Cummings, Haskell take council seats

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Rebecca Cummings

WINDHAM — Tuesday’s election put two newcomers on the Town Council.

Rebecca Cummings, a school nurse and a veteran, defeated Council Vice Chairman David Nadeau 1,786-1,546 in a race for the East District seat.

Clayton Haskell defeated Brett Jones and David Lydon in a three-way race for Jones’ At Large seat. Haskell received 1,230 votes, Jones 1,061 and Lydon, 837.

“Running against an incumbent is no easy feat and Dave has a fan base in the community,” Cummings said about her victory in an email. “Many have already voiced that he’ll be missed.”

“I hope by electing new members the council is able to reset relations with town residents and businesses,” Cummings said. “I want everyone to feel comfortable to attend meetings, provide constructive criticism and share their ideas.”

Haskell said that his allegiance as a member of the council will be to the people who elected him.

“I’m going to work for the people,” Haskell said. “I’m not going to work for myself.”

According to Town Clerk Linda Morrell, 3,872 people voted on Tuesday. She said that was more than 2,100 more than in 2015, the latest non-gubernatorial election year.

“I’d say that’s pretty darn good,” Morrell said.

Nadeau, a retired electrical engineer who was vice chairman of the last council and had previously served as chairman, attributed his loss to opposition from the Republican Party.

“I’d have to say the Republican Party is not ready to move on,” Nadeau said when asked why he thought the election went the way it did. “They don’t like the direction we’re going in.”

Despite his loss to Cummings, Nadeau said he is “tickled pink” that town voters approved a $9.3 million bond for a proposed vehicle maintenance facility to be shared with RSU 14. As a councilor, Nadeau has frequently expressed his belief that Windham needs to invest in itself.

“I’d like to thank everybody that supported me,” Nadeau said.

Though Jones had served on the council for months, this was his first time on the ballot. He was appointed to the seat in February by the council after the death of former Councilor Tommy Gleason.

Jones said that despite his loss, he felt “an obligation” to stay involved with the town and may run for council again or for other town positions in the future.

“I’d like to stay involved … and just be available to serve,” Jones said.

Jones also felt that the race between him, Haskell and Lydon was an “usual” one.

“When you have a three-way race, anything is possible,” Jones said.

Lydon said that he was happy for the election winners and plans to run for council again in the future.

Cummings and Haskell were both elected to three-year terms.

Kate Brix and Pete Heanssler ran unopposed and were both re-elected to their seats on the RSU 14 School Board. Current Town Clerk Linda Morrell was also re-elected without opposition. Louise Douglas was the only candidate for Portland Water District Trustee, and was elected to a five-year term.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Rebecca Cummings

Clayton Haskell

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