ROCKLAND, Maine — Four men seeking the two open seats on the City Council participated in a debate Wednesday night in City Hall in front of 35 people.
William Clayton touted his love of the city, which is where he grew up, and his desire to bring in diverse businesses. Clayton said he would work to bring jobs to Rockland that would encourage young people to stay in the city.
Frank Isganitis said he has experience with business that the council needs after his nearly 20-year stint as a banker and because he co-owns an inn in the city. Isganitis said he would work to be more proactive with city government so that Rockland’s economic future is sustainable.
Hal Perry, who has been on the council before, said he will bring accountability to the office. Perry’s platform includes working to zone the town in a way that is inviting to business while diversifying stores in the city and bringing in jobs.
Larry Pritchett said he has served on the city’s energy committee, which has given him experience with budgets, and he wants to give more value to taxpayers. Pritchett said he would like to make sure business areas and residential areas are zoned in a way that is more harmonious and serves both needs.
One member of the audience asked the four men what one thing they would most like to accomplish if they were elected, a question that slightly divided the candidates.
“To attract business. Business is my No. 1 platform,” Clayton said.
“To bring in good-paying jobs,” Perry said.
“To begin mending that fence that seems to exist between constituents and government,” Isganitis said.
“I’d like residents in the city to look in each department in city government and know what the most important thing that department is doing,” Pritchett said.
After the debate, City Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said she wants Pritchett to join the council.
“He understands how the budget works and how the process works,” Dickerson said Wednesday night. “He is ready on Day One.”
She isn’t sure yet who will get her second vote.
Cyndi Clayton also was sitting in the audience Wednesday night. She is William Clayton’s mother and will vote for her son and Isganitis.
“I’ve known Frank since he moved into town. He jumped right into the city,” she said. “He didn’t wait for people to come to him; he went to people.”
Maureen Montgomery lives in Winterport but came to the debate as a way to scope out Rockland, a city she is considering moving to. Pritchett’s experience and Clayton’s enthusiasm impressed the Waldo County woman.
“I think what we learned tonight is that we have four great candidates. They are all excellent and passionate,” said voter Jeff Charland.