Election June 12

Library, future of RES property, pathways: Rockport Select Board candidates state their positions

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 2:30pm

ROCKPORT — On June 12, voters in Rockport will choose two new select board members from a field of three candidates. If you missed the May 16 Rockport Select Board candidates’ forum, where four candidates explained their positions on various municipal issues, click here to watch the May 16 Candidates’ Forum.  

The forum, hosted by Penbaypilot.com and the town of Rockport, was moderated by former Selectman Bob Duke.

Questions from the public for candidates Ken McKinley, John Alexander, Debra Hall and Jeff Hamilton included opinions on uses for the former Rockport Elementary School site, how the Select Board should move forward if citizens vote against the proposed Rockport Library project in November and expanding the pathways.

There are two three-year seats available on the Select Board, currently occupied by Chairman Ken McKinley and Owen Casas. The three who are seeking election to the two three-year seats are Hall, Alexander and Hamilton.

There is also a one-year seat that was vacated by former Select Board member Tom Gray, who resigned in March. McKinley is the only candidate seeking that seat.

Casas is not seeking re-election.

A brief biography and positions on the questions for the candidates are as follows:

Ken McKinley

McKinley is a meteorological consultant, providing weather forecasts for ocean going yachts. He has served on the Select Board for the last 6 years and currently serves at the board’s Chair. He has lived in Rockport since 1991.

Positions on questions: 

1. What if the proposed library project is voted down: He feels optimistic about the vote and believes that the town wants a library that people of all ages can use.

2. Future of RES property: Views the space as the “gateway to Rockport” and supports a plan for the property that includes retail space and residencies, while preserving some of the property.

3. Expanding pathways: Supports a network of pedestrian and bicycle paths in town to connect Route 90 to the center of Rockport, schools and possibly West Rockport as well.  

John Alexander

Alexander has served on Rockport’s Planning Board for the past eight years and has served as the chairman for six years. His term on the Planning Board expires in June. He was born in the East End of London. His professional career concluded as a management consultant and facilitator, where he focused on problem resolution.

Positions on questions:

1. What if the proposed library project is voted down: Does not believe a full library is needed in Rockport, given the proximity of Camden and Rockland libraries, but would support a children’s library with Broadbent Internet on the existing library site. 

2. Future of RES property: Would not develop the sports field and supports the addition of retail spaces.

3. Expanding pathways: Supports the work of the committee.

Debra Hall

Hall is an attorney specializing in arbitration and negotiating reinsurance contracts. She has served on Rockport’s Technology Committee and serves on the PenBay Ringers Board which hosts fundraising events to support local charities. Before moving to Rockport, Hall served on four different Home Owner Association boards and as a Village Clerk in Illinois.

Positions on questions:

1. What if the proposed library project is voted down: It would be important to find out why the ballot measure was not approved.

2. Future of RES property: Retail spaces at the site would expand the town’s tax base.

3. Expanding pathways: Supports the goals of the committee, but at what cost?

Jeff Hamilton

Hamilton is a Maine native and was raised in Rumford. He studied chemical engineering at the University of Maine. His professional career included working in the pulp and paper industry for over 30 years. Hamilton is active in the local community as a member of the Camden Rotary Club, Rockport’s Harbor Committee and Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Positions on questions:

1. What if the proposed library project is voted down: It would be important to find out why the ballot measure was not approved.

2. Future of RES property: Supports a survey of Rockport residents to gather information about what they envision for location and the site should generate tax dollars for the town.

3. Expanding pathways: Concerned about the safety issues and the impact on those driving vehicles.

The remaining Rockport candidates for all open seats on town and school board and committees are:

Library Committee - Helen Shaw is seeking a three-year term.

Budget Committee - Helen Shaw is seeking a three-year term.

School Board - Marcia Dietrich and Carole Gartley are seeking to fill the two open seats on the School Administrative District 28 (Camden-Rockport K-8) and Five Town CSD (Camden Hills Regional High School) school boards. Dietrich is seeking a three-year term and Gartley a one-year term.

Election day is Tuesday, June 12 and voting will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Richardson Room at the Rockport Town Office.

Reach Sarah Shepherd on news@penbaypilot.com