Tae Chong Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The five-way race for Portland’s District 3 City Council seat has a number of strong candidates. But since this not a ranked-choice election, voters can pick only one.

Our choice is Tae Chong, who brings the right mix of political experience and deep community connections to represent a part of the city that is facing rapid change.

Chong is a former school board member who has worked in small business and workforce development for the nonprofit investment bank Coastal Enterprises Inc. and, currently, for Catholic Charities. He also has a long record of volunteer work in the city, serving as chairman of the Community Development Block Grant Committee, and board member of the United Way, Refugee Advisory Board and the University of Southern Maine School of Business, among others.

The breadth and depth of that experience would give Chong deep connections with a wide range of Portland residents when considering issues that affect the off-peninsula Libbytown, Stroudwater, Rosemont, Nason’s Corner and Oakdale neighborhoods that make up the district.

These neighborhoods will be the key to addressing the city’s No. 1 problem: a housing affordability crisis that is driving away the workers and middle-class families the city needs to thrive. Among the places most often identified for new housing are the transit corridors of District 3, making this a key seat on the council.

The question underlying almost every major issue before the council is how Portland can grow without losing its character. The council will benefit from having a member with a deep understanding of what the city has been and what it can become. To fill that role, District 3 should elect Tae Chong.

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