DEXTER, Maine — The new year will bring a new look to the Town Council as three new members will be sworn in. Two town councilors have decided not to seek re-election and another decided to resign at year’s end, which has resulted in four candidates vying for three open seats on the November ballot.
Former Councilor Fred Banks and newcomer Michael Blake are seeking election to three-year terms. The two men are the only candidates for the two three-year terms on the ballot.
Two women are seeking election to the one two-year vacancy created by Councilman David Clukey’s resignation.
The two women are both newcomers to town and operate their own businesses. Denise Dinsmore is the proprietor of Home Living, an assisted living facility, in Hampden. She has lived in town for the past 10 years. Bonnie Morrison moved to Dexter three years ago after growing up in Michigan and living in more than 32 states. She operates the Dexter Cab Co.
Both women said their major goal was to bring jobs to the town. This is the first time either one has run for elective office.
Dinsmore has been active in the Sunrise Kiwanis Club and is a member of the Christian Community Church. Dinsmore has also been involved in the Maine Special Olympics. She grew up in Rumford and later started her own business in Hampden after working for several years in the health care field.
She moved to Dexter in 2002 in order to be closer to her parents. Dinsmore wants to become more involved in town affairs and plans on bringing her assisted living facility business to town in the future.
“I’m committed to Dexter. I want to become more involved in town affairs. I plan on moving my business here from Hampden,” Dinsmore said. “I’m running for the council because it’s important to make Dexter more attractive. We need to attract more businesses to town, which will result in more people moving here.”
Morrison worked in several different professions before assuming the ownership of the Dexter Cab Co.
She has worked as a hygienist, photojournalist and social worker. She moved to Maine after living in various regions of the country. Prior to moving to Dexter, she had never been to the Northeast. She moved here in 2009.
“I love it here, which makes me want to become involved with the community,” Morrison said. “The best part of running for town council is that you don’t have to be a Republican or Democrat or independent. You just need to have a desire to do what is fair and right.”
The Dinsmore/Morrison winner will serve the remaining two years of Clukey’s term. He decided to resign due to his wife’s and his own health problems. Clukey also indicated he found it difficult to deal with Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs.
Clukey and fellow Councilor Rick Goodwin expressed concerns about comments made by Briggs about the majority of the council about reducing $27,800 from the budget. Both men have decided not to continue their service. Another councilor, Steve Gudroe, indicated when he was elected in 2009 that he would serve only one term.
Banks has previously served 2½ terms on the council. He attends council meetings frequently and said he believes he can help bring consensus between Briggs and those councilors who oppose her.
“I’m a moderate and I think I can bring each side to a common ground,” Banks said. “It’s a mystery to me why there is such a controversy between the town manager and some council members. That’s part of the reason why I’m running is to find out exactly what the problem is.”
The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the Dexter Town Hall. The municipal office will be closed on Election Day.