A longtime councilor and four candidates with no experience in elected office will compete for three seats on the Gorham Town Council on Nov. 5.
Matthew Robinson will seek another three-year term, while the others are hoping to get their first chance to serve on the council.
Forrest Genthner, an 18-year-old college student, said he brings “excitement and eagerness to the table.”
Benjamin Hartwell, a farmer, said he’s the best candidate to represent the rural part of town.
James Means, a retired real estate investor, wants to restore civility and respect on the council.
Bruce Roullard, an active alumnus of the University of Southern Maine, would be excited to work on partnerships between the college and the town, he said.
Robinson, 46, has been on the council for 12 years and said he has a proven record of making tough decisions. Robinson said he spends tax dollars wisely, doesn’t support studies and research that waste time and money, and doesn’t let his personal beliefs interfere with how he votes.
Robinson said he represents the whole town.
“Councilors need to realize there is more to Gorham than their own neighborhood,” he said.
Hartwell, however, wants to see councilors focus more on the issues that affect their neighborhoods.
He said he would advocate to change the town’s charter so that councilors represent the districts where they live rather than the town as a whole.
“It is my belief that the fewer people you represent, the more effectively you represent them,” he said.
Hartwell, 33, believes the worst is yet to come in terms of economic challenges and wants to make sure “we have our fiscal house in order.”
Means, 64, believes the town needs to take a new approach toward tackling financial difficulties. If elected, he would try to capitalize on Gorham’s demographics and the presence of the University of Southern Maine to create growth in town.
Means says taxpayers should direct the vision for the town and said he has the experience and leadership skills to make it a reality.
Roullard, 51, says the town needs to come up with a new master plan. Given the growing population, officials need to update their plan for addressing infrastructure, school and commercial development needs, he said.
As a councilor, he would want to make it “easier for business to do business,” he said.
Genthner, a recent Gorham High School graduate and student at Saint Joseph’s College, said he cares deeply about the town and wants “to do everything in my power to help it.”
As a lifelong resident, he believes he knows best how to do that.
If elected, Genthner said, he would focus on reducing the town’s debt, reducing the taxpayer burden and reinvesting in the town’s future.
“This will help Gorham succeed,” he said.
Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: