OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Voters will select two town councilors from a field of three candidates Nov. 2 in Old Orchard Beach. In the running are incumbents Jay Kelley and V. Louise Reid, and former Town Manager  Larry Mead.

All have years of experience in municipal life, whether as elected or appointed officials.

There are two candidates for two seats on the RSU 23 School Board. Both incumbent David Boudreau and Craig Evans are unopposed.

All terms are two years.

In the Town Council race, we asked candidates about themselves, and what they believe is the town’s foremost issue. We asked incumbents what action they have taken or voted for during their current term they are most happy with, and what they would like to achieve. We asked challengers why they believe they are the best person for the job and achievements in other endeavors that demonstrate their ability to do the work.

Jay Kelley

Kelley, 69, has served on the Town Council for the past eight years. He is a graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and is retired from the Portland Fire Department. He was director of operations for RSU 23 for 10 years and works part time for Prime Toyota. He was a reserve police officer in Old Orchard Beach early in his career. He has been a member of the OOB Call Force Department/Fire Police for 40 years, and is a member of Biddeford Saco Country Club. Married, he has two sons and two grandsons.

He noted the current Town Council, of which he is a member, moved Ballpark responsibilities to the Parks and Recreation Department, authorized major upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, and purchased and maintained public safety equipment. He was a councilor when the board hired the recently retired town manager and hired the new town manager.

“As someone who grew up in Old Orchard Beach, and had a career in public safety, I have always had the best interests of the Town and its citizens at heart,” said Kelley. “My reason for running again is to continue maintaining the progressive path the Town is on, all the while being fiscally responsible. It is my hope that the citizens of Old Orchard Beach will allow me to remain in this elected position to continue working for them.”

Larry Mead

Mead, 68, retired in May from his job as Old Orchard Beach town manager, and has 40 years experience in in local government, starting with working with kids in a Portland neighborhood center.

“I am passionate about protecting and improving neighborhoods,” said Mead. “I’m committed to keeping OOB a vibrant year-round community. As a Councilor I will do always do my homework, be prepared, and work hard.”

Mead said he would focus on helping older residents stay in their homes, increasing and maintaining affordable year-round housing, and maintaining quality schools to attract and keep families in the seaside town.

Mead said the rescue service was improved by staffing a second ambulance during his tenure as Town Manager, Libby Memorial Library was expanded, the tax rate was stable and that he obtained state and federal grants for improvements on Cascade Road, Saco Ave, Ocean Park Road, Union Ave intersection, and Old Orchard Street and Washington Avenue, along with initiating a property tax relief program for older residents approved by the Town Council.

The foremost issue facing the town, he said, is protecting, preserving, and improving the quality of life for residents and suggested well-being checks and home visits to help older residents stay in their homes and live independently.

He said he would prioritize sidewalk repairs and the addition of new ones.

“Too many houses and apartments are being converted to Airbnb-type rentals,” said Mead, who favors a business license for weekly and weekend rentals, to manage growth and protect year round housing for homeowners and renters.

He said he would work with legislators and the RSU 23 School Board to secure state funding to replace the town’s aging elementary and middle schools.

Mead is married, chairs the Veterans Memorial Park Committee, volunteers with Maine Healthy Beaches Water Quality Program, is secretary of the Cherry Hills Homeowners Association and is a member of Libby Library board of directors.

V. Louise Reid

Reid and her late husband Robert first came to Old Orchard Beach in 1958, as the first corps officers for the Salvation Army in the seaside community. The couple served 17 years in various locations in New England and the mid-Atlantic states. She later  managed shareholder relations and was executive assistant to the board chair of United Technologies, retiring in 2002. She supervised the building and operation of the Salvation Army’s Pavilion and went on to become Old Orchard Beach’s first assistant town manager, serving as acting town manager on three occasions before retiring in December 2020. She was elected to serve the remaining year of a term on the council created by a vacancy. She has served on the Shuttlebus board of directors, Salvation Army advisory board, Chamber of Commerce board, Community Animal Watch, and the community action group.

“I am anxious to address transportation issues as this is a priority for our residents,” said Reid. “Town infrastructure issues are major issues as well.”

Reid said she advocates for attention to issues of the senior population and actively addressing interaction between age groups to see community goals are being addressed, and for other issues, such as: “maintaining tax issues in a positive way. Maintain a good working relationship with the council and community. Perhaps quarterly meetings with community groups seeking interaction with council on issues they are addressing in their projects and goal setting.”

Absentee ballots are available now. Voting will be  8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Old Orchard Beach High School on Nov. 2.

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