Tag Archives: elections

Candidates for Local Offices

Elections for Selectmen, SAD #15 School Board Members, NG Water District Trustee, and School Budget referendum along with State Elections, will be voted on Tuesday, June 14th, at the New Gloucester Fire Station, 611 Lewiston Road.

VOTING HOURS CHANGE: Polls will open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.

Candidates for selectmen (two open seats) are: Lenora Conger, Steven Libby, Nichole Stevens and Kathleen Potter.

Candidates for the MSAD #15 school board (three open seats) are: Amy Arata, John Cavanaugh and Barbra Thompson.

Candidate for the Water District Board of Trustees (one open seat) is: Vaughn Hardesty.

Bernie Wins Big in New Gloucester Democratic Caucus

Kimberly Sampson addressing group Opening remarks by convener Nichole Stevens

Top: Kimberly Sampson, candidate for State Senate District 20, addresses a large crowd at the New Gloucester Democratic Caucus on Sunday afternoon. Nearly 200 enthusiastic caucus-goers were in attendance.

Bottom: Caucus Convener Nichole Stevens conducts a smooth-running event at the Memorial School Gym, March 6.

The results of the voting:
Bernie Sanders  139 votes (73%) – 9 delegates
Hillary Clinton  54 votes (27%) – 4 delegates

New Gloucester Democrats to Caucus

Do you have a Democratic presidential preference? Here’s your chance to caucus in support of Hillary or Bernie. The New Gloucester Democratic Committee will host its biennial town caucus on Sunday, March 6, at the Memorial School Gym, 86 Intervale Road (Route 231), New Gloucester. Voter registration will open at 2 p.m., the caucus will start at 3 p.m., and doors will close at 4 p.m. for presidential preference voting.

All registered Democrats residing in New Gloucester are invited to attend. Additionally, 17-year-olds, who will turn 18 on, or before, Election Day (Nov. 8), will be eligible to participate in the caucus by registering to vote and enrolling prior to the caucus. New voters, or those not belonging to a political party, may register as Democrats at the caucus; however, enrolling beforehand at the town office is strongly recommended. New enrollees should bring identification and proof of residency (such as a utility bill with a street address).

Those who can’t come to the caucus but would like to vote for a Democratic presidential candidate, may do so by requesting an absentee ballot via an online form at www.mainedems.org. Completed absentee ballots must be received by Wednesday, March 2.

Other matters on the agenda include selecting delegates and alternates to the May 6-7 state convention in Portland, electing county committee members, and nominating election clerks. Coffee and baked goods will be available. The blizzard date is Sunday, March 13. For more information, contact caucus convener Nichole Stevens at 807-7694.

New Gloucester Republicans to Caucus

New Gloucester Republicans will caucus Saturday, March 5, at Greely Middle School, 351 Tuttle Road, Cumberland. There will be several towns caucusing at this location.

8:00 Doors Open

8:30   Registration for New Voters/Changes in Enrollment

9:30   Voter Registration Ends-Municipal Organizational Caucuses Begin- Presidential Voting Begins

10:30   Presidential Speeches

12:00   Other Speakers if present- Complete caucuses if they have unfinished business

12:30   Voting Ends

Ballots Counted

To register in the Republican Party, the requirements are as follows. Unenrolled voters can register the same day of any election. Democrats and Greens, or any other party, must be unenrolled for at least 15 days prior to an election before registering as a Republican. Contact George Colby at 577-5181 or gccolby@maine.rr.com for additional details.


Patti’s Feb. 18 Inside New Gloucester column

Full moon snowshoe

Join members and supporters of the Royal River Conservation Trust on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 4-7 p.m., for their free, annual full moon snowshoe evening at Pisgah Hill Preserve on the New Gloucester-Pownal town line, hosted by neighbors Terry DeWan and Nancy Wines-DeWan. Hikers will watch the full moon rise over Pownal to the east, while observing the sun setting over Mount Washington to the west.

Moonrise is at 4:29 p.m., but it takes a while to get above the Pownal ridgeline. Start trekking between 4 and 4:30 p.m. to see the moonrise. Keep in mind that sunset is at 5:17 p.m., so headlamps or flashlights are recommended.

