We endorse Justin Costa for re-election to the Portland City Council, representing District 4, which includes East Deering and Back Cove.

Costa has served one term on the council; before that, he served two terms on the school committee. In both settings, he’s been a proponent of forward-looking programs as well as a master of the details behind the policies.

A graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, Costa currently works as an accountant, which is good formal training for the kind of work council members oversee. But we are most impressed with less formal skills he displays, particularly the importance he places on building relationships with his constituents and with the other elected officials who need to work together for the city to move forward.

When neighbors in his district fought a senior housing development at the former Sisters of Mercy’s Motherhouse on Stevens Avenue, Costa was part of the successful effort to find a compromise. We also saw him as a leader in the successful negotiations that raised the city’s minimum wage and the effort that provided assistance for asylum-seeking immigrants who were at risk of homelessness because of action by the state.

We were also favorably impressed with his opponent, Kim Rich, a community activist with a strong interest in the remediation of the city’s closed landfill, the site of a proposed municipal solar collector array.

But we felt Costa’s track record made him a better choice for both the district and the city. We urge District 4 voters to support Costa.

We endorse Kim Cook for the open District 5 seat on the council, representing the Riverton, Deering and North Deering neighborhoods.

Cook is a land-use attorney and government affairs consultant, with extensive experience in private practice and the nonprofit sector. In addition to her professional experience, Cook would come to the council with a strong record of community service, including time on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Land Bank Commission and the Homeless Shelter Planning Task Force. While working with the Portland Housing Authority, Cook helped draft zoning amendments designed to promote affordable housing in the city. She is uniquely qualified to sit on the council as the city prepares to do a major revision of the zoning code needed to bring it into line with the new comprehensive plan.

Cook has good ideas about how to involve residents in the decision-making process that could defuse some of the complaints people have when they feel that council members are not listening to them. We think the council should consider her suggestion to hold public hearings the way they do in the Legislature, at the beginning of the process, instead of waiting until the night the matter is scheduled for a vote, sending residents a message that their opinions don’t really matter.

Cook is running against strong opposition.

Marpheen Chann-Berry has an inspiring life story. He is the child of a Cambodian refugee and bounced between public housing and foster homes before he was adopted as a teen. He graduated from high school, college and law school, and, at 26, is admirably committed to public service.

Craig Dorais, a patent lawyer, is a creative thinker who has interesting ideas about using rebates to make property taxation progressive.

We think Cook’s breadth of experience and record of service would make her the best choice this year. We urge District 5 voters to support Cook.