HALLOWELL — Hallowell residents are a month away from voting in two contested races in the municipal election: mayor and a seat on the City Council.

Mayor George Lapointe, 66, is seeking reelection. Lapointe, who has been on the City Council for nine years and was elected mayor in 2020, is set to face Councilor Maureen AuCoin in a race for mayor.

“I like being mayor. I like walking to the post office or downtown and people stop me and tell me what they want and need and what to do,” Lapointe said.

With a candidate forum approaching Thursday and absentee ballots for the Nov. 7 election now available, Lapointe has been busy using social media and knocking on doors to campaign and explain his priorities.

“In the last three years, we got through COVID, and our downtown is once again vibrant, but it’s important to realize things are changing and we need to maintain that vibrancy,” said Lapointe, who works as a marine fisheries and environmental consultant.

Hiring a grant writer to arrange funding for the $5 million renovation of the old fire station on Second Street is another of Lapointe’s priority. He said he also wants to focus on improving the regional relationships with neighboring towns and cities to continue sharing resources and costs.


Mayor George Lapointe during the Hallowell United Rally in September at Granite City Park. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Having chaired the working group that produced the recent land care management ordinance that banned pesticides, Lapointe said he is looking to contribute more to the city’s environmental sustainability.

Lapointe said his plans include revitalizing the waterfront and making it more adaptable to changing climate and the increasing risk of flooding.

“Paying attention to the environmental issues and locations is important,” he said. “The integrity of the town reservoir area, for example, where we successfully negotiated with the Maine National Guard to have an inholding, to have patrol and ecological integrity for that area.”

AuCoin, 52, will attempt for a second time to win the mayor’s seat, after losing the election in 2020 by two votes.

“I am running for mayor because Hallowell needs someone that can bring forward new initiatives to solve our high tax burden, create more housing opportunities, solidify plans for our historic buildings,” said AuCoin, a housing quality inspector for MaineHousing.

Bruce Mayo, left, hugs City Councilor Maureen AuCoin at the Hallowell United Rally in September at Granite City Park. AuCoin is running for mayor against incumbent George Lapointe. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AuCoin was first elected to a municipal office in 2015 to serve on the Hallowell Charter Commission. Since then, she has been elected to the City Council for three terms and served as the council president for the past three years.


“One of my other priorities is hiring an economic development director and creating new revenue sources to alleviate Hallowell’s high tax burden,” AuCoin said. “The city needs someone who understands (tax increment financing), works directly with businesses, can use our municipal funds and will pursue grant opportunities.”

AuCoin said she is focused on renovating the old fire station and ensuring it continues to house the Hallowell Food Pantry. Her other priorities include improving collaboration with neighboring communities for municipal services, promoting the Kennebec Corridor as a destination and expanding the availability of rental housing in the city.

A seat on the City Council is also being contested.

Hallowell City Councilor Michael Frett, photographed in January 2021, is running for reelection to the Ward 2 seat he has held since 2016. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Michael Frett, 80, is seeking reelection to the Ward 2 seat he has held since 2016. Frett, a retired lawyer, said stimulating business and employment opportunities is high on his priority list.

“We know that there are several vacancies downtown,” he said, “and as the city government, we need to be looking to work with partners and businesses for feedback and next steps.”

Frett said he has been working with the Maine Department of Transportation to redevelop Second Street and connect it to Augusta.


Ward 2 covers part of the city’s downtown area, including areas northeast of Second Street, starting at Chestnut Street, and a portion of Water Street, north of Central Street.

As a former prosecutor, Frett said he brings a valuable legal perspective to the City Council. He also serves on the finance, property and transportation committees, working on numerous projects around the city, including the development of Granite City Park and the boardwalk.

“I can evaluate ideas and take apart the salient features,” he said. “What I am fundamentally ready to do is listen to ideas and find a consensus on what is the best approach to take.”

Hannah Barry is challenging Frett for the Ward 2 seat. Barry, who uses they/them pronouns, said being involved in the decision-making process for Hallowell is what drove them to run in this election.

“This is my first time running for any office, and I am feeling really good,” said Barry, who is also a leader of the Hallowell Pride Alliance. “I have been utilizing local leaders for advice and businesses to help with the logistics. I am also getting ready to go door-to-door in the coming days.”

Barry is employing a hands-on approach to campaigning, writing 300 postcards and sending them to voters. In the postcards, Barry is detailing who they are and what they aim to do, if elected.


“Our downtown has to be more sustainable, and our reliance on high property taxes needs to be looked at — and I know there are ways to do that,” Barry said. “But at the same time, I am basing my platform on being an approachable resident first. I want people to tell me what they want me to do. I will be working for them, if elected, after all.”

Hannah Barry is challenging incumbent Michael Frett for the Ward 2 City Council seat in Hallowell. Contributed photo

Barry, 32, is a renter in Hallowell and wants to address the issue of housing becoming “rapidly unaffordable.” They work as a freelance writer, doing book reviews and copy editing.

Acknowledging their opponent’s experience in municipal dealings, Barry said they bring a fresh perspective to the table.

“Michael Frett is a great guy,” Barry said. “I have learned a lot from watching him, but I feel the council needs a fresh perspective that I feel is not being represented on the council right now.”

Danielle Obery and Chris Myers Asch are running unopposed for the Ward 4 council seat and Regional School Unit 2 board, respectively.

The candidates are scheduled to gather for a forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Hallowell City Hall at 1 Winthrop St., during which they are to deliver speeches and answer questions.

State Rep. Raegan F. LaRochelle, a former Augusta city councilor, is expected to serve as the moderator.

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