STANDISH — Two Town Council races are contested in Standish, while many positions will remain unfilled for the time being.
Sarah Gaba is challenging incumbent Greg Sirpis for a three-year At-large seat on the council, while Patricia Frechette is challenging incumbent Gregory LeClerc for a two-year Area 1 seat.
Sirpis has been on the Town Council for three years and previously served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and Public Safety Committee.
He would like to see the town focus on its future: “The community is growing very quickly, and we need to prepare for the future because of this population and growth boom that we’re experiencing. The more folks that come to town, the more demand there’s gonna be on public services, and I’d like to see us lay the groundwork now and be prepared for the future instead of playing catch up five years from now.”
If re-elected, Sirpis said he would concentrate on public safety and economic development. He is strongly against recreational marijuana.
He wants Standish to move forward and focus on current issues. “I understand that a lot of our residents are folks that really resist change, but I think that they also realize that this isn’t the Standish of 1985 and we have to adjust with the times. Things are much different now,” he said.
Gaba does not have any previous experience in town office, but she worked for the city of Portland for 10 years in the social services division, so she said she has “experience inside of those institutions.”
She would like to create more opportunities for businesses and a sense of community in town.
“I have lived in Standish since 2010, and it’s really a bedroom community for me. I don’t have any children. I really had been just coming and going for a long time and wanted to create some attachment to the community and give back,” Gaba said.
She continued, “I’d like to see a little more commerce created and just support the initiatives of the voters. I am in support of the community center. There should be a place for people in the town to connect and meet each other.”
LeClerc was appointed to his Area 1 seat by the Town Council in October 2018 after the seat was vacated by former Councilor Isabel Higgins.
He currently serves on a variety of committees for the town through the council, including the Ordinance Committee, the Finance Committee and the Portland Water District Steering Committee. He is also vice president and on the Board of Directors for the Standish Food Pantry.
LeClerc said he believes Standish is facing a lot of big issues that will impact its future, including medical marijuana, the creation of a community center and development in town.
“I feel like Standish is kind of at a crossroads right now in terms of where it wants to go,” he said, and “I just kind of want to be a part of that in terms of keeping the momentum going.”
LeClerc would like to focus on business development and making it easier for small business owners to get started and believes he has demonstrated that he has the necessary skills to fill the position well.
“I put in the time, I’m part of the community, I read all of the stuff thoroughly so I’m prepared. I take my job seriously, and I’m showing that in my time and my effort,” he said.
Frechette has served on the Planning Board for one term in the past and believes that the changes occurring in Standish “may not be in the best direction.”
She said being on the Planning Board and witnessing a variety of issues with growth and small businesses in town, “I wanted to go back to the basics and see what’s going on from the other end. There’s a lot of people who want to come in and put buildings and apartments and houses in Standish, but there’s so much paperwork and money involved, it’s almost as if we’re stopping the city from growing.”
Frechette believes she has the qualities needed to be a good town councilor: “I listen to people. I problem solve. Basically, I care. I don’t think of myself as a politician, just somebody who wants to help.”
Other races in Standish are uncontested. Incumbent Mike Delcourt is running for a two-year Area 3 seat on the Town Council. Joseph Paul is running for the balance of an Area 2 seat, which will end in 2020. The seat was vacated after Peter Starostecki resigned from the council April 9.
Incumbent Charles Brown is running for a three-year Area 4 seat on the Planning Board, while incumbent Deb Boxer is running for a three-year At-large seat on the board. Other available positions on the board included a two-year Area 2 seat and a one-year At-large seat, but no one turned in nomination papers for either position.
There were also five available seats on the Budget Committee for which no candidate turned in nomination papers: three three-year At-large seats, one two-year At-large seat and one one-year At-large seat.
The election will be held June 11.
Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at email@example.com.