2016-06-10 / Front Page

Four running for two selectmen seats

Drawing the largest field of candidates among local municipal races, as it did last year, the race for the Kennebunk Board of Selectmen features four candidates vying for two seats, both for three-year terms. With board chairman Kevin Donovan deciding not to seek another nod from voters, his peers can expect at least one new face among their ranks.

Of course, one of those faces could be a familiar one. Joining incumbent Richard Morin on the ballot is William Ward, a current member of the town budget board who sat as a selectman for one term, from 2011 to 2014. Ward trailed the field in a six-way race for three seats on the board last year.

Joining Morin and Ward on the campaign trail this time are L. Blake Baldwin and Thomas J. Calhoon. The owner of local media company Video Creations, Baldwin is co-chairman of the town’s economic development committee. Calhoon represents the West Kennebunk Village Committee on Kennebunk’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance Update Committee.

Listed are the candidate surveys completed by each hopeful. Absentee ballots are available now. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, in the town hall auditorium.

Name: L. Blake Baldwin

Age: 64

Address: Grove Street

Phone: 985-5105

Occupation: Owner of Video Creations

Family: Single (Divorced)

Education: Law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law

Organizations and activities: Kennebunk Economic Development Committee (chairman); Kennebunk Police Department volunteer; Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel Chamber of Commerce member.

Top Three Issues: (in order of priority)

1. A confluence of expense – school bond, sewer expansion, dam relicensing, and storm water mitigation.

2. Lack of strategic thinking at selectmen’s level.

3. Loss of connection between the villages and the town as a whole.

Why are you seeking elected office?

“I am asking for your vote because I have lifelong experience as a leader, as well as educational and professional experience that is highly relevant to discovering and implementing our vision for Kennebunk.

“There are roughly 11,000 of us who for a variety of personal reasons have decided to live in Kennebunk. The unspoken understanding of that decision is that individuals and families form part of a larger community. We all participate in that community in at least one way: We pay taxes. But in my experience, our community is much more than just a group of taxpayers. Nearly all of us find some way to make additional contributions to our community experience. We serve on town committees and volunteer for charities. We coach Little League and participate in bake sales. We support friends in need with love and financial support. We gather on holidays to share in celebrating not only the event but to celebrate the town of Kennebunk.

“Lately, the fabric of our community has been stretched by controversies, disputes, and the need to make hard decisions. If elected, I will work to keep our community intact without resorting to ideology or bickering. I believe in the old-fashioned value of agreeing to disagree and in the adage, ‘Pull together to pull ahead.’ We must address unique concerns and issues presented by the smaller villages comprising our town. But first and foremost, we must always remember we are all part of one Kennebunk.”

Name: Thomas J. Cahoon

Age: 59

Address: Thompson Road

Phone: 206-0694 Occupation: Territory manager in the HVAC industry.

Family: Married (six children, five grandchildren) Education: Business and marketing degree from the University of Maine; Master Gardener certification from the University of Maine Co-op.

Organizations and activities: Kennebunk Fire Department (retired January 2016); West Kennebunk Village Committee member; Kennebunk Comprehensive Plan and Update Committee member; Kennebunk Fish and Game Club board member; Patriot Riders of America member; Kennebunk Festival Committee past member.

Top Three Issues: (in order of priority)

1. I am in support to ban the single-use plastic bag proposal for the town. It’s not only the right thing to do, but better for the environment. Plastic bags may be convenient and inexpensive to produce but the aftermath and impact on our town can no longer be ignored. Everyone should get in the habit of using the reusable bags when they shop as it is a start in creating a cleaner environment and greener thinking for our town.

2. A growing issue in Kennebunk is the diversity of the members on the various committees in our town municipality. While the integrity of the town must be maintained, we also need to do a bit more forward and diversified thinking when it comes to town matters. I would like to see the younger generation get more involved and promote a broader thought spectrum and portray a more accurate perspective of all the residents of the town. The solution is more exposure to residents who may not be aware of the opportunities to participate. This can be done by having a presence at town functions and social activities through education and awareness.

