Ankeles captures at-large seat on Brunswick council

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BRUNSWICK — Legislative aide Dan Ankeles on Tuesday defeated Sande Updegraph in the election for a three-year at-large Town Council seat.

Ankeles received 6,011 votes to Updepraph’s 3,511.

Voters also overwhelmingly supported a proposal for the School Department to join the Greater Sebago Educational Alliance regional service center,8,676 to 1,802.

The center includes public schools in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Cape Elizabeth, Gorham, School Administrative District 6 (Buxton, Hollis, Standish, Limington, Frye Island), Regional School Unit 14 (Windham, Raymond) and School Administrative District 15 (Gray, New Gloucester).

It was approved by the state Department of Education in May – one of 12 regional services centers approved by Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson Jr. as part of the department’s EMBRACE Regionalization Initiative.

By joining, Brunswick will receive roughly $38,000 in additional state subsidy for fiscal year 2019, and the DOE has promised to more than double the incentive the following year. It will cost the district $1,000 per year to be a member.

Candidates for three School Board seats were uncontested.

First-time candidate Celina Harrison ran unopposed in District 4 to fill the seat being vacated by Corrinne Perrault, who is ending her tenure on the board after 18 years.

Chairwoman Joy Prescott was unopposed for her at-large seat, and incumbent board member Teresa Kelly-Gillis was the only candidate in District 3.

Town Clerk Fran Smith said via email Nov. 7 that she thought Election Day in town was “busy, but well-managed.”

Smith also said it was a “record day” for voter turnout in Brunswick for a gubernatorial election.

The 2014 race for governor, she said, drew 10,169 Brunswick voters, while Tuesday the total was 11,485.

There was also a sharp increase in absentee voting this year in Brunswick – with 4,626 ballots submitted this time around in comparison to 2,670 in 2014.

The seat Ankeles won is being vacated by Councilor Alison Harris. In District 3, Daniel Jenkins was the only candidate for the seat being vacated by Councilor Suzan Wilson.

Chairman John Perrault was unopposed, too, for re-election in District 4.

Ankeles, who has worked in the Maine House Democratic Office for the past six years, said Tuesday night he was “happy and humbled” to win.

“I’m thinking about how much work there is ahead,” he said. “I’m already sort of thinking about all the challenges we need to face in town now that the election has happened.”

He and Updegraph, who serves on the Planning Board, spent 13 hours together at the polls on Tuesday. Even though it was rainy and cold, Ankeles said, he is proud the two of them “endured that gauntlet” together.

He also said he thinks the principal challenge Brunswick will face during his term is going to be making the community “more affordable for people to live in,” which will include stabilizing home prices, rent, and addressing what he called the “homelessness crisis” in town.

Ankeles also said he is proud that he and Updegraph’s race was one of “the most civil races around.” He said he hopes they can now work together on town issues as she continues her work on the Planning Board.

“Sande and I became really good friends over the course of this campaign and I really quite like her,” he said.

Updegraph said via email Nov. 7 she would like to congratulate Ankeles on a “wonderful victory” and on running an “outstanding campaign.”

She said while she worked hard – “maybe not hard enough” – she would like to thank everyone for their “wonderful support.”

“I learned a lot about Brunswick from all of you and from the people I spoke with,” Updegraph said. “(I) will continue to contribute to Brunswick’s future.”

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 780-9123 or eclemente@theforecaster.net. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

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