Thirteen candidates – including several political newcomers looking to oust longtime councilors – are running for seven City Council seats in Saco.

Ward 1 Councilor David Precourt is the only incumbent running unopposed this year.


Leslie Smith Jr., who represents Ward 2 and is the longest serving city councilor, faces a challenge from Roger Gay. Smith, 68, was first elected in 1989 and has served a total of 12 two-year terms. Smith is retired from the U.S. Air Force and currently is a drivers’ license exams supervisor for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Smith said he is running for a 13th term because he enjoys civic involvement and wants to control taxes and encourage commercial growth.

“I would also like to extend city water to Boothby Park,” he said. “I would like to make sure that there are sufficient funds for police, fire, ambulance and public works.”


Gay, 57, is a quality control inspector who has been active with the AFL-CIO since 2009. During a previous run for the Ward 2 seat, he lost by 18 votes. He said he is running because his taxes are too high and he wants to see where the money is going. He said he would focus on lowering taxes, cutting unnecessary spending and raising the minimum wage.

“It’s time the people run the city, not the city running the people,” he said.

Roger Gay, Saco City Council, Ward 2ROGER GAY
76 Rocky Hill Road
Age: 57
Occupation: Quality control inspector
Family: Son and daughter
Political experience/civic involvement: Vice chairman of Saco Bay Dems; vice president of the New England Joint Board; Maine state notary; active with AFL-CIO since 2009.


Staff Photo by Gregory Rec, Tuesday, October 30, 2001: Leslie Smith, Saco city council candidate for Ward 2.LESLIE SMITH Jr.
325 Flag Pond Road
Age: 68
Occupation: Retired Air Force; driver’s license exams supervisor for Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Family: Widower; three children and four grandchildren
Political experience/civic involvement: First elected to City Council in 1989




Councilor Thomas Roughan is squaring off against William Doyle. Roughan was appointed to the council in July to serve out the remaining term of Bette Brunswick, who moved from Ward 3 and is now running for mayor.

Roughan, 66, said he wants “to return something of value and benefit to Saco.” He said Saco police and emergency medical technicians saved his life in February when he went into cardiac arrest.

“My debt will never be repaid, but I hope that my actions and decisions as a city councilor will benefit the residents and visitors of Saco, our children, grandchildren and to countless citizens of our future,” he said.

If elected, Roughan said, he will ensure the municipal infrastructure is maintained, stabilize tax rates and work to ensure the city offers the best quality of life.

Doyle, 35, is a labor representative for the National Correctional Employees Union and is making his first foray into politics.


“I’m running … to be a proactive and responsive voice on the Saco City Council,” he said. “Saco is a great place to live and raise a family, and I am committed to supporting those issues that are vital to our continued success.”

Doyle said he wants to build trust in the City Council, ensure tax dollars are collected fairly and spent wisely, and encourage the council to be a leader in making Saco a city that families and seniors can be proud of.

William Doyle, Saco City Council, Ward 3WILLIAM “BILL” DOYLE
Address: 11 Ocean Park Road
Age: 35
Occupation: Labor representative for the National Correctional Employees Union
Family: Single, no children
Political experience/civic involvement: No political experience


Thomas Roughan, Saco City Council, Ward 3THOMAS P. ROUGHAN
7 Truman Ave.
Age: 66
Occupation: Semi-retired financial operations consultant
Family: Married, three adult children and five grandchildren
Political experience/civic involvement: Appointed to City Council in July to serve the remainder of the term




Councilor Kevin Roche is running against Michael Burman, an associate professor at the University of New England, to represent Ward 4.

Roche, a 45-year-old business owner, ran for his first term because he was concerned about rising taxes at a time when 40 percent of Saco students needed help paying for school meals. He says he has seen progress – the city hired City Administrator Kevin Sutherland, taxes have stayed relatively flat for two budget cycles, and the city is marketing itself better, he said.

“So I seek office again to work with this new administrator on new budget strategies, working with other communities, partnering with very motivated city department heads and finally realizing our Bridge2025 vision,” he said. “We are just getting started in changing the direction of the city in the past two years.”

