Eight candidates have qualified for the November ballot to seek three open seats on the Portland City Council.

The races will not feature any incumbents, leaving one-third of the council seats open to political newcomers. The turnover of three seats is a rarity in Portland, although a former councilor and two current school board members are among the candidates who have qualified for the ballot.

Councilors Belinda Ray, Nicholas Mavodones and Spencer Thibodeau have all decided not to seek re-election.

Councilors and members of the Portland Board of Public Education serve three-year terms. Neither panel is subject to term limits in Portland, and it has not been unusual for the council to have one or more members with decades of experience.

However, with three incumbent councilors bowing out, the remaining council will be relatively new in terms of experience. Councilor Pious Ali is in his fifth year, followed by Mayor Snyder and Councilor Tae Chong, each in their second year. Councilors Mark Dion, April Fournier and Andrew Zarro were all elected last fall

Four candidates are running for an at-large seat representing the entire city. The winner will replace Mavodones, who is ending his 24-year career on the council.

At-large candidates include Travis Curran, a 35-year-old server and retail manager at Maine Craft Distilling who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2019; Brandon Mazer, a 35-year-old attorney and current chairman of the Planning Board; Roberto Rodriguez, a 42-year-old owner of an urban farming business who is finishing his second term on the school board; and Stuart Tisdale, a 68-year-old attorney and retired history and government teacher at Cheverus High School.

Two of five candidates to take out papers to replace Ray in District 1, which includes the East End and islands, qualified for the ballot. Ray is not seeking re-election because she is taking a job with the Greater Portland Council of Governments, a regional planning agency.

The District 1 race will feature Sarah Michniewicz, a 50-year-old self-employed seamstress who has led the Bayside Neighborhood Association for the last four years, and Anna Trevorrow, a 39-year-old medical malpractice paralegal at Norman, Hanson & DeTroy and former charter commissioner who is serving her third term on the school board. David Aceto submitted signatures but did not qualify for the ballot, while Spencer Rust and Mark Foster took out nomination papers by did not return them.

And two candidates have qualified in District 2, which includes the West End and Parkside. Thibodeau, the incumbent, took out papers, but decided against running for a third term because of personal reasons.

Jon Hinck, a 67-year-old attorney and former at-large city councilor and state representative, took out papers after Thibodeau’s announcement and qualified for the ballot. He will face Victoria Pelletier, a 33-year-old special projects coordinator at the Greater Portland Council of Governments whose focus is on racial equity and economic development.

Meanwhile, only one of the three school board races will be contested.

The at-large race has Nyalat Biliew, who ran unsuccessfully for an at-large seat last year, running against Sarah Thompson, a 51-year-old administrator at Maine Medical Center who is finishing her 15th year on the school board. Biliew, 26, says she is currently employed as a community health promotional specialist in the HEAL program of the city of Portland’s Public Health Division.

District 1 incumbent Abusana Bondo and District 2 incumbent Emily Figdor, who currently chairs the board, are running unopposed.


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