Louis “Roo” Dunn. Photo courtesy of Louis “Roo” Dunn

Bath voters elected two new members to the city council on Tuesday: Louis “Roo” Dunn and Mary Ellen Bell.

Dunn defeated opponent Timothy Pratt with 187 votes over Pratt’s 162 votes. Dunn will take over Raye Leonard’s Ward 4 seat for a three-year term.

Ward 4 covers a strip of central Bath between Bedford and Academy streets from the Kennebec River to Wing Farm Parkway. Leonard was elected to the position in 2019, but said she didn’t run for re-election because she was offered a job as editor of the Lincoln County News.

Dunn said he feels “humbled and excited” to be elected and is ready to get to work.

“I’m looking forward to going through the new councilor orientation and training,” he said. “I think there’s a huge amount of work and possibility ahead.”

One of his main priorities remains “increasing our housing availabilities across all incomes, both purchasing and rentals” for those who live and work in Bath and young families looking to settle in the area. While he said making sure everyone has housing in the area, no matter their income level, is a priority for him, he cautioned the city needs to be wary of how that growth could impact tax rates for residents.

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Mary Ellen Bell. Photo courtesy of Mary Ellen Bell. 

Newcomer Bell, who ran unopposed, won 301 to claim a three-year term in the council’s Ward 2 seat.

Ward 2 encompasses much of Bath’s South End neighborhood from Route 1/Leeman Highway south to Pine Street, and from the Kennebec River west to roughly Berrys Mill Road. Longtime councilor and state representative Sean Paulhus now holds the position, but decided not to run for re-election.

A former social studies teacher at Wiscasset Middle High School for 32 years, Bell said she’s excited to be a member of her local government for the first time rather than teach it.

“I spent my entire classroom experience rooted in representative democracy — that’s what public school is all about,” said Bell. “I’m humbled and excited to be able to do this type of work now.”

She said her first step as councilor will be to learn about her new role, what’s expected of her, and how she fits into the council.

“I may be bringing skills, but I have a lot to learn,” Bell said. “I want to spend some time learning what’s happening, who’s involved, and how things get done. I need to get up to speed.”

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Looking ahead, Bell told The Times Record she’d like to help Bath Iron Works and the South End neighborhood work together to solve the longstanding issue of the company’s thousands of shipbuilders not having enough room to park near the shipyard, and parking along residential streets.

Like Dunn, Bell said she’s also interested in addressing the need for more housing in Bath while working to preserve the city’s older, existing housing stock.

No matter what the council is working on, Bell said her mission is to help residents, especially children, learn about how their local government and understand how they can be involved.

Unopposed incumbent Terry Nordmann was also re-elected to his Ward 3 seat on the council Tuesday, claiming 240 votes.

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