WATERVILLE — Voters will cast ballots for candidates seeking seats on City Council, Waterville Board of Education, Charter Commission and Kennebec Water District when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

Voting will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Harold Alfond Field House on the Thomas College campus off West River Road.

Candidates running unopposed, and therefore not interviewed for this story, are incumbents Jeff A. Earickson and J. Michael Talbot, both Democrats, for two seats on the Kennebec Water District Board of Trustees, representing all seven city wards; Catherine M. Weeks, Ward 1 Charter Commission; incumbent Margaret K. Smith, Democrat, Ward 3 City Council; incumbent Joan Phillips-Sandy, Democrat, Waterville Board of Education, Ward 3; and incumbent Julian Payne, Democrat, Waterville Board of Education and Charter Commission, Ward 5.

A ballot question asks all voters if a charter commission shall be established for the purpose of revising the City Charter or establishing a new city charter.

Candidates running in contested races for council and school board were asked via email, in 25 words or fewer, why they are running for office and what they hope to accomplish if elected or reelected. Those running for charter commission were asked why they are running and what changes they think should be made in the current charter.

 

CITY COUNCIL, WARD  2:

The three candidates for the Ward 2 council seat are Flavia M. Oliveira, John D. Roberston, and incumbent Phillippe Emile Tchekane Bofia.

Flavia D. Oliveira

Name: Flavia M. Oliveira (D)

Age: 36

Occupation: intern at Maine Equal Justice

Offices held: former chair, parent-led Policy Council, at Educare Central Maine; member, Maine State Parent Ambassador Program which started at Educare; member, Board of Directors for Kennebec Valley Community Action Program

Question 1: Waterville has a bright future and needs leaders who will effectively work to better our community.

Question 2: I will focus on the business of governing our schools, roads and taxpayers.

John D. Roberston

 

Name: John D. Robertson (unenrolled)

Age: 46

Occupation: firefighter-paramedic; owner of Robertson’s Blue Flame Service

Offices held: former president and current vice president, Central Maine Youth Hockey Board of Directors

Question 1: I am running for City Council to bring 24 years of public service experience, a voice for the business community and the citizens.

Question 2: I hope to bring a reasonable and nonpolitical voice to the council. Someone only working for a better small community in Maine.

 

Phil Bofia

Name: Phillippe Emile Tchekane Bofia (R)

Age: 32

Occupation: business analyst

Offices held: member, Board of Directors for KSW Federal Credit Union; member and past chairman, KVConnect Steering Committee; current city councilor, Ward 2; member, Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; past president, Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity; member Board of Trustees, Kennebec Valley Community College

Question 1: Because our city needs people who are not concerned with partisan politics but the well being of ALL our constituents. So the voice of the voiceless can be heard. So we can bring back a sense of dignity to our politics.

Question 2: Promote transparency and accountability among city and school officials. Promote fair economic development to both constituents and developers. Promote diversity and inclusion. Support green initiatives. Work on new revenue streams. Work on bringing nonprofits to the table.

 

WATERVILLE BOARD OF EDUCATION, WARD 2:

Greg Bazakas

Name: Greg A. Bazakas (D)

Age: 54

Occupation: clinical social worker

Offices held: current member, Waterville Board of Education

Question 1: As a former Waterville High School teacher and parent of three Waterville Public School students, I will provide our schools informed and relevant guidance.

Question 2: I will be attuned to the needs of all students and work to provide for them an opportunity for a quality education.

 

Shaun Caron

Name: Shaun P. Caron (R)

Age: 33

Occupation: construction worker; podcaster

Offices held: none

Question 1: My amazing daughter. With the realization that our children — not just my own — need the best possible education we can give to them.

Question 2: By working to fight burdensome mandates and ensuring that we have a strong curriculum that helps create a generation of critical thinkers and not just test takers.

 

CHARTER COMMISSION, WARD 2:

Name: Maureen Lynn Ausbrook

Maureen Ausbrook

Age: 68

Occupation: interfaith minister and former history teacher, paralegal and business owner

Offices held: none

Question 1: I enjoy being able to offer volunteer, nonpartisan service to my community. Charter Commission is a good fit for someone with my education and experience.

Question 2: I don’t know whether changes should be made. Certainly, no changes should be made without careful examination of the issues and public involvement in that process.

 

Name: John D. Robertson

John D. Roberston contributed photo

Age: 46

Occupation: firefighter-paramedic; owner of Robertson’s Blue Flame Service

Offices held: former president and current vice president, Central Maine Youth Hockey

Question 1: I am running for the charter commission to bring a nonpolitical and common sense approach to the group. Waterville is a small community and should not be subject to the national political agendas.

Question 2: My goals would be to remove the political affiliations and insure that Waterville city government works for all citizens and businesses alike.

 

Name: Philippe Emile Tchekane Bofia

Phil Bofia

Age: 32

Occupation: business analyst

Offices held: member, Board of Directors for KSW Federal Credit Union; member and past chairman, KVConnect Steering Committee; current city councilor, Ward 2; member, Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; past president, Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity; member Board of Trustees, Kennebec Valley Community College

Question 1: Because it is important that people who live, work, raise families and plan to retire in this city be involved in shaping rules and regulations on how our city should operate.

Question 2: I would like to see change in our zoning, conflict of interest, and our voting ordinances.

 

CHARTER COMMISSION, WARD 3:

Name: Lutie Janet Brown

Lutie Brown

Age: 19

Occupation: history and English student at Colby College

Offices held: local engagement chair, Colby College Democrats; chief of staff of Maine College Democrats

Question 1: I am running for charter commission to strengthen the partnership between Colby and the city that I have come to call home.