Bring snowshoes or boots. Depending on conditions, you can use either to hike the approximate one-mile backcountry loop trail to the summit and back. Bring flashlights or headlamps, and warm clothes. There will be bonfires at the summit of Pisgah Hill where cocoa, marshmallows and good company will be provided.

Meet at the trailhead on Dougherty Road in New Gloucester, near the New Gloucester-Pownal town line. Note that if coming from Pownal, it’s called the Chadsey Road.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column, go to http://www.keepmecurrent.com/lakes_region_weekly/news/inside-new-gloucester/article_59ff1da4-d677-11e5-ac71-8bcf31cb4b5f.html

Town Election

Polls will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, for the town election, which will be held at the New Gloucester Fire Station, 611 Lewiston Road.

There are two MSAD 15 referendum questions. Question 1 is a budget validation vote. Question 2 pertains to funding county sheriff services for the 2015-2016 school year.

There are two openings on the New Gloucester Board of Selectmen, two openings on the MSAD 15 Board of Directors, and one opening on the New Gloucester Water District Board of Trustees. Note that only citizens who reside within the town’s water district may vote for water board candidates.

Click on the “Elections” sidebar at www.newgloucester.com to view sample ballots and obtain an application for an absentee ballot.

Make It So Tomorrow

If you weren’t planning on voting tomorrow, change your mind.

If you’ve voted for years and have given up trying to make a change on the New Gloucester Board of Selectmen, vote tomorrow, one more time.

If you are new to town and assume that your new home is governed with an even hand and has the trust of all, well, sorry – but you can make it so.

Imagine a Board of Selectmen comprised of current members Josh McHenry and Laura Jane Sturgis; two new members equally dedicated to open discussion, fair treatment, careful research and considered decisions; and Steve Libby. If Libby is willing to contribute his knowledge without having to control all outcomes, and keep his actions within the bounds of ethics, we could have a very interesting and productive Board of Selectmen that everyone could trust.

Wouldn’t THAT be something?

However, the Libby faction, who gave us illegal executive sessions, lawsuits against the town, the previous town manager’s golden parachute, and mistreatment of town staff; who favor  control over collaboration, who rewrite history when it suits them, and who limit information when they can – this persistent threesome of Libby + 2, are counting on low turnout to keep the oligarchy going – and more of the same.

Yes, there are 5 candidates vying for 2 seats, and the “vote for change” will apparently be split between three engaged and independent candidates, all with excellent credentials: Stephen Hathorne, Kathleen Potter, and Jean Couturier.  Logically, if a small coordinated group votes for re-runs Chase and Conger, and a similarly small but uncoordinated group split their two votes between three new candidates, the status quo will continue.

So – a new outcome depends upon a significantly larger number of individual voters in New Gloucester making it a point to vote for two new selectmen from the three new names.

It can happen, one vote at a time.

It really is up to you.

And won’t it be something to make that kind of difference right where you live?

Let’s do this! Couturier, Potter, Hathorne – pick two, and VOTE!


Lead, Listen, Administer, and Supervise: NG Selectmen Candidates Forum

On May 29, the four registered candidates for two seats on the New Gloucester Board of Selectmen participated in a live televised Candidates Forum, hosted by the New Gloucester Cable TV Committee, and moderated by Beverly Caddigan. All questions from the public, both submitted in advance to the Cable TV Committee, and asked live at the event, were answered by each candidate in turn.

The questions concerned:

  1. the greatest issues confronting the town;
  2. positions regarding the eradication of the personal income tax by the state, and how it would impact the town;
  3. whether or not the voters should be given the opportunity to increase the dollar amount of individual articles presented a town meeting, and not just (as now) decrease;
  4. why the townspeople passed a recall ordinance last year, and why it has not been used as yet;
  5. whether our volunteer firefighters should be paid more, and if so, where the money would come from;
  6. proposals for improving relations between the town and school district
  7. when it is appropriate for a selectman to abstain from voting;
  8. whether the town should consider a dedicated police department; and
  9. whether all selectmen are equal, if they should all get information at the same time, and what their role is.

