KENNEBUNK – Voters here June 14 will choose two candidates from a field of three in the running for select board.

Candidates for the two, three-year terms are incumbent L. Blake Baldwin, Miriam Whitehouse, and Leslie Trentalange. Select board member Frank Paul is not seeking re-election.

Voting is 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 14 at the Edward C. Winston Town Hall Auditorium; 1 Summer St. Absentee ballots are available at the town clerk’s office.

L. Blake Baldwin Courtesy photo

• L. Blake Baldwin said he is seeking a third term on the select board “because the town of Kennebunk is on the crest of a sea change at the top of our town government,” referring the search for a new town manager after Mike Pardue said he plans to retire, and the potential of further changes.

“My experience is needed now more than ever to help the town navigate this inflection point,” said Baldwin, board chair for the past three years.

Baldwin is married, and retired early after a varied career in law, real estate and in the banking industry, and arrived in Kennebunk in 2001. In 2006 he began Video Creations, videotaping weddings, television commercials, and variety of events. He served on the Cable TV Committee, and the Economic Development Committee, which he chaired for four years. He volunteers with the Kennebunk Police Department, Chamber of Commerce and operates the Zamboni machine at the Waterhouse Center.


He said town issues should be viewed through the lens of “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,” allowing municipal governments to evaluate where they have been, where they are, and where they need to go.

“A strength is something that you want to enhance and perpetuate like the sense of personal safety and well-being we have in Kennebunk,” he said. “A weakness is an issue that needs remediation, like lack of attainable housing. An opportunity is something we need to pursue to reinforce quality of life. A threat is an issue that if left unattended, threatens the town’s existence like climate change. The SWOT analysis allows us to prioritize the scare resources of time and money.”

He said the town has joined with other coastal communities through Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission to work on climate change and will receive Climate Action Plan designed specifically for Kennebunk. He said the regional approach will result in faster action at reduced cost – the plan is about $60,000.

He said attainable housing, workforce housing and below market rate housing can be created organically, through subsidy, or through inclusionary zoning.

“I favor a pay-to-play system where developers are required to create a certain number of housing units in their projects that meet specified criteria to address our housing crisis,” said Baldwin. He said the town should encourage construction of auxiliary dwelling units and regulate the proliferation of short-term rentals that have become an issue “as (residents) are rebelling against out-of-town investors creating pop-up businesses in the middle of their neighborhoods.”

He said Kennebunk is working with the Tillson Group to find partnerships to address internet weaknesses and is in the early planning stages of installing a new cell tower in one of three locations in town.


Leslie Trentalange Courtesy photo

• Leslie Trentalange is a registered nurse, a U.S Navy veteran and with husband Jim owns Generations Dentistry in Arundel. The couple have two children. During the pandemic, she volunteered and worked at the York County Emergency Management Agency’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Sanford. She was involved in a past Skatepark Committee and was a member of the Superintendent Interview Committee.

“I have watched divisions grow larger within our community. I want to listen to and work with others to bridge those gaps,” said Trentalange. “We need to increase options for more affordable housing, and we need to attract more young people to town with …. good jobs and good places to live.”

She said it is an important, exciting time as the process of hiring a new town manager begins, and digging into  the challenging work of updating the town charter, “to avoid legal battles like the one we all just paid for.”

She sees a need for greater openness. “As a town meeting form of government, doors need to be open, and our citizens encouraged to participate,” said Trentalange. “In recent years we have seen a consistent breakdown of communication and participation in our committees. We need to respect those who volunteer on those committees and let them do their work.”

She said the policies the select board created as a guideline to conduct its business should be followed more closely.

Trentalange said Kennebunk must do more to increase workforce housing and noted a board member has already begun some legwork on the issues. “I think we could also look at the lack of public transportation as a contributor to the problem,” she said, noting if there was transportation, people could more easily commute to Kennebunk from homes in outlying areas.


“With more people in recent years working from home, and for many that arrangement becoming permanent, it is more important than ever to work to make improvements happen,”  with internet and mobile phone service and she noted the Economic Development Committee is working on those issues.

She said the issue of regulating short-term rental requires care.

“While there may be room for some regulation, we have to be very careful not to go too far,” said Trentalange “For some, the short-term rentals are a financial way to help them own their second home here. We don’t want to squash that dream. For others, having so many short-term rentals seem to make the inventory of long-term rentals shrink exponentially. I look forward to delving deeper into this with the board and confident we can come up with something beneficial both to the town and our residents and property owners.”

Miriam Whitehouse Courtesy photo

• Miriam Whitehouse retired in 2021 after 40 years as a medical technologist, the last seven as a microbiologist at a medical laboratory in Scarborough. She and husband Jonathan have lived in Kennebunk for 45 years and raised their two children here. She volunteered to teach keyboarding to second graders at Park Street School when computers were new and skilled instructors in short supply, was chair of  music boosters, and later volunteered for the Economic Development Committee. She joined the River Restoration Task Force, interviewed candidates for Kennebunk High School principal,  joined the RSU 21 Human Resources Committee and, she said, was a key organizer in a local group opposed of the recall of school board members.

“While working to defeat the recall of school members, I learned a lot about what needs to change in our town government,” said Whitehouse. “What really tipped the scale for me was knowing that I would have an opportunity to help select our next town manager and possibly be involved in a town charter commission. ”

She said Kennebunk’s  municipal government needs to communicate better, there’s a need for strategic planning on climate change and for affordable workforce housing.


“I would bring back the Saturday morning chats with rotating select board members, giving townspeople an opportunity to discuss their concerns in a smaller setting,” said Whitehouse. “Even more importantly, the select board needs to do a better job on sharing information and being responsive to taxpayer concerns. One of our current board members, Sally Carpenter, has volunteered to start a newsletter and I think that’s an excellent way to start to address the problem.”

She said while problems of rising tides and climate change have been defined, she would like to see concrete plans around those issues, and the board set a timeline for steps that need to be taken. She said the board needs to regularly share  progress with the public.

Whitehouse said Kennebunk could mandate that 10 percent of homes in new, larger development be affordable, and could increase the size of “mother-in-law” apartments from 600 square feet to 800 or even more, to help address housing needs. Whitehouse noted board member Kortney Nedeau has spearheaded a new effort to examine the housing problem, “and I am eager to help her with this project.”

She said the Economic Development Committee is working on improving internet speed and mobile phone coverage.

She said if Kennebunk were to contemplate regulating short-term rentals, “I think it would be prudent to define how these rentals impact the town, what we want to encourage, and we want to discourage, and then work on an ordinance.”

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