Burman, 36, said he is running for a simple reason: He is committed to Saco.

“The City Council affects our lives deeply,” he said. “The people of Saco deserve hardworking, smart and responsible councilors who will help protect the things that make Saco great, know when our future is worth investing in and move us forward into a bright and dynamic future.”


Burman said he would focus on supporting schools, including making sure that construction of a new school is done right. He also wants to ensure the economic development office attracts new businesses that complement existing ones; and he supports the environment.

Michael Burman, Saco City Council, Ward 4MICHAEL BURMAN
6 Margaret Circle
Age: 36
Occupation: Associate professor at the University of New England
Family: Wife, Margaret; two daughters, ages 7 and 5
Political experience/civic involvement: Michael T. Goulet Foundation board of directors; consultant for DANA Foundation for Brain Research; coordinator of UNE’s K-12 neuroscience outreach program; twice elected to UNE Faculty Senate, where served as co-chairman for the financial affairs committee

204243 Kevin+RocheKEVIN ROCHE

Address: 18 Vines Road
Age: 45
Occupation: Owner of Bellco (made in Maine food equipment manufacturing)
Family: Wife, Michelle; daughter Shannon and son Sean
Political experience/civic involvement: Current Ward 4 city councilor



Eleven-term Ward 5 Councilor Arthur Tardif faces a challenge from political newcomer Alan Minthorn. Tardif was first elected to the council in 1993.


Tardif, 74, said he wants to continue his 25 years of service to the city and complete projects and goals that are already in the works. He said he would “continue my work with the Army Corps of Engineers for the dredging of the Saco Bay and the Saco River, the completion of the Simpson Road Bridge, and also to keep budgets and taxes in line.”

“I would also like to fill both industrial parks with business and industry,” he said.

Minthorn, a 58-year-old insurance company owner, has not held elected office, but has been active with the campaigns of his son, state Rep. Justin Chenette.

He said he wants to help the city achieve a more prosperous future, and help the city lower property taxes, develop a smarter, business-friendly growth strategy, and foster a bustling downtown and thriving industrial parks.

“Saco has so much potential. I dislike the business-as-usual stagnation holding Saco back as our council lacks innovation and creativity in their decision-making at city hall,” he said. “The only way that we will change is with new energy, new approaches and new members of our City Council.”

Alan Minthorn, Saco City Council, Ward 5ALAN MINTHORN
19 Buckthorn Circle
Age: 58
Occupation: Owner, Maine Senior Insurance LLC
Family: Wife, Jennifer; son, Justin Chenette
Political experience/civic involvement: Saco By Center for Civic Engagement Advisory Board; campaign treasurer for state Rep. Justin Chenette, 2012 and 2014; Maine Council on Aging 2015; Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce



Address: 246 Lincoln St.
Age: 74
Occupation: Associate real estate broker for Berkshire Hathaway, Saco; served 26 years as a Saco police officer and 25 years as a bail commissioner for the Maine Court System
Family: Widowed; one son, one daughter and five grandchildren
Political experience/civic involvement: 25 years on Saco City Council; six years on York County Budget Committee representing District 3; Western Maine Board of Umpires, 38 years; Saco umpire and coach, 12 years; IABOO basketball official, 18 years; York County board softball official, 20 years


In Ward 6, longtime Councilor Eric Cote is running against Bryan Courtois, who has not held elected office in Saco.

Cote, a 68-year-old lawyer, served one term on the council in the late 1970s, two terms as mayor from 1981-85 and eight council terms since 1999. He said he wants to continue his time on the council because he enjoys contributing to the community and advocating for causes he believes in.

If elected, Cote said he would focus on maintaining Saco’s high quality of municipal services, reducing energy use and converting to cost-effective renewable energy sources. He said he also wants to pave more streets and fix sidewalks and drainage problems.

“If a street is not properly maintained it will fall apart and it will cost four times more to fix than if it had been properly maintained,” he said. “By far, the most complaints I receive from Saco residents are about streets needing paving.”


