GORHAM — Seven candidates are seeking three available Town Council seats and three others are running for two expiring School Committee terms, Town Clerk Laurie Nordfors reported this week.

A legal issue could arise if a School Department employee, who is on the ballot, is elected to the council and not allowed to serve.

The deadline for candidates to file nomination papers was Sept. 6.

Town Council Chairman Benjamin Hartwell and other incumbents James Hager and Paul Smith are being challenged by Tyler Gowen, Richard Davis Jr., Daniel Nichols and Janet Kuech.

For the School Committee, the three candidates are current Vice Chairman Stewart McCallister, Philip Gagnon and James Brockman. Kyle Currier, a longtime member of the board, is not seeking re-election.

Town Council and School Committee seats are all three-year terms.

Robert Burns, Goham Public Works director, is the only candidate for Portland Water District trustee. The Gorham trustee position is vacant and expires in November 2022.

Kuech, an educational technician at Narragansett Elementary School, spoke at a Sept. 3 Town Council meeting. She said she  hoped a town employee would be allowed to hold office, and asked the board to consider a charter change for her First Amendment rights.

“We contacted legal and they said that she has the right to take out papers and run for office, however if she is elected, she would have to make the decision of accepting the position or her job,” Nordfors said.

Kuech confirmed Wednesday that she will be on the ballot.

“The advice so far is that I am not allowed to be seated, if elected, unless I quit my job. I am currently looking for a precedent that a teacher has served on the Town Council in the past,” Kuech said.

Another candidate, Ingrid Semle, filed nomination papers for the Town Council, but Nordfors reported this week she has withdrawn and Semle’s name will not appear on the ballot. “I withdrew due to personal family reasons,” Semle said Wednesday.

The election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5, and applications for absentee ballots are available in Nordfors office in the municipal center, 75 South St.


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