|Press release from Vote for Ward|
Maine native and New Gloucester resident Dustin Ward has announced his candidacy for the New Gloucester select board seat
NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine – April 13, 2021 — On June 8th, Maine native, New Gloucester resident, father, and small business owner Dustin Ward will make New Gloucester history as the first person of color in more than 30 years to be running on a local municipal ballot. On March 25th, Ward officially launched his campaign for the one-year select board seat vacated by George Colby Sr., who resigned on February 1st, 2021. Colby resigned while facing a recall vote due to racist comments that took place during the December 2020 select board meeting.
Ward, an alumnus of the University of Southern Maine and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and former pastor, collected three times the number of signatures required to be eligible for the ballot. “Dustin is a natural collaborator who has a real talent for finding common ground,” says New Gloucester resident Tom Jordan. “He is so willing to have a conversation with anyone. We need people like Dustin on the select board who are eager to listen to town residents.”
If elected, Ward plans to focus on creating connections across all town residents; whether by new physical structures or incorporation of already established facilities, such as the town library, as a way to bring community members closer together. He also wants to bring more diverse and Black-owned small businesses into New Gloucester and promote improved economic viability for the town, while respecting its rural roots. “With only a year to work, my focus is first and foremost is healing for the town and reconciliation with Mr. Colby so that the incident that opened the seat isn’t a continued blemish upon New Gloucester or further work that I, nor Mr. Colby, hope to accomplish,” says Ward. “Secondly, I want to bring a fresh vision and change of culture to local town politics. I want to help other young and new voices feel empowered to step into running for offices, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community members. Above all, I hope to create more transparency and find ways to hear from constituents on a regular basis outside of just the regular select board meetings.” Ward also plans to use the recently concluded New Gloucester Comprehensive Plan as guidance and a baseline to establish new ideas and to improve on the already positive parts of the town.
Ward’s progressive focus on promoting diversity and newer voices in the political arena resonates with a community-oriented town that has recently struggled to reconcile across various reaches of the political spectrum. “Growing up in Aroostook County, it is clear that Dustin developed a strong work ethic and a love for the rural way of life. Dustin is community minded, loves talking to people and wants to learn what is important to them. His energy, enthusiasm and empathy make him a great choice for our select board,” says New Gloucester resident Julie Fralich. “He will bring a refreshing approach to transparency, communication and thoughtful deliberation in our town. He has a vision and plan for a welcoming and prosperous future for New Gloucester.”
“You can’t move forward, unless you have reconciled with the past,” says Ward. “Only once we have reckoned with history can we collectively see a brighter, more diverse, future together.”
- Campaign Website: https://voteforward.me/
News Articles on Former Selectman Resignation
- White Grievance is Racism: Why New Gloucester Selectman George Colby Needs to be Recalled
- New Gloucester Selectman Resigns after Alleged Racist Comment
- New Gloucester Selectman’s ‘Racist’ Comment Edited Out of meeting Video
For Additional Information
- Contact the Vote ForWard campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org