MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Katahdin Area Rotary Club’s Meet the Candidates Night on Wednesday takes on added significance given the unusually crowded field of Town Council candidates running this election, organizers said Monday.
As of the Sept. 19 filing deadline, nine candidates were verified as running for the three three-year Town Council seats, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said. Two other candidates are running unopposed for two three-year Millinocket School Committee positions.
The council candidates are Robert W. Curlew, Marsha H. Donahue, incumbent Scott Gonya, Dale F. Hayes, Michael A. Madore, Laura E. Manzo, Alyce V. Maragus, John F. Raymond and Gilda G. Stratton.
The school board candidates are challenger Kevin J. Gregory and incumbent board Chairman Thomas M. Malcolm, Conlogue said.
“It’s an opportune time for the public to educate itself on which candidates would serve the best in these positions,” Julie Day, a member of the Rotary Club’s board of directors, said Monday of the candidates night. “It’s important to give people this chance because there are a lot different issues at hand and many changes in the community.”
Gonya was elected in 2005 after previously being elected to a council term in 1999, Conlogue said.
The other two council elections are for seats to be vacated by Councilors Bruce McLean and Matthew Polstein, both of whom elected not to run again, Conlogue said.
The event will be held at Stearns High School. It begins at 5 p.m. with a reception in the school cafeteria, and candidates will begin answering confidential, prepared questions at 6 p.m. Each candidate will have set times in which to answer the questions, Day said.
“It’s not a debate,” Day said. “It’s more or less an informational forum like on a panel, in a panel setting. They will only answer the prepared questions, although I would encourage any voter to talk to the candidates informally, whether at the reception or on the street.
“These are people running for very important seats who will be addressing very important issues in town,” Day added.
The club is sponsoring the event with aid from reception host Katahdin Federal Credit Union, and Millinocket Regional Hospital and Lamson Funeral Homes. The three have contributed to a door-prize raffle of $200 worth of home heating oil.
The winner must be at the event to collect.
About 100 people attended last year’s event. The Rotary Club has held the candidates night for about a decade.