All three candidates running for Brewer City Council have been involved in the community for years, and now they want to serve in elected office for the first time.
On Nov. 5, Brewer residents will choose two of the three candidates: Michele LaBree Daniels, Soubanh Phanthay and Trudy Scee.
The two top vote getters will take the place of Council Kevin O’Connell and Mayor Beverly Uhlenhake, who have chosen not to run again, according to City Clerk Ronda Hogan. O’Connell has been on the council since 2010, and Uhlenhake since 2013. Brewer does not have a limit on the number of terms city councilors can serve.
In addition to the three City Council candidates, three candidates — including one incumbent — are running for one open seat on the Brewer School Committee.
The candidates are shown in alphabetical order.
Michele LaBree Daniels
Michele LaBree Daniels, 52, heads the Brewer Neighborhood Watch, which is an official watchdog group registered with the National Sheriffs’ Association and National Neighborhood Watch.
Group members are encouraged to be in touch with local law enforcement to report crime and work with the city to help make Brewer a safe place to live.
A retired genealogist, Daniels decided to run because she said she can help people more effectively if she’s part of local government.
“One of the biggest problems that Brewer faces is increasing drug use,” she said. “Just being able to give the police and first responders the tools they need is important.”
Daniels, who lives with her husband, Tim, would also like to improve the city’s communication with residents to inform them about opportunities to be more active in the community.
“Most people don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “I think communication and connection with the people in the city is important.”
Daniels said she is an independent.
Soubanh Phanthay, 44, is a commercial photographer who has lived in Brewer for 17 years. He has been involved in planning events such as the Brewer Riverwalk Festival and the annual pop culture convention in Bangor, Downeast Fantasy Con.
“I’m pretty active in the community, and I would like to have some say in what direction the town is going,” he said.
Phanthay is originally from Thailand and immigrated to Maine in 1980. “I only point that out because sometimes I see things differently than other people do,” he said.
Phanthay, who lives with his wife, Jen, and daughter, Charlotte, said he can help Brewer do a better job at communicating, whether it’s about explaining recent trash pickup changes to publicizing events in town.
He said he would like to follow the example of some Bangor city councilors who he said do a good job of keeping residents updated.
Phanthay said he is registered as a Republican.
Trudy Scee is an author and former adjunct professor of American history at the University of Maine and Husson University.
As a councilor, the New York native said she would focus on making sure Brewer schools are well funded, bringing new businesses to the city and ensuring the success of existing businesses, and protecting resources such as the Penobscot River and Brewer’s new riverwalk.
“I’ve always been interested in public service,” she said. “I want to make a difference in my community.”
Scee declined to share her party affiliation, but said she identifies as a moderate — socially progressive and fiscally conservative.
She also declined to state her age or say with whom she lives in Brewer, saying those details are irrelevant to the campaign.