Courtois, 51, is a tool-and-die maker and president of Pine Tree Search and Rescue.

“I am not a lawyer nor am I a well-connected politician with years of political networking. I am just a regular blue-collar guy who wants to help our community grow and prosper,” he said. “In talking to people while gathering signatures to be on the ballot, I heard a lot of complaints about how the city government is out of touch with what regular citizens want.”

Courtois said as a councilor he would like to focus on growing business opportunities in the city, including manufacturing, fishing and farming. He would also focus on working with schools to ensure students are learning marketable skills and on expanding the Saco River Walk, Eastern Trail and other local trails.

Eric Cote, Saco City Council, Ward 6ERIC COTE
Address: 260 Beach St.
Age: 68
Occupation: Lawyer
Family: Wife, Rae; son, Ben
Political experience/civic involvement: Saco Planning Board, 10 years; nine terms on City Council; two terms as mayor; U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam; trustee, Wardwell Home; trustee, Maine Pooled Disability Trust


Bryan Courtois, Saco City Council, Ward 6BRYAN COURTOIS
Address: 3 Lawn Ave.
Age: 51
Occupation: Tool and die maker, senior EDM technician at Nichols Portland
Family: Married to Janet Courtois; two sons, Dane and Lance
Political experience/civic involvement: Eagle Scout; past cubmaster and scoutmaster; past committee chairman for Maine chapter of Appalachian Mountain Club; president of Pine Tree Search and Rescue; Maine Wilderness Guides Organization, board of directors; education director of Maine Association of Search and Rescue



Ward 7 Councilor Nathan Johnston, who is finishing his first term, is facing a challenge from Richard LaRue, a UNE professor who has lived in Saco for 17 years.

Johnston, 32, is a lifelong Saco resident and the son of former Mayor Mark Johnston and current school board member Beth Johnston. After growing up with strong connections to the city, he said, he decided to raise his family in Saco because he believes it is the “greatest place to call home.”

“I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, with two children under the age of 3, a small Main Street business, a historic home that has been in the family for 40 years and the recent purchase of another property. I’m fully invested in Saco and want to help shape Saco’s future for current and future generations,” he said.

Johnston said he would use a second term to make city government more efficient, focus on sensible economic development, planning for and maintaining infrastructure, and protecting open rural space.

LaRue, 63, said he wants to be more involved in the city and believes community decisions could benefit from his education and experience. He said he would focus on supporting access to education for people of all ages, addressing public health and supporting public safety.


“My passion for community is grounded in these values: honesty, justice, responsibility, respect and caring,” he said. “My interest in and purpose for serving on the Saco City Council is to join leaders in the community who want to enable and empower Saco to be everything it can be as a community.”

Address: 17 Elm St.
Age: 32
Occupation: Part owner of Up & UP cocktail lounge; property management; served in Marine Corps, 2002-10.
Family: Fiancée, Jessica; daughter Emilee, 2, and son Nathan Jr., 8 months
Political experience/civic involvement: Ward 7 city councilor, 2013-present; Traffic Safety Committee; Saco Energy Committee; Saco River Corridor Commission; School Construction Committee; various veterans groups
Web: Nathan Johnston Saco Councilor Ward 7 on Facebook

Address: 20 North St.
Age: 63
Occupation: Professor and NAS Fellow, Department of Business, College of Arts and Science, University of New England for 18 years; Has taught for 34 years in higher education and served as a YMCA professional director for five years
Family: Single, one son, Michael, 25, and one daughter, Aimee, 29, and her husband, Mark Haley
Political experience/civic involvement: Professional member of SHAPE America since 1986; inducted as fellow of the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance in 2007; elected to serve as the president (2008-10), president-elect (2006-08) and past president (2010-11) of the American Association of Physical Activity and Recreation; in 1998, elected as the AAALF representative to the Board of Governors (two consecutive, three-year terms); six years on panel of reviewers for NASPE-NASSM Sport Management Program Review Council and three years as a board member


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