Meet the City Council and School Committee Candidates

By Lura Jackson

 

On Tuesday, November 7th, residents of Calais will have the opportunity to vote for two candidates to sit on both the school committee and the city council. For both committees, there are three potential candidates for voters to choose from. 

For the city council, the three potential candidates are returning councilors Cecil “Eddie” Moreside and Scott Geel. They are being challenged by newcomer Mark Carr. 

Mark Carr was born and raised in Baileyville, and he has been living in Calais for the past 25 years with his wife, Shannon. He was on the Fire Department in Calais for 12 years, and as part of that he was involved with different associations in officer roles. He now works for Fairpoint Communications, which has become Consolidated Communications. He has previously served on the planning board of appeals in Calais.

Carr said he has always thought about being on the city council, and he “decided it was time to see what I could do to help inspire growth and change in Calais.” Carr plans to focus on economic development and has some ideas as to how that could happen. “We need to do what we can to get businesses to come to Calais. Calais is at a disadvantage in some regards for industries like trucking, but there are plenty of opportunities that do exist. Whatever we can do to ease up the tax burden on citizens and make the city more financially stable.”

If elected, Carr said that his primary focus would be “exploring options for tax relief on the citizens, whether it be attracting industry or through other options. We’ve got an aging community, a large percentage of which is on a fixed income.”

“I don’t feel as though the present council is doing a bad job, but a change can bring new ideas, or a new perspective on old issues.”

Eddie Moreside was born and raised in Calais, and he has “never left”. In 1996, he began working as an EMT with McGovern’s Ambulance, moving over to Down East EMS when it formed in 2001. While working for Down East EMS, he has served first as an Advanced EMT, then as Operations Manager, and he is now the Director of the organization.

 Moreside has served as a city councilor for the past three years. In that time, he has served on five of the six committees within the council. He has enjoyed the public works and economic development committees the most.

Moreside was initially inspired to run for the council because he “saw the potential of building Calais back up to what it used to be.” Since being on the council, he has been glad to see the economic development within the community as well as the infrastructure improvements, including street repairs and sewer improvements. He credits the improvements with the council that is presently sitting, himself included.

“I want to continue with the economic development, and keep taxes at bay. For the last 3 years, we haven’t raised the mil rate. If we can get economic development to continue, we won’t have to raise the mil rate,” Moreside said.

Moreside said it has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Calais on the city council, and added that he fervently believes in the potential of the city to attract people by holding public events such as outdoor music concerts and street fairs. “We have to spend money to make money, but we have to spend it responsibly,” Moreside said.

Incumbent councilor Scott Geel was unavailable for comment.

School Committee Candidates

There are two seats available on the school committee, and neither Lea Farrar or John Hill will be running to reclaim their seats. The three people who are seeking a seat on the committee are Dale Earle, Kevin Niles, and Thomas Robb.

Dale Earle has spent the past several years working as a law enforcement officer in Washington County. Most recently, he has served as the police chief for Eastport Police Department. Earle has previously served on the Calais School Committee for a total of approximately four years, and he has served on the school committee of SAD 74.

“I enjoy working for kids and with them,” Earle said. “I want them to receive the best education we can provide them while being fiscally responsible. I am a strong supporter of kids and education in general. I love serving the community in the capacity of a school board member.”

Kevin Niles has lived in Calais for the past ten years, and he has co-operated a successful business, Crumbs, for three of those years. He spent two years of college training to be a teacher, which he said was a strong potential career for him. “I really like politics, so I wanted to get involved in the community. I thought the best way to do that was to run for the school board.” Niles has an 11-year old son in the Calais school system. “I have a saying that if you don’t like what’s going on in your community, you need to get involved to make a change, if not, then you have no reason to complain.” Niles said that he has a passion for helping children and he felt that the best way to do so was to join the school board. 

Thomas Robb was previously the guidance counselor at Calais Middle High School. He retired in 2015 and now lives on a flourishing small farm on Hardscrabble Road. He has three daughters and reflects on the difficulties of raising children in modern society as well as the joys of seeing them grow and learn. 

Robb said that he is running for the school committee “to give back to my community, during my retirement years, for all the Calais community has given to me,” as well as to use his school experience “to help Calais students to continue to succeed and prosper.” He elaborates that during his more than 30 years in education he has gained insight into a variety of educational philosophies. 

“To maintain the best educational system possible, we must wisely use our resources available to us to continue to make the public school experience a positive one for all of our students,” Robb said. “We might share teachers among neighboring schools to give our students access to as many academic courses as possible, for example, or consider how transportation and nonrenewable resources such as paper could be shared to lower costs. Our community must be efficient in distributing our budget to develop the highest academic levels we can, helping our students to compete with more affluent areas of the state.”