March 4, 2010

New mayor elected in Westbrook

— From staff reports

click image to enlarge

John Patriquin /Staff Photographer; Tuesday, Nov..3,2009. Voting at Wards 2,3 4 at the armory in Westbrook was steady all morning.

Westbrook residents narrowly elected Colleen Hilton as the city's new mayor Tuesday.

As of 10 p.m., unofficial results showed Hilton won 95 more votes than Bruce Chuluda, who has held the city's top post for six years. Hilton received 3,431 votes to Chuluda's 3,336.

Hilton held a celebration gathering with supporters Tuesday night at Mr. Bagel on Main Street, where she has met with her campaign team every Saturday morning.

''We've been at this in earnest since August, and have been working hard ever since,'' Hilton said. ''Boy, it's been a roller-coaster. I'm really excited. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get in there and make a difference.''

Chuluda could not be reached for comment.

For the council races, whether to support the proposed rezoning of the Five Star Industrial Park from heavy industry to light manufacturing has dominated the debate.

Democrat Victor Chau won the Ward 2 seat over Republican challenger David Tapley. Both are political newcomers who support rezoning the park. Chau received 667 votes and Tapley got 568.

In Ward 4, Councilor Dorothy Aube beat Republican James Tranchemontagne, 638 votes to 427.

Aube said during the campaign that the city would benefit from attracting technology-based business, and that she was leaning toward approving the zoning change as a way to do that.

Councilor Suzanne Joyce will continue to represent residents in Ward 5. Joyce received 1,239 votes to defeat Republican challenger Alexander Juniewicz, a former councilor who received 662 votes.

Joyce has represented Ward 5 for more than six years. She has said she remained uncommitted on the rezoning issue, and noted that both Pike and Idexx are important businesses in the city. She said she would focus on keeping taxes down and attracting new revenue sources.

Incumbents Michael Foley, a Democrat, and John O'Hara, a Republican, retained their at-large seats against Democrat Michael Lawson, a political newcomer.

Foley received 3,798 votes. He said he would work to keep taxes low, maintain services that residents expect and deserve, and boost the downtown with new businesses. He also said he would encourage residents to live in or near the downtown to help revitalize the area.

O'Hara, who got 3,275 votes, also supports efforts to improve the downtown.

He also said he would work to establish a recreation area for residents of Ward 5 on the outskirts of town.

Lawson received 2,500 votes.

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