Freeport Sewer District election draws 5 candidates; Town Council race uncontested
FREEPORT — Voters in November will have to choose between candidates to run the sewer district. But barring any write-in campaigns, they will once again face an uncontested Town Council election.
Both Town Council incumbents, District 4 Councilor James Cassida and Councilor-at-Large Charlotte Bishop, are unopposed on the Nov. 3 ballot. District 1 Councilor Genie Beaulieu will resign in November after two years in office; Bow Street resident Sara Gideon is running unopposed to complete the remaining year of Beaulieu's term.
Town Clerk Beverly Curry said it is unusual to have a write-in candidate defeat someone on the ballot, but residents have the privilege to vote for whomever they choose.
Gideon, 37, is married and stays home to raise her three children. She moved to Freeport from New York City six years ago with her husband and previously worked in advertising at USA Today.
"Since we moved to Freeport, I have felt a pull to participate in public service," she said. "Freeport is a wonderful town where people care about their community and their neighbors, and it has inspired me to participate in this way."
Gideon graduated from George Washington University and received a bachelor's degree in international relations. She said her experience in advertising has given her strong negotiating skills and the ability to forge alliances between people.
"My strength is my ability to bring people and ideas together, and that can benefit the Town Council," she said. "In advertising, I was able to give people a lot of coverage without spending a lot of money, and that is a another skill that will be useful during the budget season."
In the town's only contested election, five residents are vying to succeed three members of the Sewer District Board of Trustees who are not seeking re-election. The three-year terms are currently held by Chairman Leon Arsenault, Don Bail and Brenden Alterio.
Candidates interested in their seats are Darrel Fournier of Fournier Drive, Timothy Whitacre of Sandy Beach Drive, Leland Arris III of Glenview Drive, Art Colvin of Grant Road and Paula Craighead of Cushing Briggs Road.
Leland Arris III
Arris III, 19, is a sophomore at the University of Maine at Orono and is studying international studies with a concentration in Spanish. He is the son of Leland Arris Jr. of Glenview Drive, who also serves on the Sewer District Board of Trustees.
Arris said although he is in college, he will attend all board meetings and is lucky to have the support of his family to assist him.
"I want to keep the water system clean, I want reasonable rates for residents and am concerned about pollution overflow," he said. "I grew up in Freeport and care a lot about the town."
He said while he has not held public office before, he served on the student council in high school and was the president his senior year. He said being on the board would provide an opportunity for him to serve the town and learn more about politics.
"What I may lack in political experience, I will make up for in effort," Arris said. "I am excited to hold this office, and want the best for Freeport."
Colvin, 49, is a civil engineer and land surveyor with Associated Design Partners in Falmouth. He said he became interested in running for the board because he is interested in clean water for everyone.
Colvin graduated from NJIT, New Jersey's Science and Technology University. He received a bachelor's degree in science and civil engineering. He said he designed a sewer treatment plant as part of his senior thesis, and understands how the plant operates.
"I know the inner workings of sewage treatment plants, and my work will benefit the trustees," he said.
Colvin is married and has two daughters. He did not provide a photograph for the newspaper.
Craighead, a lawyer-turned-homemaker, said in an e-mail that she is interested in running for a seat on the Board of Trustees because she lives near the facility and wants to be a voice for neighborhood concerns and suggestions.
She said she is also interested in encouraging the board and staff of the sewer treatment plant to engage in long-range plans for continuous improvements of water pollution control in the Harraseeket estuary and Casco Bay.
Craighead moved to Freeport 10 years ago from Portland, where she served one term on the School Committee. She ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the state Senate in 1994 in Portland, and was the state nuclear safety adviser under former Gov. Angus King. She declined to provide her age or a photograph.
Fournier, 53, has served as fire chief in Freeport for 14 years and previously as the fire chief in Waterville for nine years. He received his bachelor's degree from Southern Maine Community College in fire science. He is married and has two grown children.
Fournier said he would like to see the sewer district be a more integral part of the town by working more closely with the Planning and Public Works departments on future projects. He said he would like the Board of Trustees to apply for grant money to supplement the operating budget, and would like to encourage a 20- to 25-year capital plan.
"I have served on numerous boards, and have experience writing grants and capital plans," he said. "I work well with people and have the leadership skills help improve the district. I want us all to work together to plan for the future of the sewer district."
Whitacre, 53, is a consulting geologist and owns Red Moose Resources, an oil and gas consulting business. He graduated from the University of Toledo and received his master's degree in geology. Although he was narrowly defeated in the 2007 sewer district race, he said he is running again to ensure the plant is operating safely and providing clean water for rate payers, clam diggers and residents.
As a rate payer, he said he has a vested interest in making sure the water is clean and the rates stay reasonable. Whitacre also said it is important for the people who serve on the Board of Trustees to understand the science, engineering and technology it takes to run a sewer waste water plant.
"I am a scientist and have worked with engineers my whole life," he said. "I can offer creative ways to solve problems."
Amy Anderson can be reached at 78-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org