In order to give a better idea of who voters are deciding between, this summary of answers is grouped by candidate, rather than by question.

Kathleen Potter

Kathleen Potter cited before issues of revenue and taxes, a lack of trust as the major issue facing the town. “The selectmen don’t trust each other, the public doesn’t trust the selectmen, the school board doesn’t trust the selectmen… people are unhappy here,” she said. “Enough of the pettiness.”

Potter agreed with other candidates that the question about the abolishment of state income tax was “hypothetical,” but said “It would not be a pretty picture if it passes – it would be devastating.”

Potter supported the idea of returning the ability to raise dollar amounts on articles at town meeting to the town meeting voters. “I  trust the voters… I do not see a problem in having an open budget,” she said, adding “It’s your responsibility to go to Town Meeting.”

With regard to the Recall Ordinance enacted in 2013, Potter says it passed  because it was “sound and legal,” and has not been used yet “because no one has found any [behavior] meeting the criteria for it to be used – and that’s admirable.”

Potter argued that property-owners in New Gloucester would see better insurance rates if the town had a full-time fire department. She called the current firefighters’ stipend “shameful,” and said “we should pay them.”

Regarding relations with the school department, Potter, who has served on the SAD 15 Board of Directors, said the town should appoint a liaison to SAD 15 with the charge of staying in regular communication through the year.

Potter cited Maine Municipal Association guidelines regarding selectmen abstaining from votes in matters where there may  be a conflict of interest, personal or fiduciary. In all other instances, said Potter, “It is your duty as selectman to be involved, up to date, aware and appropriately educated on every subject.”

It was Potter’s opinion that “as the town grows, New Gloucester will be looking at creating a town police department,” not least because of the “town’s proximity to the turnpike and out of state drug traffic,” which, she said, is already accounting for frequent drug busts.

Potter emphasized that the Board of the Selectmen should be a collaborative body of equal members who receive all the same information at the same time with regard to town business, with the duty to “administrate the business of the community,” and look out for its “safety and well-being.”

Stephen Hathorne

Describing himself as “a proud townie,” Hathorne said the major problem facing the town now is the division that has developed. “We need to find common ground, middle ground, to get trust in our leaders back.”

Hathorne said he would “abstain” from answering the question about abolishment of the state income tax as it was “a hypothetical.”

As for allowing voters to raise dollar amounts on articles at town meeting, Hathorne was adamantly in favor of returning to that format. “The taxpayer has one day to say yes or no to what the town is doing. It’s their say, it’s their day.” He added that he would also like to see the town meeting return to the full community gathering it once was, on a Saturday, with time for a meal served by a community organization so people could “break bread, and build community.”

Hathorne said he’d been involved in the citizen’s Recall Ordinance effort as well as on the ad hoc committee appointed to create a version for the selectmen to submit, because “we needed a tool.” He noted that the citizens version “passed by overwhelming majority.” As for it not being employed to date, he compared it to “the spatula in the drawer,” and how “you’d smarten up” once “Mother” took it out.

“We’ve had free services since 1929,” Hathorne said about town firefighters. “It’s time we talked about paying some hourly rate for training.” He added later in the forum that the retirement of the debt for the new fire station in 2018 will likely  be eaten up immediately by a new town garage, so shouldn’t be dangled as a time of easy funding for a fire department or police. In regard to that town garage and possible development of the Upper Village, he said that the garage should stay “where it is: we’ve polluted the water, we own it,” and should not risk polluting the other site being talked about, behind Memorial School on Rowe Station Road, or beside the new fire station, which he says is “the Ft. Knox of clean water” for New Gloucester.

With regard to relations between the Board of Selectmen and the School Board, Hathorne said he had seen “something said” at a selectmens’ meeting,” from behind the desk” that contributed to bad feelings, and admonished that selectmens’ meetings “were not the proper place to air grievances.”

Re abstaining from a vote, Hathorne said a selectman should abstain for conflicts of interest, and should give the reason for abstaining at the time of the vote.

