UPDATE: Monaghan-Derrig likely to leave Cape Elizabeth School Board if elected in House District 121

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Democrats selected a member of the School Board to run in the Maine House District 121 special election on Aug. 16.

Kim Monaghan-Derrig of Russet Lane was selected in a caucus of the Cape Elizabeth Democratic Committee on July 7.

She was elected to the School Board in 2010 and her three-year term does not expire until 2013.

If elected to the House, Monaghan-Derrig said Tuesday, she will probably step down from the School Board at the end of her first year.

“As much as I love serving on the School Board, it’s a full-time job,” she said. “To balance that with being a state representative and working would be tough on me and my family.”

A possible scenario would be for her to attend the first few School Board meetings in September and October and then step down in November, she said.

But nomination papers for two School Board seats scheduled to be on the November ballot will be available Aug. 1 through Sept. 9., and Town Clerk Debra Lane on Thursday questioned whether another open seat could be added to the ballot halfway through the process.

“We are going to have to seek advice from our legal counsel or the (Maine Municipal Association) to see if we can add an additional seat at that point in the process,” Lane said. “We want to make sure we are following the process correctly. In this case, the timing makes this an unusual situation.”

Lane said there may have to be a special School Board election if Monaghan-Derrig wins the House seat and resigns from the board.

Caitlin Chamberlain, deputy secretary of communications for Secretary of State Charles Summers Jr., said there is no law that would prevent Monaghan-Derrig from holding both offices.

Monaghan-Derrig, 52, has lived in town since she was 5. She is married, has a daughter in sixth grade, and is a marketing and communications professional, currently working for the Segway Tours of Portland tour company.

She is also working toward a master’s degree in public policy and management at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.

Monaghan-Derrig said she has experience in economic development, working as the director of convention sales for the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Portland, and political experience as an office manager and legislative aide to former U.S. Rep. Thomas Andrews, D-Maine.

“I have always been interested in pursing this (career path) because of my background,” she said. “It seems like a natural progression. I love sitting on the School Board and I want to carry this type of service forward in my career and life journey.”

Her opponent on the special election ballot will be Republican Nancy Thompson. No unenrolled candidates returned nomination papers by the July 11 deadline, Chamberlain said.

Write-in candidates have until Monday, July 18, at 4 p.m. to declare their candidacy and have their residency verified by the town clerk.

Monaghan-Derrig said Thompson is a “wonderful woman” known for her commitment to volunteering and community service. But Monaghan-Derrig said she, too, is an active volunteer in the community.

Monaghan-Derrig volunteers at Pond Cove Elementary School, the middle school, St. Bartholomew’s Church and for Citizen Advocates for Public Education. She also served on the planning committee for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation benefit.

“I’m really excited and am going to conduct a grassroots campaign, going door to door talking to residents and encouraging people to get out and vote on Aug. 16,”  she said.

The District 121 seat represents the northern portion of town. It became available when Rep. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth, won a special election to fill a vacancy in Senate District 7, representing South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and a portion of Scarborough.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.

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