SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council will have two new members after incumbent Councilor Michael Pock lost his bid for re-election on Nov. 4.
Claude Morgan, a former mayor and councilor, defeated Pock in District 1. Morgan received 6,182 votes to Pock’s 3,634, according to the city’s unofficial tally. There were 121 write-ins and 2,518 blanks.
It was a close race for the District 5 seat, with newcomer Brad Fox defeating former Councilor Alan Livingston, 4,988 to 4,680. There were 109 write-ins and 2,678 blanks, according to the unofficial count.
Councilor Patricia Smith, who ran unopposed, received 9,064 votes and will continue to represent District 2. There were 208 write-ins and 3,183 blanks for District Two.
Voter turnout, according to the city clerk’s office, was 66 percent, or 12,466 of the city’s 18,928 registered voters.
Morgan served as District 1 councilor 10 years ago and as the city’s mayor in 2007. He also currently serves as chairman of the Cumberland Country Charter Commission and represents South Portland on the Greater Portland Public Development Commission, a governor-appointed position.
Morgan said his top priorities are the environment and business. He said there are going to be some big decisions made regarding the oil industry’s role in the city in the near future, and it’s not a startling idea, he added, to take and redevelop oil facilities into multi-use properties.
As evidenced by election results, Morgan said, voters seem to want “overwhelmingly” to move in the direction of environmental stewardship and sustainable industry.
“People are ready and willing to think long term,” he said. “They want smarter, more anticipatory government.”
Further developing assets that the city already has, like excellent schools and medical facilities, Morgan said, will attract more businesses to the community. Cheap labor and tax relief are not the way to grow the city’s commercial presence, he said.
“I’m biting at the bit to start,” Morgan said.
Fox, a former educator in California who is now a substitute teacher in the city, has lived in the Brickhill neighborhood for the past five years.
The Brickhill area is home to a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse population, Fox said; he estimated that 40 different languages are spoken in his apartment complex. He said one of his main goals is to represent this diversity and get residents of all ethnicities to participate in city decisions.
“I can’t wait to start working with a great group of people who are looking out for the best interests of all of the residents of South Portland,” Fox said.
The environment is also a priority for Fox, who was endorsed by Protect South Portland. He said he will work to protect the recently passed Clear Skies Ordinance, and to continue the current council’s environmental initiatives. Fox said he hopes these efforts will intersect with the creation of new businesses.
“It’s good to know that we’ll be protecting our environment, while at the same time looking to encourage new local businesses and jobs in the community,” Fox said. “I especially hope to see some here in District 5.”
The new councilors will be sworn in on Dec. 1.