Roses mark Ann Peoples’ City Council seat Monday at what would have been her final council meeting. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK— The City Council paid their respects Monday to their colleague Ann Peoples, remembering her as a mentor and a friend.

Peoples

White roses sat at her spot on the council bench in memory of Peoples, who died last week at age 72. She had not sought re-election this fall, and Monday’s meeting would have been her final meeting as a councilor at-large.

A long-time public servant, Peoples also was a five-term state representative for Westbrook in the Legislature.

The city will dedicate its inauguration ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center to Peoples. Funeral services have not been announced.

“She was like a mentor to many of us here, and she will be sorely missed,” Council Chairman Gary Rairdon said Monday. “Ann was a dedicated councilor and gave a lot to the city.”

Ward 1 Councilor David Morse called Peoples a friend.

“I served with her just briefly on the council but knew her well. She had a huge capacity for caring and love,” he said.

Morse recalled how Peoples knew his grandfather well.

“She shared memories of him, but because (he had) a stroke I never knew him. Ann painted that full picture of him, and I am grateful,” Morse said.

“Ann made you feel like family,” At-large Councilor and Mayor-elect Mike Foley said. “When I got into service years ago, I was just a child, but she treated me like anyone else, with respect.”

People’s was a member of the Westbrook Planning Board from 1996 to 2003 and was elected to serve on the City Council from 1994-1996.

She was the Ward 4 city councilor from 2004 to 2006, and At-large councilor from 2016 until her death.

Peoples championed issues that mattered to seniors, City Clerk Angela Holmes said. She was heavily involved in the formation of the My Place Teen Center and was a founding board member. She also worked to make Westbrook accessible for pedestrians.

“She will be sorely missed,” Holmes said.

Peoples served on various Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, or PACTS, committees. She was on the boards of the Westbrook Housing Corporation and the Westbrook Downtown Coalition. She was a member of the Westbrook Women’s Club and Friends of the Walker Library.

Westbrook state Rep. Drew Gattine served with Peoples on the City Council and in the State House.

“When I got on council, I was sat next to Ann, and she taught me a lot,” Gattine said in a Facebook post. “When I went to the State House, it was the same thing. I am going to miss her a lot.”

On Monday, Gattine recalled Peoples’ dedication to her late husband.

“She was also her husband Patrick’s caretaker. In the last few years of his life, she brought him to the State House, he was always there in Augusta. Everyone knew about it, and admired her dedication to her work and her husband. She worked hard to make it all work, and it was truly special,” he said.

Gattine said Peoples was a known champion for transportation, and fought hard to “ensure our roads and bridges prospered.”

During her first terms in the State House from 2009-2014, she received the Public Servant of the Year Award from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine Driver Education and Traffic Safety Association Leadership Award.

In her second bout at the State House, Peoples advocated for workers as a member of the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee. She was also proud of her record in standing up for Planned Parenthood in Maine and spoke out against elder abuse.

Gov. Janet Mills served with Peoples in the state House of Representatives and in a statement last week noted how Peoples’ “devotion to the people of Westbrook shined in the halls of the State House.”

“Her fundamental belief in the power of public service inspired all those around her. I have lost a cherished friend and the state of Maine has lost a fierce lawmaker who made our state a brighter, better place. I will miss her dearly,” Mills wrote.

House Speaker Sara Gideon described Peoples as “a devoted public servant, a passionate advocate for her community, and a loving wife, mother and grandmother.”

“Ann spent her life, including her time in the Legislature, improving the lives of Mainers. Her passing is a tremendous loss to our state, and we will miss her deeply,” Gideon said in a statement.

Council Chairman Gary Rairdon, left, Councilor David Morse and other councilors on Monday spoke warmly of Councilor and state Rep. Ann Peoples, who died last week at 72. Chance Viles/American Journal

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