Kylie Bragdon won’t object to being called driven – it’s quite obvious that she is.
She chairs the Winter Harbor Board of Selectmen, is principal of a special-needs private school in Ellsworth, and has worked for many years fishing for lobster. She was salutatorian of her high school class, has run a personal training business, works out every day, and recently finished a University of New England doctoral program in transformational education.
Her next pursuit is the District 136 Maine House of Representatives seat being vacated by term-limited Republican Richard Malaby of Hancock. Bragdon is a Democrat running against a family friend, Republican Billy Bob Faulkingham, who formerly served with her as a selectman.
“We’ve known each other our whole lives, and we both have a lot of skills to offer. It’s really dependent on the leadership styles people want,” says Bragdon, who describes her style as “patient, level-headed, flexible and thoughtful.”
Bragdon, a former math teacher who works with students with behavioral and other special needs, says she was surprised and flattered when a former high school teacher and mentor sat her down and urged her to run for the House seat, but by the end of their meal together, she knew it was the right next step.
“It just fits my life right now,” says Bragdon, who has lived in Winter Harbor all of her life. “With all the chaos we find ourselves in right now, in Maine, the country and globally, we need better leaders. I believe communities like ours are especially vulnerable right now, and the answer is having better leaders to create better communities for the future.”
Bragdon notes, however, that frustration and disgust with the status quo are not the driving forces behind her running.
“I actually feel hopeful,” she says. “Currently, there are extreme divides. Parties have picked their issues and stances. And now everyone has divided their Xs and Ys. But I think changes can be made, and it’s all about collaboration. If we can’t collaborate, we are really in trouble.”
Bragdon feels she is uniquely qualified to serve her community, having worked hard as a woman in a local industry dominated by men, but also “completing an education that make me mindful of things beyond our control.”
Priorities for Bragdon, if elected, would be preserving local industries – her doctoral thesis was focused on the lobstering industry – securing more support for Maine’s aging population and better addressing Maine’s opioid crisis, which personally affected a close friend of hers.
“I guess I’ve got a lot to do,” she says.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE
Name: Kylie Bragdon
Occupation: School principal/lobsterwoman
Hometown: Winter Harbor
District includes: Gouldsboro, Hancock, Mariaville, Osborn, Sorrento, Steuben, Sullivan, Waltham and Winter Harbor, plus the unorganized territories of East Hancock (part) and Fletchers Landing Township
Campaign website: N/A
Opponent: Republican Billy Bob Faulkingham of Winter Harbor. Faulkingham’s campaign Facebook page: http://bit.ly/2RlKLR4