April 29 marked the last day residents of Windham and Standish could register as candidates for the upcoming Town Council and School Board elections. In order to be eligible, residents had to collect at least 25 signatures from registered voters in their respective towns.
In Windham this year, 14 residents will be running as candidates in the elections.
Windham Town Council race
In the Town Council election, Willard Blanchard, John McKinnon and Joseph Prevost will be running for David Ennis’ seat as East District Councilor.
Willard Blanchard served as a councilor for two consecutive terms from 1998 to 2004. He’s running because he believes he has the experience to serve well.
“I received a number of phone calls asking me to get back involved,” Blanchard said. “I’m very interested in the Keddy Mill project. With two of the senior councilors leaving, I think it is important to have someone with some history of what has gone on in town over the past several years.”
John MacKinnon was nominated by the Windham Democratic Party. MacKinnon is running to guide economic development and ensure Windham’s future for children.
“I’d like to carry on with the progressive approach of the former councilors as to managing a town. I want to make certain that kids’ needs are fulfilled in and out of school,” MacKinnon said. “Also, I want to make sure that town development is viewed in terms of the big picture in regards to accumulative traffic impacts, visual impacts and environmental impacts.”
Joseph Prevost was nominated by the Windham Republican Party. He is a 12-year Army veteran who is currently studying political science at USM in Portland.
“I want to be a part of the Windham local government,” Prevost said. “I’m 30 years old and I think that I would represent a younger generation in the town that are trying to raise a family and/or living paycheck to paycheck. I think that the current council’s average age affects the way this generation is represented in the town of Windham.”
Daniel Keene, Jeffrey Pierce and Carol Waig will be running for Tom Bartell’s seat as Councilor At Large.
Daniel Keene was a member of the Maine Air National Guard for 20 years and retired with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. He have been involved with the Scouts here in Windham and was Scoutmaster for Troop 802 last year.
“I have thought about running for town council for many years and at the urging of several friends, have decided to ‘throw my hat in’. “
Jeffrey Pierce was nominated by the Windham Republican party. He is a former president of Maine State Parent Teachers Association. He has also served six years on the Windham School Board.
“I really want to make a difference. That’s why I’m running,” Pierce said. “I think we need some economic development here in town. We’ve been doing some of that, and I think we need to do more.”
Carol Waig, who was a write-in candidate in last year’s election, was nominated by the Windham Democratic party. She is running to keep Windham moving in a “positive direction.”
“I am very pleased to see that the Town of Windham has been stirred up, that people are getting involved and showing an interest in where our town is heading. They are showing care, concern and an overall excitement I haven’t seen in awhile,” Waig said. “It takes more than a council to raise and keep a town. It takes pride and the feeling of ownership. I personally have both of those characteristics for our town and am looking forward to helping Windham move into a positive direction.”
Windham School Board race
In the school board election, Anita Charles, Marjorie Govoni and Michael Mack will be running for three-year terms as new candidates.
Anita Charles was nominated by the Windham Democratic party. She has been an educator for 20 years. Currently, she teaches English at Deering High School and educational classes at Bates and St. Josephs College.
“I’m running because I think I have a lot of experience as an educator and parent that can lend new insight and new direction to our school system,” Charles said. “I have recognized the need for change and I think that I can be part of that change. I’d like to see more visibility, more inclusive of the parent’s voices and greater clarity of purpose.”
Marjorie (Marge) Govoni is retired and works part-time at the Windham Primary School cafeteria. She’s running mostly to improve communication between elected officials and residents.
“I love children. I have four children and fifteen grandchildren. I feel there is not adequate communication between the school board and the residents of Windham and would like to improve this,” Govini said. “Also I have worked with and understand budgets and plan to spend time at each of the schools so as to familiarize myself with them.”
Michael Mack was nominated by the Windham Democratic party. He is also running to improve communication.
“I think there have been a number of parents in the past year that feel their concerns were not being heard,” Mack said. “I think it’s important that the voices of parents, teachers, students should be heard. My kids are both in the school system and I want to help make some of the decisions that will be affecting their education.”
Incumbents Kate Brix, Michael Duffy and Stuart Pennels will be running to defend their seat on the school board.
Kate Brix has served on the school board for one term so far.
“When I first came on I had no idea of the magnitude of the job, and for me, although I’ve been passionate about education forever, the learning curve for this job was somewhat steep,” she said. “I’m just now feeling like I have solid footing and, because there are a lot of initiatives like No Child-Left Behind, I’m very interested in how that impacts student achievement and how we can best communicate with parents about their child’s academic progress.”
Michael Duffy has served on the school board for one term and is also the chairman of the board.
“I feel that there are many issues and programs we still have left to address for the school system,” Duffy said. “We have already started on a number of projects like the Maine Learning Results and the No Child Left Behind program and I would like have active role in the completion of these and other projects.”
Stuart (Toby) Pennels has served on the school board for one term.
“I ran three years ago primarily because I had concerns about the quality of a Windham education,” Pennels said. “I had concerns about accreditation, low standardized test scores and the college entrance of our graduates. We’ve made some great strides and the challenge now is to keep the momentum going while figuring out how we are going to pay for it.”
Mary Wassick will be running for the two-year school board position unopposed. She was appointed on an interim basis to the school board on March 9 of this year.
“I have served on the board before and again I want to be part of the process that ensures the education, safety and productivity of our students. I want to help create better communication between the community and the school, especially around new issues that may be foreign to the public.”
Linda Morrell will be running for town clerk unopposed for the third time.
