WATERVILLE — Former City Councilor Erik Thomas was chosen Monday by Democrats to run for the Ward 7 council seat in November.

Thomas, 42, who held the Ward 4 council seat from 2011 to 2014, will oppose Heath Dunn, who was chosen last week by Republicans to run for the Ward 7 council seat. The winner will replace Councilor Jackie Dupont, who has opted not to run for reelection.

About 50 people turned out for the Waterville City Democratic Committee caucus at the Alfond Youth Center where residents sought to choose candidates for City Council, wards 1, 3, 5 and 7, and Waterville Board of Education, wards 1 and 7.

Thomas, programming manager for the Waterville Opera House who also owns Digital ImageWorks, a printing business, said he believes one must not just complain about things; but rather, stand up, get involved and offer solutions.

“The city’s facing a lot of tough issues right now and I have a lot of experience that I think will be important,” Thomas said.

Political newcomer Meg Smith, 35, was chosen by Ward 3 voters to run for the council seat vacated by Lauren Lessing, a Democrat who resigned recently to move to Iowa. No one was chosen last week at the Republican caucus to run for that seat.

Smith, a stay-at-home mother and the daughter of former Councilor Mary-Anne LaMarre, said she has a background in education and wants to be a voice for younger people and women — and be a good role model for her children.

“I have kids in the school system, too, and I’m all for supporting the public schools,” Smith said.

Ward 5 voters chose Jay Coelho, 40, to run for council in that ward. Councilor John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, currently holds that seat but said last week he was leaning toward running again but had not made a final decision. Rien Finch, who served as Democratic caucus chairman Monday, said O’Donnell attended the caucus to support whomever was chosen and he has decided not to run for re-election.

Coelho, owner of You Broke It?, a cellphone, tablet, laptop and computer repair business, said he thinks that with so many seats open for election, now is a good time to create more dialogue and engage in civil conversation.

“I think we need to take a hard look at how our budget is and why it’s the way it is,” he said.

Eric Chamberlain was chosen last week to run as a Republican for council in Ward 5.

Pamela Trinward, who holds the Ward 7 Waterville Board of Education seat, was chosen Monday to run for re-election and she will face off with Karen Rancourt-Thomas, a former city councilor who was chosen last week by Republicans to run for school board in that ward. Rancourt-Thomas is a former Democrat.

Waterville Board of Education Chairman Sara Sylvester was chosen Monday as the Ward 1 candidate for school board. There were no candidates chosen for that seat last week at the Republican caucus.

Mike Morris was chosen Monday as the Democratic candidate to run for City Council in Ward 1, a seat being vacated by Steve Soule, who currently serves as chairman and has decided not to run again. Morris will face off against Catherine Weeks, a political newcomer who was chosen to run as a Republican for City Council in Ward 1.

Morris, 45, who works for Bank of America, said he looks forward to running for the council seat.

“I’m very interested in public policy and very much looking forward to help shape the city’s future,” he said.

Finch, in his speech to Democrats Monday, urged them to volunteer to help when asked.

“Sign up,” Finch said. “When an organizer calls you, give them a shift.”

Democratic Committee Chairman Claude Francke welcomed the crowd.

Clerk Patti Dubois said last week that names submitted by the caucus will be placed on the ballot with an “R” for Republican placed next to the names as long as the candidates submit 25 to 50 signatures from residents of their wards by 5 p.m. Sept. 7.

Those wanting to be on the ballot with no party affiliation must get nomination papers from Dubois’ office at City Hall and return them with the same number of signatures by that same date and time, she said.

Voting on Nov. 6 is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Thomas College.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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