Phish drummer and Lincolnville selectboard candidate Jonathan Fishman
Phish drummer and Lincolnville selectboard candidate Jonathan Fishman
“We need new blood in the political process, and you are that new blood,” Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders told his supporters following his loss last year in the hotly contested Democratic presidential primary.  “ ... It means that, at every level, we continue the fight to make our society a nation of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”

During the campaign, musician Jonathan Fishman of Lincolnville had been traveling around the country performing and speaking to crowds of Bernie supporters. The 52-year old drummer, who used to live in Senator Sanders’ home state of Vermont and has been performing for three decades with the popular jam band Phish, said he had never seriously considered running for office himself. But something about Sanders’ message resonated.  

“Bernie was saying, ‘Look at all of you people who got on the Sanders campaign and cared about these issues, you should run for your local offices, your school boards, your select boards and committees,’” said Fishman. “Public service is needed across the board, so I guess that kind of sentiment just sat with me.” 

Then on Tuesday, after gathering signatures at the school and at Drake’s Corner Store, Fishman officially filed as a candidate for the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen. He will join filmmaker and former Sanders state delegate Josh Gerritsen and Free Press ad rep Sandy Delano in the race for two seats currently held by Art Durity and longtime selectman Rosey Gerry. The two incumbents have both taken out papers but have not yet returned them. The deadline is May 2. 

With Phish only touring five weeks a year, Fishman says he has a lot more time to devote to public service. His wife Briar currently serves on the school board and the couple is getting ready to reopen the long-shuttered Center General Store.  

“It’s not an ego thing or anything like that,” Fishman said of his run for office. “It’s kind of the opposite. I’ve done really well in my line of work, I’ve had a lot of success and I love my job. And I guess I could sit on my butt somewhere and not be engaged, but we do have a personal stake in the well-being of the town.”

Fishman says he’s currently attending selectboard meetings to learn about a range of local issues, including the upcoming wastewater treatment bond and the politically charged repair of the broken float and ramp at the beach.

“I really want to go into this with both feet,” he said. “If I’m going to do it, I want to do a good job. I’m going to be engaged, and I have no interest in doing it half-assed.”