Seven candidates are vying for three open positions on Portland’s city council. They represent a wide range of political convictions and experience; they’ll assume office at a time when our city is undergoing significant changes demographically and economically.
Endorsed candidates are marked by a ! next to their photo. For the at-large seat being vacated by John Anton (who chose not to run for re-election), former state representative Jon Hinck, a lawyer and environmental activist who lost in the 2012 Democratic primary to replace US Senator Olympia Snowe, faces newcomer Wellington “Wells” Lyons, a local businessman whose impressive showing last year — when he challenged sitting councilor Nick Mavodones for an at-large seat and won 44 percent of the vote — gives him name recognition as well as legitimacy. We endorsed him against Mavodones in 2012; while we respect Hinck’s stance on energy issues and his familiarity with how the state legislative process affects municipal government, we’d like to see Portland voters give Lyons a chance to put his fresh (and abundant) energy to work.
At-large councilor Jill Duson, who has served on that body for 10 years and as its mayor twice (she also ran to be the city’s first elected mayor, but her campaign never gained much traction), is being challenged by lobster boat sternman and Maine Independent Green Party member Christopher Shorr and businessman Gregory Smaha, who identifies as a fiscal conservative. Neither challenger possesses much, if any, political experience. Although Duson’s style of low-profile leadership is occasionally underwhelming, we still think her voice (especially on issues like economic fairness and education) adds a unique perspective to the city council.
In District 3, incumbent Ed Suslovic faces a true novice: laborer Greg Blouin, who in phone conversations has seemed a bit overwhelmed by the realities of running for public office. We’d like to see Blouin get more involved in and informed about local issues before supporting him as a candidate.
(Apropos of nothing, and notwithstanding Duson’s candidacy, may we ask: Where are all the female candidates for local office? Why is this an unappealing position for 30-something, community-minded women?)
Below is the chart we ran in the paper, and below that the text of each candidate's full answer to each question.
1) If you were sitting on the council when the vote took place, how did you vote on the sale of Congress Square Park to private developers? OR, If you were not a councilor at that time, how would you have voted?
2) Do you support the ban on panhandling in medians around the city?
3) What one act should the city of Portland undertake to best help its homeless
4) Do you support legalizing recreational marijuana use?
5) What is one city service/department you think should be changed or eliminated to save money?
6) Give us one idea for development of the 10-acre waterfront site recently purchased from Phineas Sprague by two local developers. What would you like to see happen at the Portland Yacht Services complex?
At-large 3-year term
Neighborhood: West End
Campaign website(s): https://www.facebook.com/HinckForPortland and www.hinckforportland.com