“I’m running again because I really do like this job,” she said. “I like working with the public, and although this job can be challenging at times, I can honestly say that it is never boring. I’ve made some really good friends at town hall and I’ve met a lot of nice people in town.”
Both the council and School Board elections will be held on June 14th in Windham High School’s auxiliary gym. This is a candidate election only with no other issues on the ballot. Absentee ballots should be available by May 16 by request. To request an absentee ballot, call or stop by the Town Clerk’s office at the Windham Town Offices off Route 202. These ballots may be mailed in or dropped at the office after being filled out.
Standish Town Council
There are two men running for Town Council-at-large. Paul Mosley, age 54, lives at 470 Bonny Eagle Road. He is a Republican who owns his own business, Varney Point Lumber.
The reason he is running for Town Council is twofold: “I started five years ago on the Planning Board and I don’t think I’ve accomplished as much as I could have and should have…There are changes that need to be made that the Planning Board still deals with today that we haven’t made any changes to. So I’m moving to the Town Council because, as the legislative body, they make the changes to ordinances. Secondly, I would like to put my efforts forward…to improve the environment toward businesses. I heard a comment recently that the town is not business friendly. How many times do we need to hear this before we do something about it?”
Phil Pomerleau, the incumbent, has been on the Council for the past six years and before that was on the Planning Board for five years. Pomerleau, an Independent, age 52, lives at 57 Northeast Road and owns two businesses, Mainely Heating Oil and Standish Trailer Sales. In answer to why he’s once again running for Town Council, he said, “I bring a lot of common sense to the table. I’m the chairman of the Capital Improvement Committee. We run it more like a business. We started buying used equipment instead of new, saving the town well over $100,000. I’m on the Route 113 Corridor Committee. In regards to economic development, I’m more concerned about growing the businesses that are in the town than looking to bring new businesses in. We need to ask, ‘What can we do to keep you in town and keep your business growing?’ I support Fire/Rescue, the new fire chief, and on-call paramedics. I believe you have to spend money to keep good employees. I truly enjoy working with the Council. We disagree but we get over it. I want to see the Community Center through. I also support senior housing. We need to relax some zoning ordinances to build affordable housing for the elderly.”
Dolores (Dolly) Lymburner, Democrat, age 62, of 10 Smith Ave. in Steep Falls is unopposed in her bid for Town Council Area 2. When asked her reasons for running, Lymburner said, “I served two terms before and enjoyed my time. Before I made my decision to run, I asked several people for advice and they encouraged me. I am particularly interested in the Route 113 Corridor Committee that’s being established. I’d like to be a part of it coming to fruition. I’m also interested in keeping budget at a reasonable rate for the taxpayers.”
The candidate for Town Council Area 4, incumbent Gerald Spencer, age 67, is also running unopposed. Serving on the council for the past five years, Spencer, a Republican who lives at 47 Whites Point Road in Standish, said, “Property taxes are extremely high and we just had a reevaluation last year. We were hoping for some property tax relief from Augusta but the money went to the schools and wasn’t passed back to the town. Standish is a wonderful town, and I enjoy living here. I like the chance to give back to my community. I want to try to keep the property taxes in line so citizens can stay in their homes.”
SAD 6 School Board
There are two candidates for SAD 6 Director, Michael Delcourt and Corey MacDonald. Delcourt, the incumbent, has served as Director for the past fifteen years. He is a 60-year-old Republican who lives at 1218 Richville Road. As for running again, Delcourt said, “I’m not done yet. There were drug problems in the schools fifteen years ago and those problems are still there. I support the children in SAD 6. I don’t agree with the school budget eliminating six teachers. This is an educational institution. You don’t eliminate six teachers. I also support extracurricular activities. We have no boys or girls clubs and without extracurricular activities we will not have students, we’ll have gangs. These children have nothing else to do and they deserve it [the activities]. The budget has gone from 16 million to 36 million dollars a year. And MEA test scores are horrible. Something needs to be done about that.”
Corey MacDonald, age 46, of 5 Beech Street, is a Republican who is an engineer for Verizon. As a concerned parent of a daughter at Bonny Eagle High School, he felt compelled to run. “I’m not a politician, but I hope I can make a difference. I have concerns about the high school’s structure and about the way it’s being run and I’d like to have some input in that. As a parent who’s attended school board meetings, I’ve felt my input hasn’t had much weight. I am concerned about the block scheduling with four 90-minute blocks per day. I find many teachers still teach for only 45 minutes, leaving half the class time for students to work on their own. I also am concerned with the number of teacher absences, especially with a block schedule. If two of a student’s teachers are absent on the same day, that student spends 50 percent of the day with substitutes.”
There are no candidates running for Planning Board Area 1. The position can be filled one of two ways. Twenty-five write-in votes are required to elect a candidate who is not on the ballot. If there is no write-in candidate elected, the Town Council has the authority to fill the position until the next municipal election.
Wayne Newbegin is the sole candidate in the race for Planning Board Area 3. A 65-year-old Republican residing on Harmon’s Beach Road in Standish, he is retired from the military. His reason for running: “It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. I think we have to be very careful in how we grow. Growth management and affordable housing are my priorities. To provide more housing, zoning could be changed and land trusts could be developed.”
While the Budget Committee has three seats, there is only one candidate. When questioned by this paper as to why he is running, Dana Lampron, a Republican, age 44, of 129 Westerly Way, declined to comment.
Standish residents are encouraged to get out and vote for their candidates. Elections will be held Tuesday, June 14.