ELLSWORTH — Voters here will elect two city councilors at the polls on Nov. 3. Four residents, Dale Hamilton (current chairman), Gene C. Lyons, Bronson Platner and Edmund J.M. “Mike” Springer, will be running for the seats, which are currently held by Hamilton and Councilor John Moore. Both seats have three-year terms set to expire in November 2023.
The American asked the candidates about their backgrounds and priorities if elected. Here’s what they said.
How long have you lived in Ellsworth? 26 years
What other positions have you held in the city, elected or otherwise, and for how long? Completing 1st term on the council, and 1st year as council chair.
Why did you decide to run? My short answer to this question is that I believe that my skills, style and work ethic will benefit the city (particularly as we deal with the ongoing impact and recovery from COVID). I have consistently approached complex issues with respect, openness, transparency and a willingness to listen. My only agenda for seeking re-election is to help the city of Ellsworth to be the very best it can be for individuals, families and businesses. Being a representative for any group begins with the understanding that you represent everyone.
What is your occupation? Executive director, Community Health and Counseling Services
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city? I do not believe that any single issue can be defined as the most challenging. There are interrelated issues that I believe are best categorized under the broad heading of “stability and sustainability.” We need to understand that the impact of COVID is negatively impacting our community. We need to do everything within our local control to mitigate the negative impact while developing plans that keep the city positioned as a desired community for all.
What’s your personal priority, even if you don’t see it as the biggest challenge? My personal priority for the immediate future is to establish a structure (monthly community forums) to further increase community involvement. We are in unprecedented times and we need to make sure that we actively engage the community to be sure that local government is doing everything possible to support our residents and businesses.
What do you think the council has done well in the past year? I believe that the council has provided strong leadership, support and direction during a very difficult period. The council has proactively engaged community groups, individuals and businesses in an attempt to respond to needs created by COVID. The council remained engaged and kept the community engaged during this past year.
How long have you lived in Ellsworth? I grew up in Ellsworth and lived in the Ellsworth area nearly all my life. I enlisted into the U.S. Army Infantry in 1984, and left a short time after graduation in 1985. I did a 3-year tour and got out in 1988. During my time in the Army, I was at Ft. Benning, Georgia and Neu-Ulm, Germany. I lived in Surry from 1998 till 2008. I have now lived in Ellsworth, on Graham Way, for the last 12 years.
What other positions have you held in the city, elected or otherwise, and for how long? I have never worked for the city. This is my 4th attempt at a city council seat.
Why did you decide to run? The key reason is basically my experience as a citizen of Ellsworth, seeing how previous city council members have ignored what many residents have brought before the council. I have been to meetings and watched as people bring up serious concerns while council members seem disinterested in listening; the people then sit down and the issue never seems to be addressed in many cases. Listening to the people of Ellsworth, all of them, and not just the influential ones, is a priority to me as an individual.
What is your occupation? For 32 years I have worked in the concrete industry. I am currently a very enthusiastic mixer truck driver/plant operator and overall I fit into the company in any position I am needed. I work for Owen J. Folsoms Inc, the No. 1 concrete supplier in the eastern half of Maine.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city? At the current time COVID-19 is a major issue that is overshadowing the world and is leaving our businesses shorthanded. We really need a balance between health and livelihood.
What’s your personal priority, even if you don’t see it as the biggest challenge? I want all residents of Ellsworth to have a voice and someone who can look objectively at issues dealing with the city.
What do you think the council has done well in the past year? I believe in the past year the council has discussed issues with an open mind and they have managed to pass a budget that was acceptable to everyone considering the pandemic’s complications in our city.
What’s the best way for the public to contact you? The best way will be email if it’s not an emergency. Or phone call if it’s an emergency. If elected, I’ll immediately post contact information in public.
How long have you lived in Ellsworth? I have lived in Ellsworth since 1982, and worked here since 1977.
What other positions have you held in the city, elected or otherwise, and for how long? None.
Why did you decide to run? I am running because I think I have the experience and knowledge to do the job well and wish to contribute to the community.
What is your occupation? I am retired, having had my own law practice in Ellsworth for over 30 years, and having been assistant district attorney here for five years before that.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city? The biggest challenge facing the city is delivering services efficiently without overburdening property taxes. To do this the city needs to plan for, and attract tax paying economic development. It also needs to use initiative and imagination in seeking alternate funding sources, and in partnering with local organizations.
What do you think the council has done well in the past year? The council has done well to explore entering into a contract for solar power which should result in reducing city costs while protecting the environment.
What’s the best way for the public to contact you? I may be contacted at [email protected].
Edmund “Mike” Springer
How long have you lived in Ellsworth? I was born right here at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital. I have been a proud resident of Ellsworth for 51 years.
What other positions have you held in the city, elected or otherwise, and for how long? I was a volunteer member of the Ellsworth Fire Department from 1988-2006. I served as an officer of Lygonia Masonic Lodge for 10 years with the honor of being elected Master of the Lodge in 2007. I have had the privilege of being a Boy Scout of America den leader, cubmaster, and most recently scoutmaster over the past 10 years serving the youth in our community.
Why did you decide to run? I want to ensure that the city’s resources (pronounced tax dollars) are spent in the most fiscally responsible manner possible. I believe that the current pandemic has placed a huge financial burden on local businesses. The current mandates requiring social distancing have effectively slashed as much as 50 percent of a business’ capacity to generate revenue. I believe that a huge budget shortfall is fast approaching, and Ellsworth needs to become much more proactive in how they spend money.
What is your occupation? I have been employed as a telecommunication technician for the past 23 years. I started out with NYNEX in June of 1997. Today we are called Consolidated Communications.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city? From a physical standpoint, Ellsworth streets are rapidly going from bad to worse. The lack of executing a proactive approach to maintaining our streets and roads is simply unacceptable. With regards to the direction of the city’s current course, I firmly believe that it is a huge conflict of interest to tax private entities and then enter into direct competition with them.
What’s your personal priority, even if you don’t see it as the biggest challenge? There is a fantastic opportunity to dovetail into Jackson Lab’s recent investment. Attracting businesses engaged in medical and scientific research would bring good paying jobs to our area. The greater Ellsworth/MDI region offers an unparalleled quality of life that cannot be matched by major metropolitan areas such as Boston or New York City.
What do you think the council has done well in the past year? The city’s efforts at the waterfront and marina are to be commended. The revitalization has brought extremely positive results both in facility usage and patronage to many local businesses.
What’s the best way for the public to contact you? I can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 479-7948.