Meet the City Council candidates



ELLSWORTH — City voters will elect three city councilors at the polls Tuesday, Nov. 5.

There are five candidates for three available seats, all of which are three-year terms.

Three councilors’ terms are up this year, and two have opted not to run again: Gary Fortier, who is retiring after 24 years, and Dawn Ihle Hudson. Current Council Chairman Marc Blanchette is running for reelection.

The American asked the candidates about their backgrounds and priorities if elected.

 

Marc Blanchette

Marc Blanchette

How long have you lived in Ellsworth?

Thirty-two, thirty-three years, with a break in between. I grew up here, I went to school here.

First time you’ve run for public office?

I’ve served on the council for 6.5 years and on the Planning Board before that.

What made you decide to run?

To continue the progress of what we’ve had over the past six years. Look at the growth we’ve had in Ellsworth. Look at the apartments, look at the number of jobs. People do not realize the good impact that Jackson Lab has on us. They think it’s just some small facility up there on the hill. It’s huge. They’ve only started. So you know, I just want to be on the continuation on all of this. I grew up here. I’ve never seen growth like this.

Occupation?

Retired woodworker.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city?

Probably getting the state to rebuild Oak Street. We have lost Oak Street. We are not losing Oak Street, we have lost Oak Street. I’ve had three separate meetings with the DOT [Maine Department of Transportation], specifically on Oak Street. Yes it’s going to get done. But I also run into that wall, you have to wait, you have to wait, you have to wait. They’re just telling me the process. They do not do anything overnight. That’s my top one. That has to be rebuilt completely.

What’s your personal priority, even if you don’t see it as the biggest challenge?

To get the bike and pedestrian path extended to Main Street and extended to the athletic fields.

What do you think the council has done well in the past year?

Housing. That’s huge. A lot of those we’ve done through a TIF [Tax Increment Financing] district. The value of those houses has been shielded from state valuation and from the Hancock County valuation. The more that a community is worth the less school aid they get from the state. When those figures are shielded then the school rate is not affected in a negative way. It stays the same.

Contact information: [email protected] or (207) 944-8748

 

Edward Kamin III

Edward Kamin III

How long have you lived in Ellsworth?

I’ve lived in the Ellsworth area for the past two years. I’m originally from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

First time you’ve run for public office?

It is.

What made you decide to run?

When you see a city position that’s being run unopposed it’s always kind of like, “Oh, I should’ve run for that, I have the time.” That was my feeling this year. I had a conversation with [State Rep.] Nicole [Grohoski]. She asked if I had heard that no one was running on the Democratic side — at that time it appeared as though only a returning member had filled the paperwork out. There was an open seat for a person with progressive ideals and I said, “How do I go about running for City Council?”

Occupation?

Assistant brewer at Fogtown Brewing. I also host old-time music night on Tuesday.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city?

There’s a housing shortage for year-round people. The price of apartments is incredibly high for the amount of money people make around here. It’s great that Jackson Lab is expanding into Ellsworth, as they are, but it’s sort of squeezing out people who may be retirees or student workers. I feel like there are numerous grants and programs at the state and federal level that the city of Ellsworth has access to and maybe we’re not doing enough to seek out those programs.

What’s your personal priority, even if you don’t see it as the biggest challenge?

Equally the revitalization of downtown as a year-round community and affordable housing. Simple solutions to attainable goals.

What do you think the council has done well in the past year?

I think that all the people on the council listen to the residents of Ellsworth quite well.

Contact information: [email protected] or (607) 341-0528

 

Michelle Kaplan

Michelle Kaplan

How long have you lived in Ellsworth?

Since 2012.

First time you’ve run for public office?

It is.

What made you decide to run?

I got tired of complaining.

Occupation?

Physician’s assistant in emergency medicine and addiction medicine.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city?

The taxes. You just keep seeing it go up and up. The city budget just keeps going up and up. The school is not the problem. The problem is expanding municipal involvement.

What’s your personal priority, even if you don’t see it as the biggest challenge?

Roads. Water Street is a bear. It’s expensive to fix the roads but that one’s an easy fix … just give it a shot. Change the arrows — don’t spend hundreds of thousands to do another assessment. It also needs beautification. You could do beautification projects where you get the community involved.

What do you think the council has done well in the past year?

They get along, which is good. They ask questions. They don’t just blanket everything.

Contact information: Facebook groupMichelle Kaplan for Ellsworth City Council” or @michellekaplanellsworth; (207) 664-0753 or (207) 332-4902.

 

Gene Lyons

Gene Lyons

How long have you lived in Ellsworth?

I have lived in Ellsworth most of my life. I grew up in Ellsworth schools. I feel like I have a lot to offer and want to serve the citizens of Ellsworth when they need something.

First time you’ve run for public office?

This is my third year running.

What made you decide to run?

I would like to see responsible spending.

Occupation?

Cement plant manager for Owen J. Folsom Inc.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city?

Taxes are high and I’d like to receive more for my tax dollars.

What’s your personal priority, even if you don’t see it as the biggest challenge?

Over the past few years I’ve seen many people speak up at City Council and nobody seems to listen to them.

What do you think the council has done well in the past year?

I know I have a lot to learn about city government and know I cannot please everyone, but I’m willing to do my best. I love my country and my family.

 

Robert Miller

Robert Miller

How long have you lived in Ellsworth?

I’ve lived in Ellsworth since 2004. [My wife and I] came up here on vacation and decided this would be a very good place to raise a child.

First time you’ve run for public office?

Yes. I’ve been on the Recreation Committee for two years.

What made you decide to run?

I didn’t receive the help I was looking for from the council in regards to the issue of the Brookfield Dam. I still hadn’t thought to run for City Council, but it kind of put it in my head to do it. I was also sad to see the way the Ticonic building issue was handled.

Occupation?

I’ve been a pharmacist at Northern Light Maine Coast for 11 years.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city?

I’m a supporter of public safety but I don’t know what we’re going to do to get them a building. The infrastructure of the city could also be improved — the sidewalks, the roads.

What’s your personal priority, even if you don’t see it as the biggest challenge?

The [Brookfield] dam [license renewal process]. I really want to make sure that’s handled correctly.

What do you think the council has done well in the past year?

They seem like they’re open to new green spaces and working with local businesses. I think they’ve done a good job of making sure this is a good place to live.

Contact information: Facebook group “Robert Miller for Ellsworth City Council.”

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]
Kate Cough

Latest posts by Kate Cough (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *