2 new faces, 1 familiar, elected to Portland School Board

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PORTLAND — Two new members are headed to the School Board, and one incumbent is returning for another three-year term. 

Newly-elected Stephanie Hatzenbuehler will represent District 4, while John Eder won his bid for an open at-large seat. Incumbent Marnie Morrione of District 5 ran unopposed.

District 4

Hatzenbuehler, 37, defeated Rebecca Wartell, 27, for the district’s open School Board seat. Hatzenbuehler won with over 70 percent of the vote, gathering more than 3,700 votes. Wartell received just over 1,500 votes.

Hatzenbuehler said she was pleased to have won, but also credited Wartell with running “a great race.”

“I was really glad to run against someone I respected, but I’m really pleased to have won,” Hatzenbuehler said.

Hatzenbuehler attributed her victory to getting out early and going door to door. She said “doors matter,” and voters want to meet their candidates face to face.

She said she is excited to work with the current board members and see what’s on the agenda, and “to be able to put my fingerprints on what people are already working on.”

“Mostly I’m excited to work for the teachers and students,” Hatzenbuehler said. “My favorite part of the campaign was meeting with the teacher’s association, they were wonderful.”

Hatzenbuehler is a social worker for Maine Medical Center. Wartell is a community organizer and activist. Neither had previously run for any kind of public office.

District 4 covers the area from Back Cove to Stevens and Allen avenues, and was previously represented by Justin Costa, who was elected Tuesday to the City Council.

At-large

Eder, a former state representative, won his bid for the city’s at-large School Board seat with 11,783 votes, which put him just over 51 percent. His challenger, Gene Landry, received 11,093 votes.

Eder, 45, of Commercial Street, campaigned on issues including trying to combat what he called “middle-class flight” out of city schools.

Eder served in the state House of Representatives for two terms, from 2002-2006. At the time he was the highest-ranking elected member of the Green Independent Party in the United States. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011.

Landry, 56, of Bay View Avenue, campaigned largely without an agenda, but rather as an extension of volunteering with a bigger commitment of time. He also ran unsuccessfully for the School Board in 2013, and is the owner of Persistence Media.

District 5

Incumbent Morrione won her third term on the School Board, receiving over 4,500 votes. Morrione was unopposed in District 5, which extends north and west of District 4, to the Westbrook border.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Voters line up Tuesday at Reiche Elementary School in Portland to cast their ballots.

Stephanie Hatzenbuehler

John Eder

Marnie Morrione

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.