WATERVILLE — Colby College associate professor Winifred Tate was elected 4-2 Tuesday night to fill the Ward 6 City Council seat vacated by Dana Bushee, a Democrat who resigned Jan. 4.

Tate, 46, defeated candidates Lauren LePage, daughter of Gov. Paul LePage, and George Weber, a military veteran, both of whom had submitted letters of interest to the city for the Ward 6 seat, introduced themselves Tuesday and were interviewed in open session. LePage received two votes; Weber received no votes.

Candidate Todd Martin also had submitted a letter of interest in the Ward 6 seat and introduced himself to the council but said he was withdrawing his nomination because of overwhelming commitments this year. He serves on the city’s ethics and solid waste and recycling committees, as well as the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Councilors voted Tuesday by secret ballot, as required by the city charter, which mandates a majority of four votes to elect a candidate.

Tate, of Bartlett Street, works in the Department of Anthropology at Colby. She told councilors Tuesday that she would be honored to serve residents of Ward 6. She said she has lived in Waterville nine years and is a tenured professor who was raised to value public service, she said.

“Waterville has welcomed us and it’s been a wonderful place to raise my family,” she said.


Tate wrote in her letter of interest to the city that, as a taxpayer and parent of two children in public schools, she is deeply concerned about how to balance the needs of all community members and manage the city’s resources.

“If elected to the council, I will work to represent the needs of all my constituents in this critical time for Waterville,” her letter says.

Tate’s children attend Albert S. Hall and George J. Mitchell elementary schools and take part in the Quarry Road ski program and hockey. She said she has been part of a parents’ ad hoc advisory board for Common Street Arts and at Colby, and she is a member of the Working Group on Civic Engagement. She also actively promotes an inclusive vision for Colby’s downtown expansion, she said.

Tate’s research focuses on U.S. drug policy. She has done extensive research on the opiate crisis as well as marijuana regulation policy around the country.

She said she wants to promote evidence-based policies to address the challenges of illegal drug addiction and regulation.

Bushee had been appointed to the Ward 6 seat in 2014 to fill a vacancy created when Eliza Mathias resigned, and then Bushee ran for the seat in 2014 and was elected. If Tate chooses runs for election in November and is elected, she would serve a three-year term.


Elias was one of several people who stood Tuesday to support Tate’s bid for the seat.

“Winifred is fully prepared to deal with the complex budget issues that we face and able to make tough decisions when it comes to that,” Mathias said.

She said Tate listens well, will help build consensus and will work with the Waterville Board of Education well.

The council last week confirmed an appointment by Mayor Nick Isgro of Lauren LePage to fill a vacant seat on the Planning Board formerly held by Planning Board Chairman Nick Champagne, who was elected to the City Council in November. She is in her final year at University of Maine School of Law and works as executive director of Maine People Before Politics, an advocacy group.

Had she been elected to the council Tuesday, she would have served on the same council her father served on for several years before becoming Waterville mayor and then governor.

Weber, of Center Street, served in Operation Desert Storm and in the Iraq War, where he was a motor vehicle operator in the Marines and the Army Reserve and was cross-trained as an advanced motor vehicle mechanic. Weber said in his letter to the city that he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in business from the University of Phoenix, where he is studying entrepreneurship and business management and would use that knowledge to contribute to Waterville’s revitalization efforts.


In other matters Tuesday, councilors appointed Thomas Nale, an attorney, to the Planning Board to fill a vacancy created when David Geller resigned recently. Nale’s father, also Thomas, is a former Waterville mayor.

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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