1. Why did you decide to become a candidate this year? 

I am running for re-election because I am deeply invested in and care for the students in our community. I have four children – two Bangor High graduates and two younger children currently in Bangor schools. For this reason, I especially value public education and recognize its importance to our city, state, and country. I want to ensure that public education – our Bangor School Department – benefits all the children it serves.  

  1. If elected, what would be your three main priorities? 

I want to be the voice at the table that champions diverse demographic representation and individuals from all backgrounds. It is important for me to continue to work on advancing the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and make sure that all students feel safe and respected. Additionally, I will continue to support best practices to improve mental health and special-needs services for our students. 

I envision a BSD that continues to provide only the best educational opportunities for our children at all levels and in a multitude of skill settings. Our children are facing the most serious issues we have ever encountered, from climate change to the pandemic. We must prepare them so they not only endure these conditions, but they also thrive and prosper despite them. Our students, teachers, staff, and parents need our continued support, and I intend to provide that.  

  1. How do you think Bangor is doing in terms of addressing the wrongs of systemic racism? What steps should we be taking that we are not? 

I think Bangor is making significant strides in addressing systemic racism and racial equity. As a city, we started the Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Human Rights to properly educate, bring awareness to, and advance any and all issues that affect BIPOC communities. The Bangor School Department has also led many new diversity initiatives. As a school committee, we formed the DEI Committee bringing many stakeholders and subject matter experts together to help lead equity work, and we recently partnered with the University of Maine to conduct an equity audit to identify social and racial disparities within our district and form an action plan moving forward. We are solid in our resolve to bring about a sense of belonging for all students, regardless of race or background. There is so much work to be done and a long road ahead, but I am extremely hopeful and optimistic about the work in progress!   

  1. What experience do you have that makes you believe you are the right person to hold this office? 

As a daughter of immigrant parents, I understand the obstacles and challenges many families of different communities face. Furthermore, as all parents do, I have monitored my children’s education and their progress through our school system. I have always volunteered in my children’s classrooms, school events, and other community events, so I know firsthand how our kids are educated.  

  1. What, if any, elected offices have you held and what accomplishments would you like to highlight? 

I am an educator who understands the important policies and processes necessary for successful public education. I have my master’s degree in education from the University of Maine, and I am pursuing my doctoral degree in literacy education, also at UMaine. For the past 10 years, I also volunteered with the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor to assist those who struggle with literacy for whatever reasons. I believe this work changes lives, and I am passionate about giving back to those who most need it.  

I was also honored to chair the Bangor School Committee this year and co-chair the committee’s DEI subcommittee, which brought difficult discussions to the forefront and examined issues and incidents of racism and discrimination.  

Election Day 2022 is Tuesday, November 8. This is called  “midterm election” because it is halfway between presidential elections, which are held every four years. In Maine municipalities with more than 500 residents, polling places open between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.; in towns and cities with fewer than 500 residents, polling opens between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Check local information to learn what time your polling place opens. All Maine polls close at 8 p.m.  

Both of Maine’s U.S. House representatives – Chellie Pingree in the First District and Jared Golden in the Second District – are running for re-election. They both have opponents who would like to hold these seats. Maine uses ranked choice voting for federal offices, which means you may rank your first, second, and other choices on your ballot.  

Every seat in the Maine House and Maine Senate is on the ballot in even-numbered years. Some races are between incumbents (people who hold that office) and challengers (people who would like to hold it). Some races may have no incumbent and be between two or more people who would like to represent that district.  

Voters in some places will be asked to select candidates for local offices, such as city council and school board, and countywide offices like county commissioners, sheriffs, and others.  

Ballots often include “ballot measures,” which are questions proposed by the Legislature or by citizens, and may be different in different locations. Voters select “yes” or “no.”  

Amjambo Africa is highlighting Maine’s BIPOC candidates. This month features Deqa Dhalac, candidate for State House District 120, South Portland, and Regina Phillips, candidate for Portland City Council District 3. Look for more candidates in the November issue, which will be published in late October.  

 Be sure to register to vote! Every U.S. citizen is eligible to register. Contact city or town clerk offices for details, or consult the information in Amjambo’s election feature.The Secretary of State section of Maine.gov includes voting details, links to local offices, and advance planning information about how to vote if you can’t go to a polling place on Election Day.