FALMOUTH — Four candidates are running for two, three-year seats on the Falmouth Town Council, and two others are seeking a vacant seat with a two-year term.

Councilor Ned Kitchel is running for re-election, while challengers Hope Cahan, James Chaousis and Amy Kuhn are making their first runs for elected office. Councilor Karen Farber is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election.

Edward “Ted” Asherman and John Lane, both political newcomers, are running to fill a two-year vacancy created when Andy Jones resigned from the Town Council in March.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, at the Falmouth High School gym.

Hope Cahan

Hope Cahan is 46 years old and has two children in Falmouth Middle School. She and her family moved to town from California last June.

She works as an environmental and transportation policy analyst. Cahan said she did not initially intend to run for Town Council this year, but issues surrounding growth management convinced her to join the race.

She said the town’s “major issue is growth management,” adding that “the people are not being heard” by the current councilors. “We need to make sure that growth is in line with what the schools can handle, while maintaining a stable tax base,” Cahan said.

“Any time you have almost 900 people willing to rally together, it may be time to course-correct,” she added, referring to a petition that sought to overturn the creation of new growth districts in town.

To help build the tax base, Cahan said the town should promote commercial development “where appropriate,” because it doesn’t have a negative impact on the schools or emergency services.

Cahan said she would like to do more to protect Falmouth’s open space while also pushing developers to incorporate more sustainable practices during construction, such as requiring a solar component and charging stations for electronic vehicles.

James Chaousis

James Chaousis is 41 years old and moved to Falmouth two years ago. He served for six years in the U.S. Marine Corps and formerly worked as city manager in Rockland and town manager in both Boothbay and Livermore Falls.

In 2015, he was censured by the International City/County Management Association for what Chaousis called an unintentional mix of public and private funds. According to a report in the Bangor Daily News, Chaousis used public money from the town of Boothbay to pay his wife’s and daughter’s cell phone bills.

The censure was issued, the newspaper said, because of “the length of time that the personal expenses were inappropriately paid by Boothbay (and) the fact that Chaousis did not take immediate and affirmative action to resolve the matter when he discovered it.”

He now works for an Auburn-based company that sells and services forklifts. Since moving to Falmouth, Chaousis has been appointed to the Long-Range Planning Committee.

Chaousis called the growth management and density issues being discussed in town “superficial,” but also said they are the reasons he’s running.

“I think we can communicate in a way that puts things in perspective,” Chaousis said, while focusing more deeply on how decisions are made and how to involve the public.

Chaousis said he’s “a budget hawk” and “will focus on every line item,” but also said he wants Falmouth to be a community that “offers the best public services in the state. I want to be part of a council that stays sharp and focuses on the basics, like good roads, schools and public safety.”

Ned Kitchel is 73 years old, retired and a U.S. Army veteran. He worked at L.L. Bean and was also president of a company called Quaker Marine Supply.

Ned Kitchel

He is chairman of the town’s Finance Committee and vice chairman of the Town Council. He served on the council from 1997-2003 and was elected to his current term in 2015.

Kitchel also has a history of service with Cumberland County government, where he served on the Budget Advisory Committee and most recently was chairman of the Board of Assessment Review.

Kitchel said growth management is a major issue facing the town. He said he would like to see more commercial development, as long as it’s “tasteful,” and would like to get the Route 100 revitalization project underway.

He supports the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget and credits the school department with presenting “a very tight budget that left a lot on the table.”

If re-elected, Kitchel said he would like to focus on reviving a stalled proposal for a community center with a pool.

He said voters should choose him because “I have considerable institutional knowledge and I’m level-headed, patient, a good listener and a fiscal conservative. I (also) enjoy working collaboratively with people for good outcomes.”

Amy Kuhn is 52 years old and moved to town with her family in 2004.

Amy Kuhn

Kuhn, a lawyer, has worked in the nonprofit arena for most of her career, including for organizations that focus on the arts, social justice and education. She is the community engagement manager at the ACLU of Maine.

Kuhn has volunteered in the town’s schools and for sports booster clubs and the Falmouth Food Pantry. She was president of the Falmouth Memorial Library board until 2015, and helped create the library renovation and addition project.

Kuhn also said managing growth is the biggest issue facing the town and Falmouth must be careful to “balance the social and economic benefits growth brings with maintaining its character and values.” She said any large development project should be examined on “a case-by-case basis, with a close attention to detail and the opportunity for a lot of public input.”

Another critical issue, Kuhn said, would be maintaining the excellence of the school system in light of declining funding, particularly from the state. Her solution would be to expand the tax base through “responsible and thoughtful development,” while trying to “keep taxes as low as possible.”

Edward “Ted” Asherman, 70, is a lifelong resident of Falmouth, a U.S. Air Force veteran and a retired CPA and business consultant who was a principal at BerryDunn in Portland.

He is chairman of the town’s Land Management and Acquisitions Committee and treasurer of the Falmouth Land Trust.

Asherman believes his background in finance gives him an edge and said if elected to the Town Council he would, “maintain the outstanding quality of our schools, keep our taxes low, encourage economic development and steward our environment.”

He said the biggest issues facing Falmouth include maintaining the school system in the face of continual cuts in state aid to education and ensuring the town continues its commitment to “open space, trails and protecting the environment.”

In terms of a recent petition that sought to overturn the creation of growth districts on the east and west ends of town, which town attorneys decided was invalid, Asherman said, “without a doubt, Falmouth’s most significant challenge is managing growth.”

That said, he added, “The concept of focusing growth (in certain areas of town) makes sense as it reduces infrastructure investment and operating costs. Further, it encourages a connected community and minimizes environmental impacts.”

John Lane, 44, arrived in town about 10 years ago and teaches science at South Portland High School.

He is a U.S. Navy veteran and vice president of the teachers union in South Portland. Lane is also a volunteer coach with a program that introduces young children to running.

Lane said he is worried the Town Council “has lost its way in hearing what people want for the community.”

“I’m not opposed to growth,” Lane said, “(but) it has to be done in a way that benefits the community as a whole. And not asking intelligent questions about the impact (is problematic).”

Lane noted his son will be a freshman at the high school next year and there’s not enough room for everyone to eat lunch in the cafeteria.

If elected to the council, Lane said he would “keep supporting the schools,” which he called “fantastic” and would also “continue the town’s commitment to open space and conservation.”

Speaking about creation of growth districts, which were approved in 2016, and the recent petition to overturn them, Lane said, “I’m not necessarily opposed to growth zones, if they’re properly planned and they’re designated in appropriate areas.” But in this case, he said, “there’s been a betrayal of trust.”

Kate Irish Collins can be contact at 710-2336 or at:

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Twitter: @KIrishCollins

Read this story in The Forecaster.