WESTBROOK — Democratic nominee David Morse is facing off with Republican nominee Deb Shangraw for the Ward 1 City Council seat this November.

Morse, an attorney, says he will use his civic and work experiences to advocate for Ward 1, while Shangraw, a property owner and manager, points to her ability to work across party lines and “get things done,” Aside from the past few weeks that Morse has been on the council filling in for Brendan Rielly, neither candidate has held elected office in the city.

“Ward 1 needs a strong advocate, they had a strong one in Rielly for years,” Morse said. “I have the advocacy skills and background to fill that role and to continue that.”

Morse believes his legal work and the time he’s spent on the Zoning Board of Appeals as an appointed official have given him the tools to advocate for residents about their specific issues. Describing himself as more of a listener than a talker, Morse takes a deliberate approach towards his reasoning.

“I listen to the opinions of others before I reach my own decision, because it’s important to not jump to conclusions,” Morse said.It’s important to have as much information as possible before you make a reasoned decision.”

Morse hopes to take what he hears from constituents and use it to guide Westbrook’s growth.

“The city is growing, and it’s important for everyone to tackle that inevitable growth in a responsible way,” he said. “We don’t want Westbrook to lose the character that has made it great as we grow” and end up being a “a victim of our own success where we grow irresponsibly.”

For Morse, keeping Westbrook’s character while facilitating larger business growth is important to future generations, including his two children.

“I want to keep Westbrook an amazing place, the place I remember growing up in,” Morse said. “I will listen. … Someone may want to remove the red tape to help their business, but that could mean many things, so it’s really about listening to what they have to say to deal with an issue. … I want to hear from the people I am representing, and once I understand them, I plan to use my advocacy skills to bring to the forefront their concerns and fight for them.”

Shangraw says she can work across party lines in the interest of residents.

“It is really about serving the people, not a party,” she said.

Shangraw has teamed with four other candidates in races for other positions to bolster the message that elected officials can collaborate regardless of political leanings. She points to her work in the city as proof of that.

She is currently working on strengthening the city’s Veterans Day Ceremony, which has veterans turn out, but no civilians to honor them. “I am especially passionate about the veterans,” Shangraw said.

“We had our veterans here, some are older, and no one was there to sing or say anything. … I looked at (Mayor) Mike (Sanphy) and said we are not letting this happen again,” she said.

Shangraw also is working on a Veteran’s Housing Initiative to help veterans in need of homes and services. In addition, she hopes to also add momentum to the Youth Substance Misuse Initiative, of which she is a volunteer.

“We need to look at drug abuse, it is killing our kids,” she said. “I have been working since 2012 to get an adventure-based misuse program geared to high school and junior high kids, showing them nature and their importance to the world, which is what all addicts don’t feel.”

Shangraw worked with Sanphy to get the Hawkes Plaza sign deemed a historical landmark, effectively curbing plans to add a rotary in the neighborhood, which residents opposed.

“I work hard for people, I set my sights on something and go to get it done,” Shangraw said. “There is only so much you can do as a resident, so I want to get on the council. … I am a black and white person and I get stuff done.”

Shangraw also hopes to keep taxes down through smart spending and educated budget cuts in collaboration with City Administration and to continue the work in keeping taxes low for voters.

“I want to do the right thing for the position I am holding. … These tax increases aren’t on our administration, but people voted for a public services garage. … now the bill is due,” Shangraw said.

 

 

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