Wiscasset selectboard candidate Sarah Whitfield

Mon, 05/20/2024 - 8:45am

Occupation: Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement, Maine Law; co-sabbatical pastor, Foreside Community Church

Education: BA (Colby College), MPP (American University), PhD (University of Southern Maine), one of three certificates: in progress (Maine School of Ministry)

Political History: (Board, Committees, other): Wiscasset Board of Selectmen (2020-Present, Chair 2021-Present); Wiscasset School Board (2005-2009, vice chair 2009); Comprehensive Plan Committee (2022-Present, Current chair)

Clubs/Organizations: Wiscasset Creative Alliance, Board of Directors (2020-Present); Wiscasset Wormfest, Founding Member (2023-Present); Wiscasset Public Library, Board of Corporators (2020-Present); Summerfest Committee, First Congregational Church

Considering the office you are running for, what do you feel are the three most pressing issues (350 words or less): Division and negativity continue to be a major problem in this community. I strongly believe that the majority of issues, including economic and financial, are made worse when a community is divided. When we cannot come together to talk about solutions with respect and consideration for others, it is more difficult to solve problems. If re-elected I want to continue to try to improve transparency and understanding of local government as one way to help address that division. We’ve been putting out more information via our website, the TextMyGov service and the Selectboard bulletins, but we can do even more. I’ve seen and heard so much misinformation and just completely false statements both online and by word of mouth in this last year and I hope to address that more effectively in these next two years. I also believe in leading by example and I hope to continue putting forth an example of someone who listens to all viewpoints before making a decision and encourages public participation.

 
Budgets and taxes are always going to be two of the most pressing issues in our town. The cost of everything continues to go up and we need to continue to look at ways to do things differently, more efficiently, and at a lower cost, while also being open to possibilities. We finally have an economic development director who is well on his way to helping new businesses and development come into town. But we also need to look hard at what we want as a town, mainly through the comprehensive plan process (which allows us to really think ahead to what we want to see this town look like ten years from now) but also through the budget process each year. We have a lot of services that other towns our size do not have (our own EMS, police, transfer station, community center, etc.), and those are things I personally want, but if those things are not what the majority of the town wants, we need to have a serious conversation about that and come up with a solution.
 

Any other thoughts on why you are running or what you can bring to the office? 150 words or less: For me personally, the ideal selectman is someone who is level-headed, is willing to listen to all points of view, even opposing ones, is prepared for every meeting and asks questions, and most importantly, is an active member of the community, willing to be out and about at events, meetings, and ready to respond to community members whenever the need arises. I believe I am all of these things and more. I’ve missed only one meeting in four years, I’ve tried to increase transparency with the Selectboard Bulletin and more information on the website, text service, and Facebook page, and information to the local papers. I’ve also tried to run all meetings in a respectful and efficient manner while always allowing public participation. I would be honored to receive your vote on June 11.