Portland city councilor April Fournier says hello to voters outside Woodfords Club in Portland on Tuesday. She appeared headed for reelection. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Portland voters reelected at-large City Councilor April Fournier by a strong margin and welcomed several new members in Tuesday’s city council and school board races.

The municipal races attracted a number of newcomers this year, in part because District 4 Councilor Andrew Zarro and District 5 Councilor Mark Dion gave up their seats to run for mayor, and school board members Yusuf Yusuf and Aura Russell-Bedder didn’t seek reelection.

Fournier, the only councilor seeking reelection, defeated challenger William Linnell with 65% of the vote, 12,935 to 6,841.

Fournier, 43, is a program manager with Advance Native Political Leadership, a national organization established in 2016 to increase Native American representation in elected and appointed offices throughout the United States. She has served one three-year term on the council and said she hopes to work during a second term on stabilizing the homeless population through a housing-first model.

Linnell, 67, is a former Cape Elizabeth town councilor who has run for Portland’s school board in the past. He’s a part-time lobsterman and former program manager at the Long Creek Youth Development Center, Maine’s only juvenile detention center. Linnell said he hoped to get people off the street and into housing by legally compelling them into drug and alcohol treatment programs.

On the school board, Usira Ali defeated Austin Sims with 55% of the vote, 10,022 to 8,202, in the race for the at-large seat held by Yusuf, who completed a three-year term.


Ali, 23, is a part-time medical assistant and plans to attend medical school. She graduated from Portland schools in 2018 and wants to increase equity in the school district and lift up student voices.

Sims, 37, is a soon-to-be stay-at-home dad with a past career in tech and previous experience in Portland politics. He hoped to raise money for the school district so it can maintain and grow programming.


Anna Bullett defeated Sam Cady with 58% of the vote, 2,344 to 1,690, in the council race to represent District 4, which includes East Deering and parts of the Back Cove, Deering Center and North Deering neighborhoods. Both are political newcomers.

Bullett, 39, is the director of health and nutrition programs at The Opportunity Alliance, which serves low-income residents of Cumberland County. Bullett said she wants to prioritize working with the homeless community to find solutions for the housing crisis.

Cady, 50, is an ophthalmologist with Maine Eye, which has offices near the former homeless encampment on Marginal Way. He said seeing the encampment motivated him to run for council so he could do something about the housing crisis.


On the school board, Fatuma Noor, a political newcomer, ran uncontested for the District 4 seat held by Russell-Bedder.


Kate Sykes defeated Matt Buonopane with 59% of the vote, 2,334 to 1,627, in the council race to represent District 5, which is made up of the North Deering, Deering Center and Riverton neighborhoods.

Sykes, 56, is a freelance writer and former electoral committee co-chair with the Maine Democratic Socialists of America. She ran against Dion for the District 5 seat in 2020 and lost after three rounds of ranked-choice voting. Sykes said she would like to see more affordable housing, including city-run, mixed-income developments.

Buonopane, 33, is a political newcomer and commercial lender who said he wanted to bring a moderate voice to the council. He said he would encourage housing construction by offering incentives to developers and funding mixed-income public housing cooperatives.

On the school board, Sarah Brydon, 44, ran uncontested for reelection to the District 5 seat. She won the seat in a special election last year, replacing Jeff Irish, who resigned from the board in October 2021.

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