I’ve known Ethan Strimling since we were housemates at the University of Maine in 1990.

Besides being an excellent table tennis player (the table was in our basement), he made a mean cup of coffee, which he brewed for the house every morning (true story) and was kind and loving to my beloved dog, Grizzly. My dog was fond of him as well: a testament to Ethan’s good character.

When I first met Ethan, I immediately saw his passion to help those in need and work hard to effect positive change.

We volunteered together for the Maine Peace Action Committee where we demonstrated against apartheid in South Africa; fasted in solidarity with Haitian refugees on Guantanamo; protested the war in Iraq; spoke out for change in university policies that allowed organizations on campus that discriminated against gay and lesbian students; and hosted films and speakers to shed light on issues on campus and the world around us.

I also saw him work with kids in public schools across Maine, helping them have a voice in the school reform process. I expect this work is what ultimately led him to LearningWorks and the vital work he does there with at-risk youth.

For as long as I have known him, Ethan’s heart, mind and energy have been focused on bringing people together to help others. He works tirelessly toward this end and always has. For this reason I am voting for him for mayor of Portland this fall, and I hope you will as well.

Barbara A. Fiore