ROCKLAND, Maine ― A newcomer and a former mayor were elected to the city council Tuesday from a pool of five candidates.
Newcomer Sarah Austin and former mayor Lousie MacLellan-Ruf won with 1,580 and 1,385 votes respectively. Candidates Adam Lachman received 1,371 votes, Ian Emmott received 1,175 votes and Ryan Smith received 661 votes.
The two incoming city council members are filling the seats vacated by two-term councilor Valli Geiger, the Democratic candidate for the House seat representing Rockland and Owl’s Head, and Mayor Lisa Westkaemper, who did not seek reelection after her first term.
The new councilors will be sworn in later this month and will serve a three-year term.
An upstate New York native, Austin has lived in Rockland full-time since 2018, after making stops in the city’s harbor over her decade-long schooner career.
Austin now works as an office manager for a local accounting firm, serves on the board of directors for the nonprofit One Less Worry and serves as chair of the city’s parks and recreation committee.
During the campaign, Austin said Rockland needs to focus on how to make more affordable housing available in the city.
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MacLellan-Ruf has lived in Rockland since the early 2000s, after working as a social worker and therapist in southern New England.
Beginning in 2013, MacLellan-Ruf served one three-year term on the council. During that time, she served as mayor for a year. After not seeking reelection, she shifted her efforts to working on the harbor trail committee and the harbor management commission, which she chairs.
MacLellan-Ruf sought to rejoin the council largely because she felt councilors have failed to listen to the recommendations of the city’s advisory committees and commissions.
She said the city council needs to focus on the immediate issues facing Rockland rather than national or global issues.