CAPE ELIZABETH — Three people are running for two seats on the Town Council in the Nov. 8 general election.
Councilor Caitlin Jordan is seeking re-election, and Shannon Auritt and Penny Jordan are running as well. The seats are for three-year terms. Caitlin and Penny Jordan are distant cousins.
Two, three-year seats on the School Board are up for election, but they are uncontested. Incumbent Susana Measelle Hubbs is seeking re-election and Kimberly Carr is running for the second seat.
Election Day is Nov. 8 and voting will take place at Cape Elizabeth High School from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee voting is underway at Town Hall until Nov. 3.
Caitlin Jordan, 33, is seeking her third term on the council. She is a lifelong Cape Elizabeth resident. She works at Alewive’s Brook Farm and also runs her own legal firm.
Jordan said she enjoys being on the Town Council and wants to continue “maintaining the town’s agricultural heritage and making sure we keep Cape a small town.”
“I want my kids to enjoy the same Cape Elizabeth I did growing up,” she said.
The town is changing, though, and Jordan acknowledges this, especially in regards to Fort Williams Park. Many residents have complained recently about the high number of visitors at the park.
“I don’t have a problem with people coming, but parking is limited,” she said. “But the park is large. I’ve never felt crowded.”
Jordan said the biggest issue she’d like to tackle in her next term is hiring a new town manager. Town Manager Mike McGovern, who has been with the town for more than 30 years, will be retiring Dec. 31.
Hiring someone with a lot of experience creating budgets is important, Jordan said.
“Everyone wants their taxes to be low, so we need someone who’s good with numbers,” she said.
Jordan said another goal of hers is to work with the recently approved Harbors Committee. Starting in January, the committee will be responsible for reviewing issues related to the town’s coastal waters.
“Next year we’re going to be looking to establish the Harbors Committee,” she said. “That’s a really big goal for me for the next year.”
Shannon Auritt, 38, has a background in information technology and project management, and is a stay-at-home mom of twin boys. She’s lived in Cape Elizabeth since 2013.
Last year she was the president of the Pond Cove Parents Association and was vice president the year before. This past year she also served on the superintendent search committee.
Auritt said she’s running for Town Council because she cares about “preserving open spaces and making sure the schools get what they need.”
“My focus is really on the schools and keeping them as they are,” she said.
Auritt said she also wants to maintain Cape Elizabeth’s character.
“I like the rural character of the town, but I understand it has to be developed,” she said.
With that being said, Auritt said she prefers to see new single-family homes being built rather than new condominiums.
“I think condo associations take away from the town and burden the school system,” she said.
When asked about hiring a new town manager, Auritt said it’s important to find someone who doesn’t plan to “use Cape Elizabeth as a stepping stone” on their way to a different job.
“My concern would be finding someone who plans to stick around,” she said.
Auritt said being relatively new to town will give her an unbiased perspective if she’s elected to serve on the council.
“I’m independent from local politics and can’t be swayed a certain way,” she said. “I’ll have independent opinions because I don’t know a lot of the history.”
Penny Jordan, 63, has lived in Cape Elizabeth her whole life. She works as a farmer at Jordans Farm and as a business consultant, and is the president of the Cape Farm Alliance and vice president of the Cumberland County Farm Bureau.
Jordan previously served on the Town Council for one term from 2007-10. She said she’s running again because she thinks it’s important to have councilors with a strong connection to the town.
“With Mike McGovern retiring, I thought it was important to have people with deep roots in the community on the council,” she said.
Jordan said she wants the next town manager to be open-minded and aware of the different demographics of people who live in town.
“I really want to make sure we get somebody who sees Cape Elizabeth as more than just a community of professionals,” she said. “It’s a community of farmers, seniors and young people.”
With a new Comprehensive Plan in the works, Jordan said it’s important to address whether a town center should be created.
“I understand why people want a town center, but I think we need to recognize our proximity to South Portland,” she said. “We need to figure out what the town center’s purpose would be.”
If elected, Jordan said she wants to move Cape Elizabeth forward while maintaining the town’s heritage.
“As we evolve Cape Elizabeth, we need to work to retain the character of the town that attracts people to live here, while recognizing that that doesn’t happen by accident,” she said. “It happens by hard work and planning.”
Susana Measelle Hubbs, 49, is a stay-at-home mom and an artist, and has lived in town for 11 years. She has three kids in the school district and is running for her second term on the School Board.
Hubbs said she learned a lot in her first term and wants to use her knowledge as she continues serving.
“I want to utilize my deeper understanding of our school district and apply my developed skills so that I can give back even more to our students and community,” she said.
Hubbs said hiring a new superintendent will be a big focus in the next year. Interim Superintendent Howard Colter was hired by the School Board at the end of May after a search for a new superintendent ended with both final candidates withdrawing.
“The School Board will continue to search for a superintendent that has exceptional communication and collaboration skills and demonstrates a depth of knowledge with educational policies and laws,” Hubbs said.
Kimberly Carr, 45, is a stay-at-home mom of five daughters and has lived in Cape Elizabeth for eight years. She has master’s degrees in adult education and counseling psychology.
Carr is a community adviser for the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation’s grant committee and served on the superintendent search committee last year.
“I’ve always been passionate about education, and having five kids who will go through Cape Elizabeth schools makes it a real priority for me,” she said.
Improving communications is something Carr said she’d like the board to work on.
“Communication, I think, is something the School Board has done a great job improving, but I think there’s more we can do,” she said. “That’s a real critical piece for us.”
Carr said she wants the next superintendent to be someone with a lot of experience. She also wants “someone who can really grasp what’s gone on in the past and what we’re looking for in the future.”