Rachael Coleman for South Portland’s city council, district two Rachael Coleman

Brendan Williams for South Portland’s district one for city council Brendan Williams

Linda Cohen for South Portland city council’s first district. Linda Cohen

Jeffrey McDonald for South Portland’s district two city council. Jeffrey MdDonald

South Portland’s City Council has two districts with challengers, and two districts unopposed. Steven Riley, District 4, and Elyse Tipton, District 5, are both running unopposed. District 1 has two contenders, Linda Cohen, and Brendan K. Williams. District 2 candidates are Rachael Coleman and Jeffrey McDonald.

Brendan K. Williams is running for city council for District 1. While he hasn’t been elected to city council before, Williams has served positions for the South Portland Human Rights Commission, Civil Service Commission, and Statewide Council for Independent Living. Williams is currently employed at the Scales Restaurant.

Williams says the top three issues for South Portland are the lack of workforce housing, handling new Mainers and improving the working waterfront. He says the lack of workforce housing is urgent because he believes people working in South Portland should be able to afford live in South Portland. Regarding asylum seekers arriving in the city, Williams said, “We need to work with the state and neighboring towns to make sure that these asylum seekers get the housing and support they need. We need these people to be a part of our community and I would like to see a shelter put in place where they can get what they need.”

The third issue is improving the waterfront. Williams says that many hardworking men and women came to work on building the Liberty ships. “I want to see the waterfront be utilized for marina and aquaculture uses and not luxury housing.” Williams said the waterfront is an opportunity to create jobs. He said he would work with the fishing industry to see how they can use space along the water. “We need to do more to attract businesses into town and provide workshop housing for people who work at those businesses,” Williams said.

Linda C. Cohen, 68, is running for city council for District 1. She has one adult daughter and she is a real estate assistant at Duston Leddy Real Estate, The April Cohen Team. She has held several elected positions as South Portland City Council District 4, 2012-2018, two one-year terms as mayor and city council District 4 from 2021-present.

Cohen says one of the biggest issues South Portland is facing is lack of help from the federal government to help with the immigrants who have no money. “They want to provide for themselves and become contributing members of our community, and they bring skills badly needed in our workplaces,” Cohen said. She said that South Portland needs to keep working with U.S. senators and representatives to get laws changed on the federal level.


Cohen says traffic is another problem, “I still believe developing a crosstown road near the public services facility to Main Street is a critical need to help move the traffic from east to west.” She said the short-staffed police department is one of the reasons they can’t monitor all traffic violations.

Cohen said there are older homeowners who would like to downsize, but can’t find new suitable housing in the area. “We need more housing for all income levels,” Cohen said. She says the council needs to work within the guidelines of the Comprehensive Plan to make it easier and less expensive for builders to provide appropriate housing.

Rachael Coleman, 74, is running for city council for District 2. Coleman has three adult daughters (which includes twins) and two grandchildren. She is an RN,BSN, and MS and completed her MS at USM in 1992, with a focus on administration and community. She retired from South Portland Nursing Home as assistant director of nursing, after more than 20 years of service. She says nursing is a collaborative practice. “I am diligent, hard-working, team player. I have not been involved in politics, per se, however, health care is political,” Coleman said.

“South Portland is in dire need of workforce housing. personal care attendants, nursing assistants, cashiers, etc. should be able to afford to live in the community where they work,” Coleman said. She said this is a crisis and both the state and federal programs should address this. Coleman noted that the time spent driving adds stress, expense, environmental pollution, and takes away from family life. Coleman said this is a crisis and requires both state and federal programs to incentivize the construction of affordable housing.

The new metric of community success is not growth, but safety and livability wrote Coleman. “A role of city council is the health and safety of residents. I believe we are our greatest resource. We are the solution to a safe and thriving community,” Coleman said. She says that a city that supports the working force will attract business. “I also recognize the value of volunteers in building community. I will be an advocate, and steward of our city’s well-being,” said Coleman.

Jeff McDonald, 54, is married with one daughter and is running for District 2. McDonald is a small business owner, and currently serves on the South Portland Planning Board and the South Portland Comprehensive Planning Commission. He volunteers in many local events, has 22 years in the corporate world, and is a military veteran.

McDonald said the biggest challenges facing South Portland is in its next evolution. He says that South Portland has reinvented itself multiple times. “The first was its founding as part of Cape, the second as an independent city, the third was the reinvention as a military industrial town and now as a postindustrial residence,” explained McDonald. He said the most immediate needs for South Portland are housing, aging infrastructure, an overburdened tax base and lagging new business development.

McDonald said he would address these needs by “focusing efforts to reduce the red tape and additional costs in new construction, focus energies on repair of infrastructure and work toward attracting new investment into our community.” He said the burden on the individual taxpayers is high. “We have long relied on large payers (Maine Mall, Portland Pipeline, etc.). Retail is evolving. Energy delivery is evolving. We, too, must evolve to gain a competitive edge by attracting investments in emerging industries such as biotech, pharmaceutical, medical, distribution and manufacturing,” McDonald said. He said that South Portland much market itself as a prime location to live and work. He says he prefers to focus on how great South Portland actually is.

Election Day is Nov.7 and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. District 1’s voting location is the Boys and Girls Club, 169 Broadway. District 2’s voting location is the American Legion Stewart P. Morrill Post 35, 413 Broadway.

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