The upcoming election for mayor of Belfast, Councilor for Ward Three, and Councilor for Ward will determine the city’s direction for the next two years. Two of the positions are uncontested; Ward Three (and all of Belfast) will choose between two candidates, Brenda Bonneville and Sophia Ridgely Fuller.
The Ward Three contest is about many things, but there are several things it is not about.
It is not about Nordic Aquafarms (the fish farm project), as the council has already given its stamp of approval and the project’s destiny now lies with lawyers and scientists who must ultimately decide its fate.
It is not about saving the environment, as Belfast is already taking steps to promote solar energy, clean up polluted properties (Brownfields Assessment program), eliminate plastic bags and styrofoam containers, and convene a Climate Crisis Committee.
And it is not about which candidate knows the most about city government. Neither has been a city councilor before; both have much to learn. Their votes on the council will depend on enormous amounts of new knowledge that emerge and evolve over time.
The problems facing Belfast now, the ones we MUST do something about, involve our tax base, infrastructure repair, diversity of new jobs, and affordable housing. It will take a functioning city council, working as a team and open to new ideas, to move government forward over the next two years.
We will need a representative who can work with other councilors, welcome input from both her friends and opponents, and commit herself to solving the hard issues facing our community.
I know that Brenda Bonneville has these qualities.
She has demonstrated them in her capacity as mother, merchant, director, engaged citizen, and friend. To know her is to know of her honesty, intelligence, warmth, and humility. Change is inevitable, change is hard. That is why I want to hand the wheel of city government to people I know and trust, people who know how to apply both the brakes AND press the accelerator, who have the courage to take our community where it needs to go.
That is why I am voting for Brenda Bonneville for Councilor of Ward Three on November 5, and encourage you to do the same.
David Loxterkamp, MD, lives in Belfast.