Native Cape Elizabeth resident Penny Jordan said now that she has won a seat on the Town Council, she wants to get to work immediately dealing with the town’s pending budget shortfall.

Jordan defeated Jim Walsh 569-400 in a special election Jan. 27 to fill an unexpired term that runs until Dec. 13, 2010. The election drew only 12 percent of registered Cape voters, said Town Clerk Deb Lane.

It’s Jordan’s first elected position.

Winning “was probably one of the happiest moments of my life because I get to do something that’s I’ve always wanted to do,” Jordan said.

Jordan follows in the footsteps of her father, Bill Jordan, who served in various Cape government capacities for 30 years.

That, said Walsh, was difficult to overcome in this election.

“I am very happy for Penny and know she will do a good job,” Walsh said, “but I was fighting an uphill battle because I was running against a legacy.”

Jordan and Walsh vied for the seat that Mary Ann Lynch vacated last year.

Lynch was council chairwoman until she took a job in October as director of information for the state judiciary. The judiciary’s code of ethics prohibited her from holding elected office.

Jordan has already gotten to work, conferring with Town Manager Michael McGovern about the upcoming budget in which the town stands to lose about $500,000.

“I think it’s going to be a challenging year, probably a challenging couple of years,” Jordan said. “We need to look at this in a way, however, that from challenges come opportunities, because it forces you to think differently than it has in the past. That’s what I see as an opportunity.”

She said she wants to also focus on attracting more businesses to the town.

“I know this isn’t the popular stand, but I believe that we need to be business-friendly and figure out a way to bring another revenue stream into Cape Elizabeth,” she said.

Both Jordan and Walsh said they were surprised by the low voter turnout, but Walsh said he was also a little perturbed.

“I think we should’ve gotten more people out, especially with the budget problems we’ll be having in the coming year,” Walsh said. “But it was a special election.”

Jordan, 55, is married to David Cox and works at Jordan Farms. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in business administration and social work and later received a master’s degree from Boston University in social work.

She is also a graduate of Cape Elizabeth schools.

Penny JordanCape Elizabeth resident Sandi Dunham emerges from the voting booth during Cape Elizabeth’s special election to elect a new town councilor to Mary Ann Lynch’s seat. Penny Jordan won the nod.(woman looking at list)

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