3. Not given

Why are you seeking elected office?

My participation and commitment in my community has always been a priority in my life. I maintain an open mind about issues the town of Kennebunk faces. The best solution must satisfy both town municipality and residents alike. I pride myself on being a spokesperson but also in presenting the facts at hand. We must nurture the seasonal business market while supporting existing residents. Although recognizing the need for growth, Kennebunk’s current traditions and sense of community must be preserved for current residents and future generations. With a good understanding of town operations and issues, a caring and positive attitude and community pride, I would be honored to be town selectman.

Name: Richard Morin

Age: 62

Address: Longview Terrace

Phone: 468-3500

Occupation: Senior Manager of credit for a regional energy company

Family: Married (three adult children)

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Southern Maine

Organizations and activities: Kennebunk Board of Selectmen; Maine Municipal Association Legislative Policy Committee member; Kennebunk Hockey; past member Kennebunk Site Plan Review Board; Leadership in trade and professional associations.

Top three issues: (in order of priority)

1.Managing growth while balancing business and residential interests.

2. Managing taxes while building a strategic plan.

3.Providing superior essential services to all.

Why are you seeking elected office?

There are numerous issues facing the town. Maintaining the essential municipal services that we enjoy today as well as the infrastructure of the town without busting the budget leads the list. Doing all of that while balancing the business and residential mix of the community is a challenge. Thus far we have effectively utilized TIF districts to support specific initiatives such as the downtown and Lower Village enhancements and supporting public safety in West Kennebunk. Now I believe we need to re-assess each district to assure that their tax revenue is being utilized in the most efficient way with an effective return on our investment. Like it or not, we may need to explore cost-saving measures that may involve regionalized concepts, small reductions and/or a greater shift to user fee services. Our boards and committees must coalesce around a strategic plan that serves all constituents.

I have served the town for 10-plus years as a member of the Site Plan Review Board and have served on the Board of Selectmen for six where I am currently vice chairman. During this time some of my accomplishments include establishment of the Human Resource Director, promotion of the Elder Services Committee, and instituting the selectman outreach sessions we hold on Saturdays.

I have demonstrated the willingness to explore options, advance solutions and reject obstacles and ask for the support of the residents to allow me to continue.

Name: William A. Ward Jr.

Age: 60

Address: Lords Point Road

Phone: 967-3760

Occupation: Computer repair; Grad student

Family: Single

Education: pursing a master’s degree in finance from Southern New Hampshire University, expected completion late 2017.

Organizations and activities: Kennebunk Budget Board member; Webhannet Golf Club member, Edgecomb Tennis Club member.

Top three issues: (in order of priority)

1. Government efficiency and taxes.

2. Strategic plan and the future growth of the town.

3. Kennebunk’s sidewalk and road infrastructure.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I decided to run to continue progress on a number of big issues ranging from the dams (if Kennebunk Light and Power in some fashion transfers them to us), future liaisons with other towns to share costs, continuing to work on capital, road repair, and maintenance plans, and to follow the work in-progress on the strategic and comprehensive plans, and more.

“We have weaknesses in our organizational structure and succession planning. What would happen when Town Manager Barry Tibbetts and other top officials leave, are incapacitated, or retire? As of now there would be some confusion, as we do not have anyone ready to step into critical positions except Finance Director Joel Downs, but who can do his job? If Joel leaves we have no one to replace him. We need to build a program to groom members of our present staff to grow into these jobs.

Another concern is the future of our fire department. Since the early days, our town has relied on dedicated volunteers who ran to the rescue 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when the call went out. Our forces are slowly diminishing and we are not developing new volunteers at a fast-enough rate. It should be noted that the cost of going to a full paid fire department like Sanford or Biddeford would be very expensive. Currently we are manning our ambulances with per diem staff of paramedics and EMTs to keep pace with a high volume of those calls. We need to keep our volunteer fire resources as long as possible.”

Return to top