A man who fell short in each of his campaigns for Ellsworth City Council over the past three years found success Tuesday, winning one of two available seats on the board.
Gene Lyons ran for the seven-seat council in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and was defeated each time. But this year he received the second highest vote total out of four council candidates on the city ballot.
Dale Hamilton, the incumbent council chairman, received the most votes with 2,418 while Lyons received 2,158 votes. In their unsuccessful bids, Bronson Platner got 1,633 votes and Edmund “Mike” Springer got 1,133.
Lyons, 53, is an Army veteran who works for concrete supplier Owen J. Folsom Inc. He will replace John Moore, a retired teacher who has held a seat on the council since 2003 but decided not to seek reelection.
Lyons and Hamilton each won three-year terms on the board and are expected to be sworn in Monday.
One issue that awaits them will be whether the city should allow downtown crosswalks to be painted in rainbow colors to show support for the local LGBTQ community. Hamilton has voiced support for the proposal while Lyons said during the campaign that he opposes it.
A group of students at Ellsworth High School who received school board approval to paint crosswalks at the high school and at Ellsworth Elementary Middle School approached the council with a similar request for downtown crosswalks.
The council rejected the request by a 3-3-1 vote in August, but agreed to establish a committee to look into safety issues that could arise from painting the crosswalks. The committee is expected to meet at City Hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the topic.
In the city’s contested school board race, Elizabeth Alteri and Kelly McKenney each were elected, beating three other candidates in the race for two available seats. McKenney got 2,135 votes and Alteri got 1,885 votes.
In their unsuccessful bids, Kelli Casey received 1,157 votes, incumbent school board member Rob Hudson received 1,154 votes and Joel Horne received 893 votes.