October 28, 2011

Chris Vail: An ‘Average Joe,’ wary of politicians

The anti-establishment firefighter says too many candidates will promise things and fail to deliver.

By Jason Singer jsinger@pressherald.com
Assistant City Editor / Online

(Continued from page 1)

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Chris Vail

CHRIS VAIL

PARTY AFFILIATION: Unenrolled

AGE: 40

ADDRESS: 1119 Washington Ave.

PERSONAL: Married to Sherrin Vail. Son, Finnegan, 1

EDUCATION: Associate degree in fire science, Southern Maine Community College

OCCUPATION: Portland firefighter

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None

WEBSITE: www.vailformayor.com

TOP PRIORITIES

Better customer service from the city, including improved listening to the neighborhoods and residents

More accountability at City Hall from department heads and the mayor

More proactive problem-solving, especially on the issue of homelessness

JOIN THECONVERSATION

CHRIS VAIL will answer questions from Press Herald readers during an hour-long live chat starting at noon today. Go to www.pressherald. com to participate.

Vail has had some success in debates. During one at the State Theatre, he proposed a tiered system for last call at bars, instead of every establishment letting out at 1 a.m.

Those crowds create a safety issue for police and firefighters, he said.

His recommendation drew applause from the audience and some of his opponents. “Our government needs to use more common sense,” he said.

In front of the same artist-heavy crowd, the moderator asked the candidates, “Should public money be spent to build live/work space for artists in Portland?”

All of the candidates wrote “yes” on their answer cards, except for Vail. “You’re a bold man,” the moderator told Vail.

But to loud cheers, Vail said taxpayers can’t handle any more burdens and that the private sector must find a way to fund such projects. “That well isn’t running dry,” he said, “it’s already dry.”

Doug Hall, one of Brennan’s longtime friends and supporters, said Vail doesn’t bring the “political baggage” and “ties” that other candidates have. He’s also “more grounded,” and knows where the system works and doesn’t work because he works for the city.

“He’s a great guy, a likeable guy, diplomatic, but he sees through the bull,” Hall said.

“If we hire Chris Vail, we’re hiring someone from within, and for all the right reasons.”

Staff Writer Jason Singer can be contacted at 791-6437 or at:

jsinger@pressherald.com

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