Juliette Wilbur (left) and Velma Jordan are running for Hancock County register of probate as Republicans.

County races shaping up; contested primary for register of probate

ELLSWORTH — Republican voters during the July 14 primary will decide the Republican candidate for Hancock County register of probate.

There is no declared Democratic candidate for the office.

Current register Gale Coughlin has decided not to run for re-election. Then-Governor Paul LePage appointed Coughlin to the post in 2016 after her predecessor, Bonnie Cousins, retired before her term was up. Coughlin ran and won the office in 2017.

The register of probate’s office handles the administrative duties related to Probate Court affairs. Probate handles such matters as wills, name changes, adoptions and guardianships, to name a few.

Velma Jordan, the current deputy register of probate, is seeking the post.

“I look at this as a new adventure in my life,” Jordan said. “I’ve been deputy register since Aug. 10, 2013. Our current register, Gale Coughlin, is retiring due to health issues and with her support and blessing, I’m running for register of probate.”

“My knowledge of probate has been hands-on experience, the best there is,” Jordan said.

Jordan’s work experience includes a career in the health care field, beginning as a personal care assistant before becoming a supervisor. She also worked for attorney Tony Beardsley for five years.

“That’s where the love of law and probate started,” said Jordan. “I will always be grateful to Tony for giving me the opportunity.”

“I am running for this position because this is what I love to do,” Jordan said. “As the saying goes, ‘If you love what you do, it’s never work.’ That’s the way I feel. I love helping people and here, in probate, is something people don’t deal with on a daily basis.

“I try to make a difficult situation easier just by listening and helping with the procedural aspect of the forms and proceedings. In the happier situations, we laugh and celebrate with them. Probate consists of estates, guardianships/conservatorships for adults and minors, name changes for adults and minors, and adoptions for adults and children.”

“I have worked all of my life,” Jordan said. “One of the best qualities my mother taught me was to always have a great work ethic.”

Jordan earned her general equivalency degree from the Hancock County Technical Center in 2000.

“As far as any plans for probate, we are structured by rules, statutes and laws, which we abide by,” Jordan said. “As for the office, we would need to add one person to help continue with the great service we provide as well as continued education with the changing of laws, statutes and forms.”

Jordan, a native of North Carolina, resides in Waltham with her husband of 36 years, Sheldon Jordan. They have four children and 10 grandchildren.

Juliette Wilbur of Ellsworth is also seeking the Republican nomination for register of probate.

Wilbur has spent nearly the past two decades as a paralegal. She currently works for District Attorney Matt Foster as a legal secretary. She worked in the probate office for two years as a clerk.

“After losing my parents at a young age, I discovered a passion for estate planning and probate,” Wilbur said. “I have worked with hundreds of people either planning during life or the administration of the estate after death in both private practice and at the Hancock County Probate Court.”

“I am confident that my experience, demonstrated work ethic and professionalism will make me the best, most qualified candidate,” Wilbur said. “I have been an active member of the Hancock County GOP for several years and am passionate about voter registration drives, most recently holding one in February before the pandemic made that unfeasible.”

“I am running to be the next register of probate for several reasons,” said Wilbur. “I want to show my son the importance of public service and be a role model for working moms.  The current register is retiring, and I believe the citizens of Hancock County deserve a candidate who has roots to the community and is committed to long-term public service.”

“If elected, I plan to continue the excellent work my predecessors have laid as a foundation, formulate a long-term plan regarding records management of hundreds of years of documents, and improve the court schedule and decision timeline,” Wilbur said. “Becoming the next register of probate will be the culmination of my life’s work and experience. I pledge to lead with compassion, experience and professionalism and look forward to serving the people of Hancock County.”

Wilbur is a graduate of Wellesley College. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband, Jarad, and their son, Waylon. For more information or to ask Wilbur questions, she may be reached at [email protected]

Speaking of the last name Wilbur, the Hancock County register of deeds, Julie Curtis, whose maiden name is Wilbur, said she has been getting calls from people confusing Juliette Wilbur’s name with hers and thinking that Curtis is a candidate for the probate register. Curtis is not. Curtis has two years left in her term as register of deeds.

In other county election business, County Commissioner Antonio Blasi, who represents District III, which includes Bar Harbor, Cranberry Isles, Franklin, Frenchboro, Hancock, Lamoine, Marshall Island, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Swan’s Island, Tremont and Trenton, is not seeking re-election.

Ian Schwartz of Bar Harbor is running as a Democrat to fill Blasi’s seat.

Republican Paul Paradis of Bar Harbor is running for the District III seat as a write-in candidate.

County Commissioner Bill Clark of Ellsworth is also seeking re-election. Clark represents District I, which includes the communities of Amherst, Aurora, Blue Hill, Central Hancock, East Hancock, Eastbrook, Ellsworth, Gouldsboro, Great Pond, Mariaville, Northwest Hancock, Osborn, Otis, Sorrento, Sullivan, Surry, Waltham and Winter Harbor.

Democrat Rebecca Wentworth of Blue Hill is challenging Clark.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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