Pair seek seat on South Portland City Council

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A pair of candidates hope to replace Mayor Linda Cohen as the District 4 city councilor in November.

April Caricchio and James Gilboy are competing to succeed Cohen, who opted not to seek a third term.

Attorney Misha C. Pride, meanwhile, is the only candidate on the ballot for the District 3 seat being vacated by Councilor Eben Rose, who also decided not to run for re-election.

Pride, in an email, said he is running for the council because he wants his daughters “to grow up in a city that is sustainability-minded, espouses diversity, and fosters a sense of community among its residents.”

April Caricchio

Caricchio, who has lived in the city for 25 years, said she wants South Portland to be a place where her children can come back to work, be part of the community and raise their own families. 

She said she is running because she brings a different perspective and experiences from her life growing up in public housing, raising her family as a single working-class mother, working with vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children with special needs.

“I’ve brought three children through the system, one with special needs, been a small business owner in the area for 15 years, been a landlord and a homeowner in the city,” she said.

Caricchio said she is in favor of the short-term rental ordinance, and believes it is a reasonable compromise, although she sees the ability to rent rooms as a way of supplementing income and wants that to remain a viable option. Caricchio said she supports having the issue go before voters.

As a student who moved 20 times before high school, Caricchio said she understands the challenges faced by families seeking stable housing. She said students have a better chance of being productive, engaged citizens if they have stability early in life.

She said the council has to be vigilant about protecting the environment because so much of the future depends on it. From tourism to quality of life, she said, there are intricate ties with the health of the natural landscape.

“I deeply appreciate what it means to have clean air, and I recognize you can’t undo damage to the environment. We need to protect what we have,” Caricchio said.

James Gilboy

James Gilboy said he often thinks outside the box, which is necessary when facing issues affecting the city.

Gilboy has previous experience in city government, having served on the School Board from 2002-2015. He got involved in the community when he moved to South Portland from Massachusetts 16 years ago.

Gilboy said South Portland’s role as a service center needs to be maintained, but the city’s close proximity to Portland while maintaining a neighborhood feel is something he appreciates.

Gilboy said he sees both sides of the short-term rental debate: protecting property rights and the ability to make extra income, and the desire to preserve the character of a neighborhood.

He said it is a good idea to get the full scope of voters on the issue, and he supports going to referendum, but said the city has voted one way before with the council later maneuvering around the decision. Gilboy said the issue may end up litigated in court and he remains undecided on how he will vote.

Gilboy said he supports the consolidated middle school plan, which he believes will ensure students have access to the same education and opportunities.

He would also like the city to be more active in promoting businesses.

Gilboy said his style as a councilor will focus on communicating with residents, expressing ideas and thoughts, and not denigrating others. He said he wants more people to be involved and know they can talk openly about issues.

Juliette Laaka can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or at jlaaka@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JulietteLaaka. 

Age: 55

Residence: Cash Street

Family: Three children

Occupation: Retirement home administrator

Education: Bachelor’s degree in sociology

Political/civic experience: Delegate for Bernie Sanders at 2016 Democratic convention

Website/social media: www.facebook.com/SoPoCityCouncil

Age: 50

Residence: Barnstable Road

Family: Married, four sons

Occupation: Real estate appraiser

Education: Two years at University of Massachusetts Boston

Political/civic experience: Thirteen years on the South Portland School Board, Little League board president.

Website/social media: www.facebook.com/jgilboy1

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