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PORTLAND — Ethan Strimling is hoping his track record of getting things done will earn him a second term as mayor.

 

“A second four-year term is going to allow us to continue to achieve the type of results we did in the first term, results that really matter for working class families,” Strimling said Oct. 11 on the steps of City Hall.

Successes in his first term, he said, include offering a property tax relief program for seniors and fully capitalizing on the housing trust fund, as well as passing a pesticide ban, a construction bond for renovation work at four city elementary schools and the largest investment in school budgets over the last two years.

“I am running again to make sure that stuff doesn’t get rolled back,” he said. “I want to make sure schools continue to be as strong as they can be.”

His re-election pursuit doesn’t come without challengers. He is running against restaurant worker Travis Curran, former School Board Chairman Kate Snyder and District 2 City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau in the Nov. 5 election.

Strimling, who has run for local, state and federal offices, said this election season has been interesting given “the real, ideological differences between candidates.” One topic that candidates disagree on is the decision to built a homeless shelter on Riverside Street to replace the current Oxford Street Shelter.

“I will ask the new council to reconsider its decision in my second term,” Strimling said. “It’s hard to find anybody who thinks (the shelter there) is a good idea. Simply to think that we can throw enough resources at it to make it work is not an appropriate or practical decision.”

Strimling would rather see smaller homeless shelters across the city. Scattered shelter sites are already offered in the city with the Milestone Recovery shelter, the family shelter, teen shelter, Florence House and Through these Doors.

“The value of scattered sites is, you can specialize and make sure you provide the services you need there,” he said.

Strimling said if elected to another term, he would like to introduce a $15 an hour minimum wage in the city; a new $10 million housing bond to build affordable units; expand property tax relief to all ages; expand Greater Portland Metro to offer services every 15 minutes; create a transit line that connects the East End with Lewiston; install solar panels on school and municipal buildings and introduce a universal pre-K program in the school system for 4 year olds.

“These are essential programs we need to fund,” he said.

Strimling said we also put a focus on the city’s middle class.

“My vision for Portland is one that retains the middle class that built this city and ensure they don’t get squeezed out. We are in the midst of a huge economic boom, but that is not being distributed. We are feeling the pinch,” he said.

To afford a median home, assessed at $318,000 in the city, Strimling said a household needs to make at least $102,000, which is more than double the average median income in Portland.

He reflects on the values of Portland, and that’s what sets him apart, he said.  He supports paid sick leave, a clean elections program for municipal elections and a rise in the minimum wage, topics his opponents, he said, have failed to address. He also points to his list of endorsements, which includes many current or former city and state officials, labor unions, leaders of the immigrant communities, and state-wide education groups.

“That type of coalition building is what you need to do to get this job done,” he said.

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