I am a resident of Alba Street and owner of Maine Music & Health, LLC, which just received the 2017 Maine SBA Micro-Enterprise of the Year Award. I am writing to encourage voters in Deering Center, North Deering and Riverton to vote for Marpheen Chann to represent District 5 on the Portland City Council.

Recently, I stopped by my neighborhood coffee shop, Black Cat Coffee, and overheard residents talking with Marpheen about affordable housing. As someone who has lived in almost every neighborhood in Portland, I couldn’t help but join.

My family has lived here for generations. I’ve seen many changes, many of them positive, but lately it seems the pendulum is swinging too far. As we develop more and more spaces accessible only to a small group, we lose touch with the people who really live and work here.

Each time I’ve moved in Portland, I enter the race to find an affordable rental. I am fortunate because I can keep moving around – I have a car, a business, and can save for deposits and homeownership. When I think about single-parent families or young professionals who walk or bus to work, I am pained to think about how much harder it is for them to have to look and move outside the city. This kind of empathetic thinking is not that hard to do.

Marpheen is empathetic. Just from observing Marpheen chatting with my neighbors, I could tell he is a genuine human being who cares about our city. His message of a better Portland – a Portland for everyone – resonated with me.

In the future, I hope there’s room for our small businesses amid all the hotel and high-end development in Portland. And if you haven’t been priced out come Election Day, vote Marpheen Chann for Portland City Council, District 5.

Kate Beever