Outspoken town critic John Winslow hopes to unseat either Falmouth Town Councilor Amy Kuhn or Councilor Hope Cahan in the June election.

Kuhn and Cahan are seeking second terms in the three-way race for two council seats that will be decided June 8.

Each candidate said council transparency and communication with residents should be priorities.

Kuhn, who has been chairperson for the past two years, said “working on improving governance” continues to be one of the council’s most important goals.

She and Cahan have worked on the Vision and Values Project, created under a 2019 resolution to help identify a shared vision for Falmouth. Kuhn said community input is crucial, especially in terms of development where some see expansion and others see limiting growth as viable options.

The council has improved communication in a number of areas, Cahan said, through updating the town website for better access to meeting agendas, increasing mailings regarding town activity and tax information, and expanding outreach to the local media.

“Many residents felt like the town was not communicating well three years ago who feel differently now,” she said.

While Kuhn and Cahan believe government transparency has improved in the past few years, Winslow emphasizes that there is much that needs to be done.

“Residents of Falmouth have lost their voice in town government,”  said Winslow, a council watchdog who frequently attends council meetings and offers his often opposing opinions.

The town made a mediocre effort to assist residents during the pandemic, he said. It has provided inadequate information on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in town, neglected to provide available face coverings and hand sanitizer to those in need.  He said he thinks some local businesses were ignored when they approached the town with suggestions on how they could operate safely.

“For all practical purposes, the town did a good job of ‘cut & paste’ from the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce,” Winslow said. “I would like this town to lead rather than follow.”

Kuhn and Cahan said they are proud of the town’s COVID-19 response, including its significant investment over the past year in EMS funding. Kuhn also cited the town’s emergency ordinance allowing local businesses to operate outdoor dining and shopping areas.

Another top issue for the candidates is racial equity.

“Equity and inclusion are important topics for every town,” Cahan said.

Cahan said the town is committed to addressing implicit bias during the training of first responders as well as supporting efforts to rid Falmouth’s schools of any racism.

“There have been students who have left our schools due to discrimination,” she said.

Kuhn said the council is working on revising a resolution for racial equity and social justice. The initial resolution stated that Falmouth and Maine have benefited from slavery and that the town condemns acts of racism and commits to exploring policies to promote racial equity in town.

“Life has only one direction-forward. I or anyone else cannot change the past,” Winslow said.

“The racial question is a sensitive one. Our energy and efforts should be focused on the present and future to embrace equality,” he said.

He said the town should also keep its promise to revisit 2016 zoning changes that impacted certain residential zones.

This story was edited Wednesday, May 5, to clarify John Winslow’s response about the town’s anti-racism resolution by including his quote.

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