulf of Maine.”

Bell is a former Yarmouth School Committee member and Merrill Library Trustee. He also served on the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee, Yarmouth Senior Housing Board and was a board member of Yarmouth Historical Society.

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