May 28, 2012

Election 2012: Four hopefuls vying for two open seats in Falmouth

Two of the Town Council candidates have experience in municipal government and two are political newcomers.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Four candidates -- two with municipal government experience and two without - are running for two open seats on the Falmouth Town Council in the June 12 election.

Russell Anderson, a semi-retired business consultant, and Sean Mahoney, a lawyer with the Conservation Law Fund in Portland, are political newcomers.

Bryan Dench, a law partner at Skelton, Taintor & Abbott in Auburn, and Karen Farber, a non-attorney advocate at the Disability Rights Center in Augusta, have experience in town politics.

Anderson, 60, was a senior executive at Unum for 10 years before heading the Maine chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for five years. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from Middlebury College and is married with three grown children.

Anderson said he's seeking public office now because he has the "time, energy and talents to serve the community effectively." He said the council should be cautious with taxpayers' money and diligent in setting priorities, including quality schools and core services such as police and public works.

Town government should respect individual property rights and be business-friendly, Anderson said. The OceanView retirement community should be given "flexibility" in developing the former elementary school complex on Lunt Road, he said, and the town should use any profit from the development to help pay for the new Falmouth Elementary School.

Mahoney, 48, graduated from Bowdoin College and the University of Virginia School of Law. He spent three years in the Peace Corps promoting small-business development in Sri Lanka. He's married and has three children attending town schools.

Mahoney previously worked at the Verrill Dana law firm in Portland for a decade. He's former president of the Falmouth Land Trust and former board chairman of GrowSmart Maine. Mahoney said he's seeking public office for the first time because he believes "Falmouth is at a critical juncture."

The town must carefully manage its current assets, Mahoney said, including tax dollars, open space, and the commercial corridors along Route 1 and Route 100.

Mahoney said he supports a strong public-private partnership with OceanView to ensure maximum community benefit.

Dench, 63, graduated from Harvard University and the University of Maine School of Law. His practice specializes in small business and government affairs, including recent investigations of Portland school finances and sewer billing practices.

Before moving to Falmouth, Dench was chairman of appeals boards in Lewiston and Auburn, and town meeting moderator in Poland, where he also served on town budget, school building and other ad-hoc committees. He's married and has five children and one grandchild.

"I want to be part of keeping Falmouth on an even keel going forward," Dench said. The council should be respectful of everybody, careful with town finances, supportive of schools and core public services and good stewards of all public resources, he said.

Farber, 55, has a bachelor's degree in religious studies from Boston University and is a former freelance writer, editor and software engineer. She's married with two grown children and served two terms on the Falmouth School Board, ending in June 2011.

"I offer balance and consensus-building, which is important to any organization," Farber said. "I think the public process is incredibly valuable. I'm not running because I have an agenda to fix something that's broken. I think the town is in really great shape."

Farber said she supports a public-private partnership with OceanView and believes the council should at least consider establishing a full-fledged community center at the former school complex.

Other issues that deserve attention include open-space management and Route 1 development, she said.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

 

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