WATERVILLE — Residents Tuesday elected three new city councilors, reelected a member of the Board of Education, voted to establish a charter commission and elected members to that panel.

Hilary Durland Koch

Ward 4 resident Hilary Koch, 46, defeated Mayor Nick Isgro, 38, in the race for Charter Commission by a 2-to-1 margin,  289 to 147.

“I’m elated,” Koch, a caregiver, said at the polls at Thomas College. “Decisions are made by the people who show up, and Waterville showed up today.”

Flavia D. Oliveira Contributed photo

In Ward 2, newcomer Flavia M. Oliveira,  36, a Democrat and intern for Maine Equal Justice, defeated incumbent Councilor Philippe Emile Tchekane Bofia, 32, a Republican and business analyst, and newcomer John D. Robertson, 46, a firefighter-paramedic and business owner who ran with no party affiliation. Oliveira got 151 votes to Bofia’s 93 and Robertson’s 16.

“I feel excited,” Oliveira said after the votes were counted. “I’m just excited that everybody came out and voted. I’m really looking forward to actually getting to work and being part of a voice on the City Council and I feel like I represent so much in the community — the parents, the low-income.”

In Ward 5, incumbent Councilor Jay S. Coelho, 42, a Democrat and business owner, lost his seat to Republican challenger Richard Andrew Foss, 46, a network systems specialist. Foss received 214 votes to Coelho’s 148.


Richard Foss

“I’m very excited,” Foss said. “It’s been 9 to 12 months of hard work, going door-to-door, delivering my message. The supporters behind me, everyone that’s helped me along the way, giving me ideas, it’s a team effort … I hope that I bring together the City Council to work together as a team and get some positive things done for Waterville.”

Newcomer and retiree Claude R. Francke, 70, defeated newcomer Thomas Stephen DePre, 39, a project/property manager, for the Ward 6 council seat vacated by Winifred Tate, a Democrat, who resigned in August. Francke, who was listed with no party affiliation, got 126 votes to DePre’s 84.

“Oh, my goodness,” Francke, who was at the polls, said late Tuesday. “It’s time to buckle down and be worthy of the people who voted for me.”

Claude R. Francke Rich Abrahamson

Incumbent Waterville Board of Education member Greg A. Bazakas, 54, a Democrat and clinical social worker, maintained his seat in a landslide, beating challenger Shaun P. Caron, 33, a Republican, construction worker and podcaster 182-76.

Bazakas said in a phone interview late Tuesday that he is happy to have won.

“I’m just really honored that my ward turned out and supported me, and I’m looking forward to continuing the work that I’m doing,” he said.


Voters also approved a ballot question asking if a charter commission shall be established for the purpose of revising the City Charter or establishing a new city charter in a 1,150 to 623 vote.

Greg Bazakas

In the races for charter commission, Bofia defeated Maureen Lynn Ausbrook, 68, an interfaith minister and former history teacher, paralegal and business owner, and Robertson in Ward 2. Bofia received 102 votes to Ausbrook’s 95 and Robertson’s 41.

In Ward 3, Lutie Janet Brown, 19, a history and English student at Colby College, defeated Robert Neal Patterson, 66, a retired senior systems analyst at Colby, for charter commission by a 3-to-1 margin, 156 to 51.

“I’m very excited,” Brown said at the polls. “I’m thankful for all my voters, and I’m excited for all the work that the commissioners will do together.”

In Ward 6, R. Arthur Finch, 35, a data analyst, defeated DePres, 119 to 67; and in Ward 7, Ronald A. Merrill, 74, a retired high school teacher and current area substitute teacher, defeated Robert J. Vear, 61, a former logistics-customer service representative, in a close 75 to 63 vote.

Candidates who ran unopposed and were elected Tuesday: 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.


On the Question 1 bond issue, 1,471 Waterville voters approved the request; 385 opposed it.

On Question 2, the constitutional amendment, 1,477 voters approved it and 368 opposed it.

Election Warden Roland Hallee said 1,866 residents voted in the election, including those who voted by absentee ballot.

“Of 10,000 or so registered voters, that’s about 19 or 20 percent turnout which, for an off- year election, is not bad,” Hallee said.

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