May 22, 2018
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O’Connell, Verow win Brewer council seats

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

BREWER, Maine — Mayor Arthur “Archie” Verow and Kevin O’Connell, a high school district trustee, emerged the winners Tuesday in a five-way race for two openings on the City Council.

O’Connell, who landed his first council seat in Tuesday’s election, was the top vote-getter, with 1,739 ballots cast in his favor. He is a first class lineman for Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. and a master sergeant for the Maine Air National Guard’s 101st Air Refueling Wing.

Verow, who served as Brewer’s city clerk for 40 years before retiring in 2007, won his second three-year council term with 1,687 votes.

The other candidates who took part in the hard-fought race were incumbent Manley DeBeck, who works at the Miller’s Workshop work apparel store in Brewer and was seeking his fifth consecutive council term; Gail Kelly, a former mayor who is state director for U.S. Olympia Snowe; and Patricia Preble, a homemaker who wanted to represent the city’s poor.

DeBeck received 989 votes, Kelly nabbed 1,407 votes and Preble had 788 votes.

In an interview earlier this month, 50-year-old O’Connell said he wanted to serve on the council as a way of giving back to his community and of being a role model for his four grown children. He pledged to take a “commonsense approach to dealing with the issues.”

He said his top three priorities were to see the city’s waterfront redevelopment effort continue, to ensure that the city’s new school “becomes a shining star to draw people to the city” while the old school is put to good use, and to keep the city’s tax rate from increasing.

Verow, 68, cited maintaining a stable tax rate while supporting key public services, encouraging more people to get involved in city government and continuing to offer incentives to new and prospective businesses as his top three priorities.

In other election action, David Austin was elected to the one open seat on the Brewer School Committee, succeeding Mark Chambers, who opted not to seek re-election. Austin, who was unopposed, received 3,233 votes.

Dan O’Connell was unopposed in his bid for the five-year high school district trustee seat that soon will be vacated by his brother, Councilor-elect Kevin O’Connell, and garnered 3,324 votes.

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