Question 2: In order to ensure that people’s voices are heard, we should examine the necessity of the mayor’s position; we should also consider reasonable term limits.

 

Name: Robert Neal Patterson

Robert Neal Patterson

Age: 66

Occupation: retired senior systems analyst at Colby College

Offices held: former chairman, Waterville Republican Committee

Question 1: I’m running for charter commission because I want my neighborhood represented by a long-term resident as opposed to a college student who has resided here for only a few months.

Question 2: I have no present agenda on changes although I am certainly open to suggestions. I would assume people choose to live in Waterville at least in part because they find the current charter acceptable. So, I would be cautious and thoughtful concerning changes while still recognizing that anything can be improved.

 

CHARTER COMMISSION, WARD 4:

Name: Nicholas S. Isgro

Nicholas Isgro Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

Age: 38

Occupation: accountant

Offices held: current mayor of Waterville

Question 1: The everyday residents, the forgotten men and women of Waterville, need a champion to protect their voice and their votes.

Question 2: We must save our ward system and eliminate conflicts of interest to protect our residents from having their voice given over to a small handful.

 

Name: Hilary Durland Koch

Hilary Durland Koch

Age: 46

Occupation: caregiver

Offices held: none

Question 1: I want to ensure that our charter allows us to govern in a way that Waterville can be a city in which everyone feels welcomed, valued and represented.

Question 2: It’s important to go into the commission with openness and an ability to listen to all points of view. However, I am interested in exploring how to protect an elected official’s right to engage in any discussion of proposed legislation at the state level but keep a clear distinction between such engagement as a private citizen versus representing Waterville as a whole. If any engagement suggests action on behalf of the city, then it should probably be approved by the City Council.

 

CITY COUNCIL, WARD 5:

Name: Jay S. Coelho (D)

Jay Coelho Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

Age: 42

Occupation: local business owner

Offices held: current Ward 5 city councilor

Question 1: I am running for reelection because there is still lots of work to be done; we made good strides this year and can continue to do better as more projects come online.

Question 2: I hope to continue our mission of public safety, funding schools to benefit our student population and bringing more solar projects to the community.

 

Name: Richard Andrew Foss (R)

Richard Foss

Age: 46

Occupation: network systems specialist

Offices held: assistant director, American Legion Riders Post 51, Oakland

Question 1: To give Ward 5 a true voice over tax increases that are driving residents from their homes to surrounding communities with a lower tax burden.

Question 2: Ensure through business growth that Waterville as a whole becomes a work here, live here, play here city that we all love and enjoy.

 

CITY COUNCIL, WARD 6:

Name: Thomas Stephen DePre (unenrolled)

Thomas Stephen DePre

Age: 39

Occupation: project/property manager

Offices held: none

Question 1: To better represent the residents of Ward 6. To make sure their voices are heard as the revitalization of Waterville progresses.

Question 2: I hope to promote unity, transparency and efficiency in delivering government services so that every resident has opportunities to prosper.

 

Claude Francke Rich Abrahamson

Name: Claude R. Francke (unenrolled)

Age: 70

Occupation: retired

Offices held: None

Question 1: My father, who was on City Council in the town where I was raised, taught me that public service is an honorable calling. For my part, I spent 14 years as a lawyer for the federal government. Now I hope the voters in Waterville will give me the opportunity to serve them.

Question 2: Bringing the community together to achieve our common goals: educating our children; making Waterville safe, affordable and accessible; creating an environment where local businesses can thrive.

 

CHARTER COMMISSION, WARD 6:

Name: Thomas Stephen DePre

Thomas Stephen DePre

Age: 39

Occupation: project/property manager

Offices held: none

Question 1: In order to ensure that everyone maintains an equal voice in the governance of the City of Waterville, not just the select few.

Question 2: I believe in the preservation of the current ward system, in that it preserves the voice of every Waterville resident and neighborhood.

 

Name: R. Arthur Finch

R. Arthur Finch

Age: 35

Occupation: data analyst

Offices held: chairman, Waterville Democratic City Committee

Question 1: To ensure government stays fair, the charter needs to govern equitably. I have experience with governing documents — I wrote the bylaws for the Waterville Democrats.

Question 2: The charter is a reflection of our values; I’d like to keep things, not change them, especially the ward system. Localized government is incredibly important.

 

CHARTER COMMISSION, WARD 7:

Name: Ronald A. Merrill

Ronald Merrill

Age: 74

Occupation: retired high school teacher; currently, area substitute teacher; substitute teacher training instructor, Mid-Maine Regional Community Education, Waterville; judge, Maine State Harness Racing Commission (agricultural fairs/Bangor Raceway)

Offices held: former regional director, Business Education Association of Maine

Question 1: Am running to preserve the integrity of the ward system as each ward has its own background and needs.

Question 2: All sections of the city should have representation on each issue. The city charter should be examined carefully. Reinventing the wheel is not always necessary for productive change.

 

Name: Robert J. Vear

Bob Vear

Age: 61

Occupation: disabled (former logistics-customer service representative for Pine State Trading Co.)

Offices held: chairman, Waterville Airport Advisory Board; voting member, Waterville Marijuana Ordinance Committee;  Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus; president and founder, Le Association de la Famille Rancourt; past president, The League of Sacred Heart, Notre Dame Parish

Question 1: I am running for election for the revision of the Waterville City Charter Commission 2020, solely because I have to. If it were my choice, everyone should be on this. The ‘more input’ is how people can make better decisions.

Question 2: Waterville is governed by a charter, one that is 36 pages in length, and is not really in layman’s terms. It needs to be reviewed from time to time, and now is that time. Sort of like a yearly health exam.

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