AUGUSTA — Shortly after taking the oath of office for the at-large City Council seat he won in November, Mark O’Brien acknowledged he wondered, before the election, if he was making the right choice by getting back into local politics.

The former multiple-term city councilor, interim mayor, school board chairman and longtime school board member pledged to do his best, now that voters returned him to office once again.

“I’m all about trying to make good decision for the city of Augusta,” O’Brien said after taking the oath during an inauguration ceremony Thursday for city councilors and school board members. “I was a little worried about putting myself out there again, I figured you might be tired of me. Thank you for electing me for another term, and I’ll do my best to pay you back.”

May M. Ross Coffin, who had a 32-year State House career before retiring as secretary of the Senate in 1996, administered the oaths of office to councilors and school board members elected in November.

The 80-year-old was the first woman to be elected as Senate secretary in Maine, in 1976. She is also the mother-in-law of O’Brien, who took the oath as a city councilor along with fellow newly elected councilors Corey Wilson and Harold Elliott Jr.

Elected to the school board and also taking their oaths of office Thursday were Edward Hastings, Staci Fortunato and Kati McCormick.

Mayor David Rollins cited a list of accomplishments by city councilors in 2016, including establishing programs meant to fight drug addiction and crime associated with it, economic development efforts, the establishment of tax increment financing districts to help major local employers J.S. McCarthy and Performance Foodservice expand, new ordinances meant to protect neighborhoods, the establishment of a children’s food pantry, and progress in the proposed renovation and preservation of the Colonial Theatre.

He said Augusta’s future is bright.

“Congratulations to the new members,” of the council and school board, Rollins said. “We all hope to improve the quality of life in our schools, neighborhoods and the business community. Working together, staying positive and having a whatever-it-takes attitude will lead to success.”

The newly elected school board and council members were brief in their comments, sticking to thanking their constituents for electing them, and their family, friends and others for their support.

“I want to thank everybody for bringing me back after my first term,” Hastings said. “Hopefully we’ll get a lot of new work done.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj


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