Freeport Town Councilor Leland Arris Jr. is running for the council’s open at-large seat, and facing a challenge from first-time candidate Tawni Whitney.

The at-large seat is being vacated by Councilor Melanie Sachs, who announced in July that she wouldn’t seek re-election after two terms.

Running uncontested to fill Arris’ District 4 seat, which represents northwestern Freeport, is Henry “Chip” Lawrence, 53, of Hunter Road.

Polls will be open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Freeport High School gymnasium.

Arris is a 67-year-old former teacher and general manager of the Freeport Sewer District and said he brings a unique and “under-represented” perspective to the council as an older resident with deep roots in the community.

Arris said the town is seeing an economic shift because “brick-and-mortar retail is in decline.” To stay ahead, Arris said, the town should “include more housing, small businesses and offices for a more diverse group of economic entities.”

Arris said he’d like to see the council spend less time and money being “pressured” by complaints from small groups in the community, noting on-going litigation regarding the Island Rover.

“It’s cost us thousands of dollars to get advice that hasn’t really helped,” Arris said. “To solve it from my perspective means to let it play itself out with the people involved and have the council step back.”

Whitney, 42, provides in-home support for seniors. She said the work she’s done with the Neighbor Brigade, which she brought to Freeport in 2016 to support residents facing crisis, has made her want to become more involved and to broaden her efforts help seniors age in place.

“We’re learning a lot about what (other towns are doing to help residents age in place), and how we can make that happen here,” she said, such as assisting older residents with transportation and socialization.

She said she also wants to help keep the downtown viable, be financially creative and conservative with taxpayers’ money and try to find ways to address the browntail moth infestation.

Given an increase in online shopping and a decline in brick-and-mortar retail, Whitney said, it’s important to promote economic development by tapping into the right industries, such as organics.

“We could have more unique businesses and local talents.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or:

[email protected]

Twitter @JocelynVanSaun

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