AUBURN — As another school year gets underway, so does another local election season.

In Auburn, the deadline to submit nomination papers for local offices passed Aug. 22, leaving the final slate of candidates set for mayor, City Council and School Committee. Like Lewiston, which has a Sept. 6 deadline, Auburn’s municipal seats are up for election every two years.

Here’s the final list of candidates:

MAYOR

After looking at one point like it could feature four candidates, the race for mayor is a two-way contest between incumbent Jason Levesque and Stanwood “Joe” Gray.

Gray, a former councilor and co-owner of Valley View Farm in Auburn, is the only challenger to Levesque, who is seeking a second term.

Gray, 55, has taken issue with Levesque’s leadership style and focus on the city’s agricultural zone during his first term, telling the Sun Journal that, for him, the mayor’s race is less about the spotlight and more about returning the balance of power to the City Council.

Levesque threw a re-election event July 9 at Gritty McDuff’s in Auburn, but has since taken the summer off from campaigning.

He appeared on WGAN radio the same day as his Gritty’s event to talk about his first term and re-election effort. Asked what he’s accomplished, Levesque said he’s brought “local sanity back to Auburn.”

“We’ve kept taxes extremely low, well below the level of inflation,” he said during the interview. “We’ve really looked at what we’re spending money on, how to invest money as a city to increase the quality of life, but also provide some return on investment, providing some business practices, some best practices, if you would, to city government, and it’s paying off.”

At one point, George Howitt and Brad Farrell were also listed as having taken out nomination papers, but neither appears on the final list. Farrell previously told the Sun Journal that he ultimately decided to run for City Council at-large.

CITY COUNCIL

Ward 1: Councilor Holly Lasagna is seeking re-election to a second term after being elected in 2017. She will face challenger Michael Farrell, a former two-term city councilor serving most recently in 2011.

Ward 2: Councilor Bob Hayes is seeking re-election to a second term, but he will have competition from Tim MacLeod.

MacLeod announced his candidacy in early August. In a statement on social media he wrote, “I want to bring fresh ideas to make Auburn more community based, forward thinking and green. We need big ideas to help transform our city.”

Matt Leonard, the former president of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, had also initially taken out papers for Ward 2 but is running for an at-large seat.

Ward 3: Ward 3 will see a new face on the council, in a race between former Councilor Dan Herrick and Stephen Milks.

Milks is a managing partner of Thompson Properties and has served on Levesque’s committee on economic development and marketing. Herrick is an Auburn farmer who has often sparred with Levesque during City Council meetings.

Two-term Councilor Andrew Titus issued a statement in July saying he will not run for re-election.

“It has truly been an honor serving the people of Auburn, and especially the citizens of Ward 3,” he said. “I have served two terms and feel that it is time for someone else to step in. Having new ideas and thoughts is important to our city and I wish any and all who run the best.”

Ward 4: Ward 4 will also see a new face on the council. Alfreda Fournier is not seeking re-election. In her place will be either Brian Carrier or Rhyanna Larose, both of whom serve on other city boards.

Carrier is a member of the Planning Board and a former candidate for Maine House District 63. Larose is a member of the Auburn Conservation Commission.

Ward 5: Leroy Walker, the longtime Ward 5 councilor, will have the only uncontested race. Walker, who represents the New Auburn neighborhood, was among those who attended Levesque’s re-election event in July.

At-large: Six candidates are vying for two at-large seats, with longtime at-large Councilor David Young and veteran at-large Councilor Belinda Gerry both seeking re-election.

Joining the race are Katie Boss, Carl Dill, Brad Farrell and Matt Leonard.

Boss is the health promotion manager at Healthy Androscoggin, chairwoman of the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn and a member of the Planning Board. According to his LinkedIn account, Dill is a production operator at Nestle Waters North America.

After he resigned from his position of president of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Leonard started a company called Military Talent Source, which places veterans in the workforce. A U.S. Navy veteran, he also worked closely with the Coalition Opposed to Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation in 2017.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Ward 1: In Auburn, most races for School Committee will feature an incumbent and one challenger. Robert Mennealy recently announced his candidacy for re-election. He’ll be challenged by Rose Walker.

Mennealy previously served three terms on the City Council before being elected to the School Committee. No additional information on Walker could immediately be found.

Ward 2: Bonnie Hayes is running for re-election and will face a challenge from Pamela Hart. No additional information on Hart could immediately be found.

Ward 3: Longtime Chairman Tom Kendall is running for re-election, and is set to face a challenge from Karen Mathieu. According to her Facebook page, Mathieu is a kindergarten teacher at Sabattus Primary School and a literacy coach for Regional School Unit 4.

Ward 4: Brian Belknap is running for re-election and will face challenger Olga Dolgicer. Dolgicer is the owner of The Munroe Inn at 123 Pleasant St. in downtown Auburn.

Ward 5: Daniel Poisson is running for re-election, and will be challenged by Victoria Langelier. According to previous Sun Journal articles, Langelier is the program sergeant at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn.

At-large: Auburn elects two at-large members to the School Committee. Faith Fontaine and Patricia Gautier are running for re-election. David Simpson is challenging for one of the seats. Simpson is the manager of the Auburn Suburban Little League 12U softball team, which was the state champion this year.


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