- Why did you decide to become a candidate this year?
I’ve been in public service most of my life and have worked hard in collaboration with others to address social issues and advocate for fair and equitable treatment of all persons. I decided to run because I want to “sit at the table” with others and develop solutions that address family and community needs, and I think we have the right people on city council to do this.
- If elected, what would be your three main priorities?
Youth and families, homelessness and housing, and preschool to postgraduate education.
- How do you think Portland is doing in terms of addressing the wrongs of systemic racism? What steps should we be taking that we are not?
The city formed a committee to address racial equity, which produced recommendations. I think city council needs to review the recommendations, determine which to prioritize, develop a plan with a timeline – including who is responsible and accountable for each priority or goal – and then go to work to address racial and social justice.
- What experience do you have that makes you believe you are the right person to hold this office?
I’m a ninth-generation Mainer who grew up in Portland and, along with my husband, raised three children here. For many years, I served on the executive committee of the Portland branch of the NAACP, chaired the education committee, and assisted in planning the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration. My professional experience includes running a Head Start center, managing Portland’s homeless family shelter and refugee services programs, working for the Westbrook School Department, and now serving as Chief Operating Officer for Cross-Cultural Community Services, which I co-founded with my colleagues. We provide consultation on equity, diversity, and inclusion, and limited health-related education and services.
- What, if any, elected offices have you held, and what accomplishments would you like to highlight?
I tried to run for school board in 2005, when I worked for the city of Portland, but was told it was a conflict of interest. I have not held elected office.
In addition to my professional career, my accomplishments include establishing, chairing, and participating in countless committees with providers, educators, business and religious leaders, community members, and local and state officials to address issues like homelessness, housing, employment, education, healthcare, juvenile justice, child protective services, and racial and social justice.
- What do you believe should be done to address Maine’s affordable housing crisis?
We have a housing crisis in Portland at all levels: homelessness, renting, and home owning. City council needs to respond urgently. I would like to see more focus on affordable housing and housing first, improved zoning, and increased housing units in general. I believe Portland City Council needs to work with partners like the state, renters, landlords, Community Action Programs, homeless advocates, and developers. We need as many people as possible working together to address this crisis.
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.