Old Town City Council candidate profiles

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Name: Linda McLeod

Work history: For the past 27 years I have been at Indian Inland School in various positions. Currently, I am the principal at the school.

Political experience: My first political experience was being appointed to Old Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals for two terms. I was elected and served two terms on the Old Town School Board (1992- 1998); Old Town City Council 1999-2008 and I am completing my present 2011-2014 term.

Community/state/civic organization experience: I am a member of the Maine Principals’ Association, National Association of Elementary School Principals, International Society of Technology in Education, and Maine Municipal Association.

Why are you running? I am running again because I want to be involved in Old Town’s Comprehensive Plan review and update. We need to keep taxes reasonable for the citizens of Old Town, especially for people who are on fixed incomes.

What do you see as the current issues for the city, and how would you address them? I see several issues that I would work on if I am elected to the Council. One current issue for the City is Economic Development. The city owns a large parcel of land (Old Town Canoe site) and it must be redeveloped. The city now has an opportunity to bring additional revenue and businesses to our City’s downtown area. We need new businesses; this could lower the city’s tax burden on its citizens. One other issue is the mill closure, again. The city has to work with all parties to help ensure the possible sale is a success. Finally, the city has to continue to find ways to reach out and coordinate with area communities to share city services.

Name: Stanley Peterson

Work history: Teacher at Old Town High School since 1972

Political experience: Selectman in Bradley for six years and councilor on the Old Town City Council the last three years

Community/state/civic organization experience: Member and past president of the Old Town Rotary Club

Why are you running? I consider myself to be a fiscal conservative and I believe that this is what the city needs in these trying times.

What do you see as the current issues for the city, and how would you address them? I feel that the budget has gone quite well over the last three years and I would like to see it continue that trend. As I see it, there are two major issues coming before the council in the short term. The first one has the potential to be a major one. The status of the mill in town is still in limbo. If it closes, the town needs to respond quickly and decisively. The second issue is the closing of the transfer station CDD landfill. There are decisions to be made here that can impact the city financially for 30 years or more.

Name: Eric “EJ” Roach

Work history: I have worked at the University of Maine since 2000. I currently work as the Director of Campus Activities and Student Engagement. I have held my current position since 2010.

Political experience: I currently serve on the Old Town City Council. I was elected to the council in December of 2013. I serve on the Public Services Committee, the Economic Development Committee, Chair of the Special Committee on Vacant and Dilapidated properties, and am the Council Liaison to the Old Town Economic Development LLC.

Community/state/civic organization experience: I am a member of the Maine Municipal Association. This past year I served as a volunteer on the Old Town Riverfest Committee.

Why are you running? I am running again because I want to remain involved in helping the city grow and develop. My one year on the council has allowed me an opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge of the city, its finances, and the great people that live and work in our community. I believe my forward thinking and ability to collaborate to solve problems and create solutions is a great asset for the council.

What do you see as the current issues for the city, and how would you address them? Like many other communities across the state we are facing increased costs for energy, healthcare, and education. We need to find a balance of keeping property taxes affordable while maintaining the many excellent services that define our community. My plan over the next three years is to develop, along with city employees, a three-to-five year strategic plan that allows the city to identify strategic priorities and allow the council and city leaders to make informed decisions that maintain our positive and forward momentum. I believe that Old Town is taking proactive steps to diversify its tax base, increase business and employment opportunities, and revitalize key areas of the city. I plan on continuing my work with the Old Town Economic Development, LLC and the Downtown Revitalization Committee if elected to a new term.

Name: Russel (Russ) Sossong

Work history:
My work has led me to many places and is wide and varied.  The earlier years consisted of working in the construction industries, after college adjusting to manufacturing and then to advanced technology development engineering. Many years in manufacturing here and abroad I have a good understanding of the needs of manufacturing.  I own and operate an engineering consulting firm with a mission of offering leading edge technology at prices the average person can afford.

Political experience: My political experience is limited to being a member of the Old Town Planning Board and The Economic Development LLC.

Community/state/civic organization experience: I have donated many hours of time and monies to countless organizations and currently a member of Old Town-Orono Kiwanis.

Why are you running? Growing up here in Old Town then venturing around the globe my wife and I decided we would come back and raise our children here.  A father of two incredible children who attend the Leonard Middle School and Old Town High School I believe the community and people are the nicest encountered anywhere else in the world. As a community we need to become involved and acquire knowledge about the municipality we live in. I am running to help the average citizens of Old Town. Speaking with young people in the last few years that are looking for houses I ask the same question, “Have you looked in Old Town”? The reply is always the same – “We cannot afford to live here”. Many young people who want to live in Old Town have realized it is a community out of reach. Old Town is a wonderful community but our young cannot afford to locate and settle here.

What do you see as the current issues for the city, and how would you address them? All communities have issues and Old Town has its fair share, the mill closing, decreased revenue, and many abandoned or foreclosed on properties. I believe the answer to any issue is asking the right questions and searching for the core issue. Facing the truth of any issue and taking the appropriate steps is critical, not constructing our children’s future on emotional decisions but on facts and honest assessments.