Entrepreneur Thaddeus St. John announced his candidacy for mayor of Portland last week, saying he wants to use technology to let citizens tell the mayor how to vote on issues before the City Council.

“The mayor gets one vote on the City Council and that should be the people’s vote,” said St. John, who announced his candidacy on Thursday.

Mayoral candidate Thaddeus St. John. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

St. John, 26, must gather at least 300 voter signatures to qualify for the Nov. 5 ballot. Others who have announced campaigns include Mayor Ethan Strimling, who is seeking a second term, City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau and former school board member Kate Snyder.

If elected, St. John said he would implement an online-voting system that would allow Portland residents to vote on issues that come before the City Council. The results of the online vote would determine his vote as mayor. He believes this could get residents, especially millennials, more excited about local issues.

As for residents without online access, St. John said he is thinking of having a designated computer in the public library or having iPads in assisted living centers.

“Giving (residents) access and more resources will benefit Portland because it gives people more participation,” said St. John, who lives on Sheridan Street on Munjoy Hill.


St. John said that the residents he’s talked to want to bring positive energy and enthusiasm into Portland’s politics, which may get people more involved.

St. John has not run for office but has volunteered to serve on Portland’s Rental Housing Advisory Committee.

St. John is a native of Weld and got a political science degree from the University of Southern Maine in 2015. He worked for Allagash Brewing Company and two months ago launched Lincoln and Maine Inc.,  a small winery in South Portland that makes fortified wine and vermouth as well as canned beverages.

Portland’s elected mayor earns a full-time salary – $74,000 in 2018 – but does not have any executive control over city operations, which are overseen by the city manager.

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