FREEPORT — Unless there are write-in candidates, the Nov. 3 Town Council elections will be uncontested – again – because only three candidates returned nomination papers by the Sept. 9 deadline.
District 4 Councilor James Cassida and Councilor-at-Large Charlotte Bishop are seeking re-election. Bow Street resident Sara Gideon will also run unopposed in District 1 to complete the final year of the unexpired term of Councilor Genie Beaulieu, who resigned.
Gideon, 37, said she she has the energy and enthusiasm to run for Town Council, and is committed to public service.
“Now is a good time for me to give to the community while balancing the needs of my family,” she said. Gideon said she was surprised more people did not take out papers for the one-year position.
But Town Clerk Beverly Curry said a council race with no opposition is common in Freeport. She said there was only one contested Town Council race, in 2006, in the last six years.
“Very rarely is there a race for council seats,” Curry said. “Who knows why, but maybe people are satisfied with the job the council does.”
Council Chairman Rich DeGrandpre said normally residents do not take out nomination papers unless there is a serious issue in town.
“Over the past years, the Town Council has done a good job and has paid attention to the needs of the taxpayers,” he said. “People must be OK with the way the town is being run. I see it as an indication of satisfaction, not apathy.”
In another uncontested race, Maryanne Schwanda returned papers for re-election to the Water District Board of Trustees.
The contested races on Election Day will be for seats on Sewer District Board of Trustees. There are three, three-year terms to fill, and five residents will be on the ballot.
Vying for the seats now held by Sewer District Chairman Leon Arsenault, Don Bail and Brenden Alterio – none of whom are seeking re-election – are Fire Chief Darrell Fournier of Fournier Drive, Timothy Whitacre of Sandy Beach Drive, Leland Arris III of Glenview Drive, Arthur Colvin of Grant Road and Paula Craighead of Cushing Briggs Road.
In addition to the municipal elections, residents will vote on five state referendum questions. They include votes on same-sex marriage and school consolidation, changes to medicinal marijuana laws, a citizen initiative to reduce excise taxes, and limit to state and local government spending.
There is also a $71.25 million state bond question for improvements to highways and bridges, airports, public transit facilities, ferry and port facilities. These bonds will make the state eligible for over $148 million in federal and other matching funds.
Voters will also have the opportunity to amend the state Constitution to increase the amount of time local officials have to certify the signatures on direct initiative petitions.
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.