BREWER, Maine — Voters will have to choose between two experienced City Council candidates when they enter voting booths on Nov. 4.
Incumbent City Councilor Joseph Ferris, 64, a former mayor, is running against Gail Kelly, 58, a former councilor and mayor.
Both are lifelong Brewer residents, were educated locally, have ties to local business and service groups, and have six years of City Council experience.
Ferris, a lawyer who runs his own law office, first was elected to the council in 2002 and has served six consecutive years. Kelly, state director for U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, served on the council from 2001 to 2007.
While serving together on the council, “95 percent of our votes are the same,” Ferris said.
Perspective and professional experience are where the two candidates differ.
“I have a different experience than Gail,” Ferris said last week. “I have to make a payroll every week and I think it does give a little different perspective on things.”
Kelly may not run her own business, but as Snowe’s state director she oversees six regional offices and a staff of 16.
“The experience that I have working with government, sorting through red tape to find ways to make things happen, is part of my daily routine,” she said last week. “Every day, I work with economic development agencies, federal and state agencies, local governments, and most importantly, with the people of Maine to help them find solutions to their problems.”
Both said the economy is a huge concern for them and their constituents, something they would work on as a city councilor.
“I know there will be some belt tightening this year,” Ferris said. “I know the economy is not good. I see it in our employees and my clients. There are those concerns.”
Ferris said he would work toward providing a tax decrease. Kelly said her goals are to maintain the current level of services, work on economic growth and providing affordable housing.
“I believe we can achieve [these] goals by keeping the economic team we have in place, and collaborating with all available partners,” she said.
Voters interested in finding out more about Ferris and Kelly, or the other school panel candidates, can attend a Meet the Candidates forum Wednesday in the Brewer High School library, sponsored by the Brewer Education Association and the city. Doors open for a meet-and-greet with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m., and the forum begins at 7 p.m.
School board members Mark Farley, who serves as chairman, B. Calvin Bubar Jr. and Brewer High School district trustee Jerry Goss are running unopposed for their seats.