Yarmouth to choose 3 councilors from 6 candidates

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YARMOUTH — Six candidates are running to replace three town councilors who are not seeking re-election June 13.

Town Council Chairman Andrew Kittredge and Councilors Randall Bates and Tamson Bickford Hamrock have decided not to run again. Anthony Cowles, April Humphrey, Richard Plourde, Darren Setlow, Timothy Shannon and Peter Small are running for the three-year terms.

School Board Vice Chairperson Margaret Groban also isn’t seeking re-election in a race that will see incumbent Philip Jones and Sarah Day running uncontested for two open seats.  

Incumbents Irving Felker Jr. and Susan Krauss also have no challengers in bids to keep their seats on the Yarmouth Water District Board of Trustees.

Voting will take place from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the AMVETS Hall on North Road.

Anthony Cowles

Cowles, 53, is a self-employed landscape architect who has lived in Yarmouth for 16 years. He serves on the town’s Parks and Lands Committee and Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee.

He said he is running for Town Council to become more involved.

“I was giving a lot of time to the town already and this seemed like a natural progression,” he said. “It seemed like a time for new leadership to move initiatives forward.”

The issues Cowles said he cares about most are the character-based development code and increasing school enrollment. He said the School Committee’s budget for fiscal year 2018 addresses the concerns of taxpayers, but isn’t sustainable.

“They’ve presented a good maintenance budget this year, but we can’t do that again next year,” he said. “We have to be responsive to growth.”

Cowles said he would make a good town councilor because of his communication skills.

“I have the right personality to be a good listener and to be open to different points of view,” he said.

Cowles said he is progressive and wants to make sure Yarmouth is inclusive while maintaining its sense of community.

April Humphrey

Humphrey, 42, is a Montessori teacher with a background in education policy. She has lived in Yarmouth for four years and is the creator of the Yarmouth Community Network group on Facebook.

Humphrey said there are two primary reasons behind her decision to run for Town Council.

“This year I was inspired to run because there was not a single other woman running,” she said.

Humphrey is also running because she’s concerned about the school budget and property taxes. She said she knows a balance needs to be struck, but that it’s important to invest in schools if the town wants to grow.

“I feel like the schools have been having maintenance budgets, but our enrollment is growing and the budget isn’t keeping up,” she said.

Humphrey said she’ll be a good town councilor because she understands the needs and concerns of residents.

“I have a pretty good pulse on what’s going on in town,” she said. “I know how people are feeling and I talk to a diverse group of people. I’m not in a bubble.”

Richard Plourde

Plourde, 66, has lived in Yarmouth for 35 years. He is retired from various technical, management and engineering positions at Verizon.

Plourde said he decided to run for Town Council because of the “important issues in town right now.” Plourde has been working with the town’s Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee for the past year and said he wants to offer more of his time as a councilor.

“By being involved in the discussions, I have a very strong understanding of the issues,” he said.

Plourde has also worked on the town’s quiet zone committee and was involved in discussions about the renovations of the Route 1 bridge over Main Street. He said he has a strong understanding of policy and is familiar with the town because of his continued involvement.

Other issues he cares about include affordable and senior housing and updating the Comprehensive Plan.

Plourde said he would be a good town councilor because of the way he approaches issues and solutions.

“I’m very objective,” he said. “I’m fact driven. I like to do research and get input from others so I can come to a consensus.”

Darren Setlow

Setlow, 50, is an architectural photographer who has lived in Yarmouth for 15 years. He said running for Town Council is “definitely a new thing for me,” but he’s interested in issues facing the town.

“I feel like I can lend my voice to help shape those things,” he said.

Setlow said he’s interested in making sure the character-based development code reflects what the town wants. Also, as a business owner, he’d focus on economic development.

“I think there are really good opportunities for Yarmouth to grow its business climate,” he said. “I’m interested in economic development and the work of the advisory board.”

Also, Setlow said he cares about environmental issues facing Yarmouth, such as preserving open space, making the town more bikeable and pedestrian friendly, and removing dams. 

Setlow said he would make a good town councilor because he’s fair, open minded, and is “good at finding the voice in the middle.”

“I do not have a set agenda,” he said. “I’m not bringing that to the table.”

Timothy Shannon

Shannon, 44, is a lawyer and partner at Verrill Dana, and has lived in Yarmouth for seven years. He served on the Hillary for Maine Finance Committee and is chairman of the Yarmouth Town Democratic Committee. He is also the president-elect of the Federal Bar Association of Maine.

“Washington is broken, Augusta is paralyzed,” he said. “If we’re going to make real progress in this state, it’ll be at the local level.”

Shannon said there are three main issues he’s focused on, including education, support for seniors, and the environment.

He said education in Yarmouth is a concern because of growing class sizes.

“We’re the victims of our own success,” Shannon said. “We’ve built the strongest schools in the state. To preserve them we need to fund them.”

Shannon said programs for seniors aren’t being utilized enough, and he believes the town should hire a senior services advocate.

Yarmouth should also improve recycling services and preserve green space to benefit the environment, he said.

Shannon said he’d be a good town councilor because of his analytical and advocacy skills and his “ability to work with people with different viewpoints.”

Peter Small

Small, 72, is a retired researcher who has lived in town for five years. He’s on the board of Yarmouth Cares About Neighbors and on the steering committees of the food pantry and community center. He has also served on the economic development council and advisory board.

Town officials know what Yarmouth’s priorities are, Small said, but he wants to help work towards achieving them.

“I’m not coming in to suggest the direction up until now has been misguided,” he said. “We need to do a more strategic job of addressing those priorities.”

Small said he wants to help the town focus more on goals laid out in the Comprehensive Plan. He said action plans need to be developed for the schools, the harbor, and for affordable housing.

Small said if elected, he plans to be “more specific and more deliberate” about how plans are implemented.

“I want to bring some rigor to the council and the town to implement that wish list,” Small said. “I have the energy, the passion, and the time to dig into these issues and do substantive work.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Yarmouth Town Council candidates Anthony Cowles, left, April Humphrey, Richard Plourde, Darren Setlow and Timothy Shannon. Not pictured: Peter Small.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.