DEXTER - Economic diversity and the creation of jobs are foremost in the minds of the four candidates seeking two positions on the Dexter Town Council, but the similarity ends there.
Christopher Holt, Richard Goodwin, Judith (Wilbur) Craig and Donald Goerlitz are vying for the two three-year terms on the council in this Penobscot County town.
The polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the VFW Hall on Cedar Street.
Holt, 36, a small-business owner, believes the town must offer incentives to new businesses to settle in town. "I would like to see Dexter continue to prosper as a small community; to do this we must seek out new businesses to move into town," he said. Dexter has much to offer, he stated, citing the airport, the work force, and the vacant buildings owned by Dexter Shoe Co. as examples. As the owner of a restaurant and antiques business in the community, he said he is well aware of what it takes to keep a business in operation. He is not afraid of hard work and considers himself a team player, he said.
If elected, Holt said, he would work to make council meetings more "citizen-friendly." "I believe everyone should have a voice and that voice should be heard," he said.
Goodwin, 53, materials coordinator at Cooper-Weymouth Peterson in Clinton, said Dexter has seen its employment base shift over the years from the closing of the canneries, woolen mills and, most recently, shoe manufacturing. "How well we as a community bounce back depends in large part upon the vision, creativity and hard work of the Town Council and town manager," he said.
The council should and will have its own divergent views on matters, but Goodwin said municipal and community leaders need to act with a strong, coherent voice to guide the town through any rough waters ahead.
"If elected to the council, I hope to be part of a team that readies the town for the next employment opportunity by working to create a business-friendly environment," Goodwin said. He believes there will be some difficult budget choices facing the Town Council in 2003. "I see moderate growth of our tax base, both business and residential, as our best chance to keep the mill rate at a manageable level," he said.
Goodwin said the community must not lose focus on what makes Dexter the great town that it is. "We need to work to keep it clean, attractive and provide the basic services to a high level," Goodwin said. "This will serve to keep our current residents here and attract others to our town."
Goerlitz, 69, said the community has a strong work force and vacant storefronts that should be marketed. The town is in need of specialty stores that do not compete with existing business, such as a sporting goods store, he said. "We should strive to get more business on Main Street," the Tri-County Technical Center teacher said.
While he recognizes that the town must hold the line on taxes, he said the town could no longer delay needed improvements to municipal facilities.
"I've served on the ad hoc public safety committee and I see what's needed in the town, and I would like to continue to work to accomplish that goal," Goerlitz said.
Craig, 48, who is self-employed, believes lack of employment is the town's biggest issue, she said. "I feel that Dexter has to reinvent itself since the demise of factory-type work; and that while keeping our family and Dexter traditions alive, we do have to cultivate our many local entrepreneurs and home-based businesses."
A sixth-generation Dexter resident, Craig calls herself an optimist. "Dexter is now in a very exciting transition and I want to be part of the history in the making," she said. Things are improving in the community because retail sales are up, the town is in a real estate boom and welfare is down.
Craig said she has been helping small businesses through her consulting firm, Judy Craig Consulting, and is willing to listen to concerns residents may have. "I feel qualified to make good judgments for the town," she said.
In other Dexter races Steven Foster and Gary Sinclair are seeking two of the three three-year terms on the SAD 46 board.
Gregory Brawn and Wayne Clukey are candidates for the two three- year positions on the utility district, and Patricia Tobin and Stephen Whitesel are candidates for the two three-year terms on the HAD 4 board of directors.
Election voting polls will be set up in the VFW Hall located on Cedar Street. Polls will be open from 9:00AM until 8:00PM. Sample ballots may be viewed at the Town Office. If you have questions concerning the November 5th election or voter registration please contact Shelley Watson, the Registrar of Voters, at 924-7351.
In the event you will be unable to get to the polls on election day, registered voters can vote via absentee ballot. In order to acquire an absentee ballot, the registered voter can visit the Town Office or request a ballot by phone or by mail. A third person can also pick up an absentee ballot for a registered voter, but only the voter can designate a 3rd person to deliver a ballot and it must be done through a written request.
There are a number of special requirements associated with voting via absentee ballot and those can be best explained by our Town Clerk/Registrar of Voters. If you have questions concerning absentee voting please call or stop by the Dexter Town Office.
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