Brian Batson will not seek a second term on the Portland City Council when his term expires this year.

Brian Batson

Batson, a 28-year-old registered nurse, made the announcement Monday night at the City Council meeting by reading a letter to the editor to be published Tuesday in the Press Herald. Batson said serving a three-year term representing District 3 has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.” However, he is putting it aside so he can focus on family, friends, loved ones and a career.

“My career in healthcare has also given me something else I am grateful for – perspective,” Batson said. “I am all too familiar with how short and precious life is. These existential thoughts are given not only to provide you, the reader, the opportunity to reflect upon what is important to you – but also to provide a glimpse into my thought process.”

The move creates an open seat on the nine-member council.

Batson was a political newcomer when he ran in 2016 with no significant experience in any of the city’s neighborhood organizations or civic groups. He had only lived in Portland for year when he challenged three-term incumbent Ed Suslovic. Yet, his door-to-door campaigning helped him unseat Suslovic, with Batson earning about 53 percent of the vote.

Batson served on the council’s Health & Human Services and Public Safety Committee, which has spent months working on a local earned paid sick time ordinance and debating where to place a new homeless shelter. Batson was a lead opponent of the city’s first proposal to build a 200-bed shelter at the city-owned Barron Center on Brighton Avenue, leading to a year-long search for a new location, which appears to be entering its final stages.

And the paid sick leave ordinance was narrowly defeated by the council, with councilors pointing to a statewide earned paid time bill that was recently signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills.

Batson also expressed hope that the residents in District 3, which includes the neighborhoods south of Brighton Avenue and west of St. John Street, will elect someone who is “in it for the right reasons.”

“My hope is that the people of this city will continue to appoint leaders who choose to be in it for the right reasons,” Batson said. “Those who are dedicated, selfless, thoughtful, and apart from ego. I cannot thank Portland enough for believing in me.”

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