A letter to the citizens of Owls Head

I have been privileged to serve the people of Owls Head as select board member for the past six years, including the last five as chair of the select board. I will be seeking a third three-year term at the Aug. 30 town meeting and would appreciate your support.

I have worked diligently for the town and wish to continue to serve, making sure the town receives everything it deserves. While I might tend liberal on big social issues, I am a fiscal conservative. Living on Social Security, I know how important it is to keep tight control of town spending, and its effects on property taxes.

I have enjoyed my time on the select board, having first run as a replacement – if that could be possible – for retiring member Richard “Dick” Carver. I have served with Linda Post all six years and also with Dave Matthews, the late Wayne Meserve and, currently, Gordon Page. I feel we function well together as a team, despite political disagreements on issues beyond the town. I offer the town continuity and my six years of experience, which includes never missing a meeting until one of this past winter’s Zoom meetings, when there was a log-in problem.

My interest in public service, and therefore politics, began as a 12-year-old, living in the Fidelis Way housing project in the Brighton section of Boston. I was an avid John F. Kennedy supporter and I passed out his campaign material to would-be voters across the street from the polling place, which also was where I attended kindergarten.

Through the years, I have had brief touches with national politics, having interviewed Sen. Ted Kennedy while a senior at Brockton High School, covered U.S. Rep. Donald Rumsfeld of Illinois for a political reporting class at Northwestern University, and covered Maine Sen. Bill Cohen during his infamous “muckle” visit with Andre the Seal in Rockport.

While attending Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, on an academic scholarship, I earned my bachelor’s and master’s from the Medill School of Journalism, played chess with future “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin, ran such a bad campaign for the student senate that I even finished behind the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society, a New Left organization) candidate, but I did become president of the campus Newman Club.

Post-graduation, my journalism career saw me working at The Herald newspapers of Arlington Heights, IL, for which I covered Mt. Prospect and Elk Grove Village and started my music review column that will turn 50 this coming February. I moved to Maine in December 1976 and began working for the Camden Herald for about 18 months, starting in 1977. Missing the competitiveness of the daily publication schedule I was used to in Illinois, I moved from the weekly Camden Herald to the then-tri-weekly Courier-Gazette in early 1979, where I stayed for 29 years, the first half of which was as sports editor, increasing coverage down to the junior high level and boosting high school coverage, including establishment of the Sports at a Glance and the high school all-star selections. I wrote many a profile of student athletes and took a ton of photos at athletic events. Later, I was a copyeditor for the C-G – something that touched back to my days as a copyeditor for a journalism class while a teaching assistant my graduate year at NU – and was in charge of the Business, Waterlines and Education sections of The Courier.

I moved from Camden to Owls Head in October 2004.

While a journalist, due to having to remain neutral, I could not pursue my longing for public service, but the “itch” was growing as my father, Harry J. Von Malder, ran a couple times for mayor of Brockton. He was not successful in his campaigns, although he became known for his letters to the Brockton Enterprise. The Enterprise, by the way, was where I got my first real reporting experience, as I worked there as an intern for two summers, including that of the first moon landing and covering the New Bedford riots, and was able to do a lot of writing.

I finally got a chance to carry on my father’s legacy of running for public office when I became your select board member six years ago. Unfortunately, my father passed in 2006 and, thus, did not see me take public office, but I have to believe he was smiling somewhere.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you award me your vote on Aug. 30, when the town meeting starts at 6 p.m., downstairs at the town office building. Feel free to attach comments or endorsements, here on in letters to the local publications.

Tom Von Malder

Owls Head