STANDISH — Political newcomer Walter Butler and former Town Councilor Greg Sirpis are running for an at-large seat on the Town Council.

The three-year seat is now held by Steve Nesbitt, who did not seek reelection. The Butler-Sirpis race will be decided at the polls July 14.

This is Butler’s first time running for an elected position, but as a business owner and frequent participant at the Economic Development Committee meetings, he said he brings a lot of good experience to the town.

One of the biggest challenges facing Standish is economic development, Butler said, especially compelling more companies to establish their businesses in the town, which he says will increase the tax base and benefit residents in the long term.

Butler owns the former GTE building in Standish, where he said he’s brought in 15 new companies in the last four years as a landlord and developer.

As a landlord and an industrial tenant himself, he can encourage businesses to move to town, he said, and “I think I can continue that message to businesses in places in Standish that aren’t mine.”

Building a community center is high on his list of priorities and although he said he knows there are concerns about building a communal space in the midst of a pandemic, he thinks this is the best time to get started.

“The town has conducted a survey of all the residents and there is high support for one … I’m trying to tell people for the long term, you’ll never find interest rates as low as now.”

Finally, Butler said, people should vote for him “if they’d like to see some change.”

Sirpis said when he served on the Town Council from 2016 to 2019 he was “very, very responsible and mindful of the people’s money.”

He’s running again because he sees public safety, education and aid to seniors as the top three priorities for the town and a “creative,” budget-minded approach is needed to address them.

“We (have) to get creative on how we spend our money. The town has to run like a household budget. We can’t spend money that we don’t have so we (have) to make wise decisions when we do spend the people’s money,” he said.

He added that though those three issues are at the top of his list, he also believes that the town needs to plan for the future, as it’s already growing quickly and beginning to overwhelm existing infrastructure.

“I want to make sure that we’re not leaving any stone unturned and we’re getting the most we can for every dollar that we spend,” Sirpis said.

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