WESTBROOK — Phil Spiller Jr. hopes that once elected mayor, he can inspire and facilitate strong community pride that will help the city live up to its potential.

Spiller, a Navy veteran, JetBlue airline captain and the organizer behind the upcoming work on the Warren Outdoor Recreational area, is the Republican candidate for mayor on the Nov. 5 ballot. He faces three Democrats: incumbent Mayor Mike Sanphy, At-large City Councilor Mike Foley and Michael Shaughnessy.

“If I am elected mayor, I want to be an inspiration officer. This city has potential that no one can even think of. We are in its 205-year history, and Westbrook is poised to explode and embolden like never before,” Spiller said.

Building community pride is just about the sum total of Spiller’s campaign platform. He believes that once that is accomplished, all the other issues facing the city “will fall into place.” For Spiller though, building community pride comes from tangible progressive development, such as his work on the development of the future Downtown Historical Walking trail with Greater Portland landmarks, or a William Clarke Drive street banner program just kicking off.

Spiller has served on various local boards and committees, but this race marks his first attempt at the mayor’s seat, a position held by his father, Phil Spiller Sr., for many years. It is his father’s history and his own lifetime spent in Westbrook that drives him to shepherd new development and community projects into existence, he said.

“One of my favorite quotes comes from our Planning Board member Rene Daniels. At meetings, he would ask ‘why not Westbrook?'” Spiller said. “When we look at our future, bringing in projects and growth, we have to ask ourselves that. … Perhaps we are afraid of failure, or possibly even afraid of success.”


“We shouldn’t be afraid of our past, there is nothing wrong with being a mill town. We need to honor and embrace that but look to the future,” he continued.

Spiller had a hand in numerous projects in the city, including the revitalization of the Warren outdoor recreation area and his initial proposition to bring an outdoor concert venue to Rock Row.

He is vice president of Discover Downtown Westbrook and believes that new projects and changes, such as Rock Row and work to revitalize downtown, are key in keeping Westbrook moving in the right direction. With Portland an immediate neighbor and “foodie destination,” he said, Westbrook needs to work tourism into its fabric.

“Portland is bursting in the seams, why can’t we be a part of that orientation? We are in the state of tourism,” Spiller said.

Continuing to attract progressive developments through a partnership with the city’s economic development department is an important part of his plan for Westbrook policy and direction for the future, he said. Just as important are smaller projects, such as the River Walk expansion.

“One of my favorite things to do is attend state regional and national conferences for community building, parks and recreation, conferences on city (revitalization),” Spiller said. “These are on my dime, but they are priceless and energizing experiences. I come back with my finger on the after-burner switch and I am told to hit the choke switch. If elected mayor, that will change.”

Spiller is a member of “Team Westbrook,” a group of candidates for local offices that have endorsed one another in the spirit of bipartisanship. Spiller has endorsed his mayoral opponent, Mike Sanphy, as part of the team.

I am supporting Sanphy as a mayoral candidate because I gave him that word I would support him. We are running together,” Spiller said. “I will be beholden to no person or party if elected. I am only running to help Westbrook be the most aggressive and sustainable city in America, I have nothing to lose, but Westbrook has everything to gain. If you vote for me, I hope you are ready to get to work.”

Comments are not available on this story.