AUGUSTA — The race to be Augusta’s next mayor pits current At-Large City Councilor Marci Alexander against Mark O’Brien, a former longtime city councilor himself and a former member and chairman of the Augusta Board of Education.

They seek to replace current Mayor David Rollins, who was elected in 2014 and decided not to seek reelection.

Alexander, who would be the city’s first female mayor, said her ability to see the interconnectivity of multiple issues and embrace positive changes make her the right choice to lead Augusta as it continues to improve.

O’Brien said he has the right combination of experience, institutional knowledge, commitment and temperament to lead the city at a pivotal time.

O’Brien, 62, an attorney for the U.S. Small Business Administration, graduated from Cony High School, the University of Maine and University of Maine School of Law. He served on the Augusta Board of Education from 1989 to 2000 including as chairman from 1993 to 2000; on the City Council from 2001 to 2003, 2006 to 2014, and 2017 to 2019; and as interim mayor in 2014.

He said he’s running to help Augusta grow and thrive. Augusta has been good to him and his family, and serving as mayor is a way he can give back.


“I am committed to Augusta and its well-being,” he said. “I am a lifelong resident of Augusta and have had a variety of experiences in local government. I am patient, a good listener, and work well with others. I have the right skills and temperment for the job. My motivation is to help make the best decisions we can for Augusta’s future.”

Marci Alexander

Alexander, 52, an attorney working as general counsel, chief privacy officer and chief risk officer for MaineGeneral, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Maine and also finished her law degree at the University of Maine School of Law. She is currently wrapping up her second term as an at-large city councilor.

She said she’s running to help make Augusta better so her, and others’, kids will want to live there and because she has the ability to see the interconnectedness of issues and can help push issues forward and make changes.

“Getting on the council, I realized I have the ability to see the interconnectedness of these issues, and as a lawyer can work toward consensus and I could make real change, the kind of change that would end up benefiting my kids,” she said. “I can see the bigger picture and I’m not constrained by preconceived notions.”

Alexander said issues such as the location of the new Augusta Police Department close to downtown and near areas of the city which could use revitalization, and two-way traffic in the previously one-way downtown section of Water Street are connected to the liveability of the city which is connected to the ability to grow the economy. But that requires workers to fill out the labor force, and that, in turn, requires housing which Augusta is currently lacking.

She said steps taken to help address the shortage of housing since she’s been a city councilor have included a property maintenance ordinance which she said helps protect property values and keep housing in better shape, a tax increment financing deal with the private developer of a proposed large housing complex near the Marketplace at Augusta and cooperation with developers using historic tax credits to help them finance housing projects.


She suggested, to continue improving and expanding the supply of housing in Augusta, that the city should treat developers as customers and help them leverage resources to bring more housing to the city.

She said housing is a priority because without it, it will be harder for the city to attract workers to live in Augusta and without workers, it will be harder to attract businesses and spur economic development.

O’Brien said the many significant issues facing the city include the transition to a new city manager after longtime manager William Bridgeo retired, the construction of the new police station, the acute need for more housing, and, one issue he said is a constant challenge, providing city services that citizens want and need while keeping taxes in check.

Mark O’Brien Contributed photo

He said his experience in local government and civic organizations and ties to the community make him well-suited to help the new manager transition into Augusta as smoothly as possible. He said he’d address other issues facing the city by working with the City Council and other public and private entities and individuals in a collaborative way to find solutions.

Ways to make Augusta better, O’Brien said, could include the redevelopment of the city-owned Kennebec Lockes and the privately-owned Kennebec Arsenal properties; the continued revitalization of downtown, including the Colonial Theater and north end of downtown; increased utilization of the Kennebec River; more and better jobs; new and rehabilitated housing; and more activities and attractions for young people, families and visitors.

“If you vote for me you will be voting for someone who has Augusta’s best interests in mind, someone who is committed to his hometown, and someone who can hit the ground running,” O’Brien said. “You will be voting for someone who treats people with respect and acts with civility. A vote for me would be a vote of confidence in Augusta’s future.”

Alexander said ways to make Augusta better could include improving safety on Bangor Street, finding out why some businesses are closing on Western Avenue, revitalizing the Sand Hill area, improving housing, encouraging the development of Kennebec Lockes, supporting the construction of a new Hussey Elementary School, and encouraging economic development.

“I think the city has done a great job, but if you’re at a standstill, you’re falling behind. You’ve always got to be moving forward,” Alexander said. “I think the average person would vote for me because I am super optimistic, constantly seeking improvement and I get things done.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.