BREWER, Maine — When City Councilor Michael Celli was elected to the state House of Representatives earlier this month, he faced a challenging question: Should he keep both seats?
“The people of Brewer deserve a full-time councilor, so I’m resigning my council seat,” he said in answer to that question at a news conference Thursday.
Residents selected Celli to succeed Charles “Dusty” Fisher, who decided not to run for the post, which he has held for 14 years. He served in the 117th through 120th Legislatures before term limits prevented him from serving in the 121st. He was re-elected to the 122nd and 123rd Legislatures.
To replace Celli on the City Council, a local election will be held in January on the same day residents will decide whether to join the new regional school unit 15, with nine other neighboring towns.
Nomination packets will become available Monday for those who want to fill the remaining year on Celli’s City Council term, and must be returned to the city by Dec. 12.
Former Councilor Gail Kelly, who served the city for six years, one year as mayor, stood with Celli during the announcement, and plans to run for the vacant post, he said.
“What made it easier is knowing that Gail was going to run,” Celli said. “Gail does so much for the city that people don’t even know about. It wouldn’t be a hiccup — it will make [the board] stronger.”
Celli said the decision to resign was “tremendously hard.”
He said he’s really enjoyed working with the staff in Brewer, especially the city’s hard-working department heads and his fellow councilors, naming Kelly and Larry Doughty in particular.
Celli still plans to attend the City Council meetings, to give local leaders updates about what is happening in Augusta, but will be an audience member.
One of the bills he is planning to propose to the Legislature includes one to “replace Dirigo [the state’s subsidized health care insurance program] and do it more efficiently.”