WATERVILLE — Mayoral candidates Michael J. Morris, a city councilor, and Matthew S. Boulerice, a member of the city’s Planning Board, will face off Thursday in a debate at Thomas College.

Matthew Boulerice Contributed photo

Morris, a Democrat representing Ward 5, and Boulerice, who is running unenrolled but is a registered Republican, will face questions from moderator James Libby, a professor of business administration at Thomas who holds a doctorate in public policy in higher education. Libby also is former academic dean at Thomas.

The debate, sponsored by the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at Ayotte Auditorium on the Thomas campus. The debate, which is free and open to the public, also will be livestreamed at centralmaine.com.

Boulerice gathered signatures on a petition enabling him to run as an unenrolled candidate. Morris was nominated for the position July 24 at the Democratic city caucus. Republicans did not nominate any candidate for mayor and the current mayor, Jay Coelho, is not seeking reelection after serving in the role for the past three years. The winner will take office in January.

Morris, 50, has held the Ward 5 council seat since 2022. Before that, he represented Ward 1 on the council from 2018 to 2022. He works for Bank of America as a strategy enablement and resource planning analyst and has been president of the Waterville Football Boosters since 2020. He has served on the council chamber search committee, municipal finance committee, recreation committee and Kennebec Regional Development Authority.

Michael Morris Courtesy photo

Boulerice, 33, is the owner of Boulerice Management LLC, which redevelops often distressed and abandoned single-family or multifamily properties and sells or rents them out. He says he has been involved with more than 100 projects since starting the business in 2015.

Boulerice also owns New England Realty Group, a real estate brokerage company. He is a former member of the board for Waterville Habitat for Humanity and a former member of the Waterville Housing Committee.

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