AUGUSTA — Newly elected officials took their oaths of office Thursday night, pledging to work to bring the community together as it begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Amanda Olson, a former at-large school board member who was elected as its new chairperson Nov. 3, said she looks forward to getting to work to improve the school system she and her husband attended and their children attend now.

“I look forward to bringing together our board, educators and community in a positive way to build on our many successes, celebrate our strengths and spark a future of growth and new ideas that will put us on the map as a leader in innovation and a destination for education,” Olson said.

Olson and other members took their oaths in pre-recorded individual sessions, with the combined recording played at Thursday night’s Augusta City Council meeting that was held over Zoom, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

After taking his oath of office, reelected Ward 4 Councilor Eric Lind said the city will get through the pandemic if its residents and officials remain resilient. He referenced inspirational late Cony track coach Taylor Harmon in urging residents to be strong as the pandemic hopefully wanes as more people continue to be vaccinated.

“Taylor would yell at the end of a race ‘Strong to the finish!’ and that’s what we need to be,” Lind said. “The end is in sight. Now is not the time for us to let down our guard. We need to be resilient and continue to be tough. When this pandemic is over we need to be prepared to heal and move forward. And we will.”

Newly elected At-Large Councilor Courtney Allen took the oath for the first time and thanked residents for entrusting her with the seat, especially in today’s difficult times.

Reelected Ward 1 Councilor Linda Conti also took the oath of office, noting it will be her third and final term, and encouraging other Ward 1 residents who may be interested in running for the spot in three years to contact her.

Kim Martin, a former chairperson of the school board, was sworn in, now as an at-large member of the board, as was newly elected Martha “Muffy” Witham, who was elected to Ward 2.

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