Hathorne suggested that hiring a town constable might be a feasible way for the town to provide residents with some protection against break-ins during regular working hours, and to nab speeders on certain stretches in town.

“The eyes, the ears, and the father of the community, ” is how Hathorne described the role of selectman. “You need to take care of the people who put you there, openly and honestly.”  With regard to equality among the selectmen, Hathorne says “We should definitely be equal, whether they have been there 1 year or 3 years – anyone who thinks differently probably shouldn’t be sitting with us…”

Jean Couturier

Couturier cited “transparency in government” and preserving a low property tax as the major issues facing the town.

Calling any indication of position regarding the abolishment of personal income taxes “political,” Couturier said he preferred to address the question as to what the town’s options would be if any revenue sources were discontinued, and said that the town would have to decide between difficult options like cutting staff, cutting services, and raising taxes.

Letting individuals increase the dollar figures of articles at town meeting would be “dangerous,” according to Couturier. A member of several town committees involved with budgeting and planning, he defended the current process that results in the figures set on the town warrant.

Regarding the Citizen’s Recall Ordinance, Couturier said it had “put the selectmen on notice that the people would not accept real or perceived improprieties,” and that since adoption, the people had not “seen actions meeting the threshold.”

Couturier said he thought it would be appropriate for the town to make “a small increase” to firefighters stipends, paid through taxation, in the short term; and that a committee should be appointed to look at the possibility of instituting salaries, and the implication for the town budget. He suggested that it might be feasible financially to take some action after 2018, when the debt on the new fire station is retired.

Couturier recommended that the town formalize regular reports to the selectmen  all liaisons and committees, and suggested that the selectmen should participate more in all municipal and district events.

Conflating “recusing” and “abstaining” from votes, Couturier suggested that the town should develop an ordinance that enumerates the reasons that a selectperson could or should not vote on issues before the BOS.

Noting that the town “is struggling to put money in capital accounts,” and may face the problems raised by abolishment of the state income tax, Couturier said it would be difficult to think about establishing a police department at this time, especially with the costs of start-up; but agreed with Steve Hathorne who suggested that creating a town constable position might be more appropriate.

Linda Chase (incumbent)

Unlike the other candidates, Chase did not agree that any division among the NG community, or voter distrust of town government, was a major issue. She suggested that any sense of distrust was the result of people not knowing enough about what was going on, not asking enough questions – or not actually about town government at all. “Sometimes they’re just not happy with what’s going on in their life and are looking for a way to fix it.” Her main focus, she said, was not having property taxes go up.

Regarding the elimination of personal income tax, Chase said “It’s way too early to tell,” and that she hoped that the impact on the town would be considered before action was taken.

Chase was opposed to returning to the past practice of allowing voters at town meeting to raise the dollar amount of any articles, arguing that the majority of the voters who do not attend town meeting are in favor of the budget as presented, and would not get say in the discussion.

Chase’s explanation for the success of the Citizens Recall Ordinance last year was “it passed because of the will of the people,” and she assumed that it wasn’t used because “the people are not dissatisfied with what is happening.”

Chase said she was in favor of increasing the hourly wage of firefighters by way of a “well-thought -0ut plan” that would be the result of input from many parties, and “well-vetted.”

Regarding improving relations between the town and the school district, Chase disagreed with the characterization of it as “adversarial,” asserted that regular communication takes place between the BOS and  SAD 15 leadership, and advised voters to “go to the meetings.”

Chase asserted that selectmen can abstain from voting “if they don’t have all the facts.”

Chase indicated that while the town is “moving in the direction” of a dedicated police station, “at this point it makes more sense to have a paid fire/EMS” department.

“Each of the selectman are equal, and they should have the same information,” Chase stated, with the caveat that as a function of their positions, each selectman will know more about the committees with whom they are liaisons. Selectmen have equal responsibility toward town staff and the community, she said, and their role is “to listen, act, protect, and serve the community.”

A video of the complete 90 min. forum is available at http://newgloucester.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=f0f2a30a824b0521dfb555526f6be9d7