2021 Municipal Election Candidate Bios
Town Council: 3-year Term (3 seats open)
Click names to read candidate-submitted biographies.
- Ashley Case
- Daniel LaPointe
- Alyce Lew
- Laura Mitchell
- Cheryl Robertson
- Geoffrey Wingard
- Khawla Abu-Sheikh Wise
My name is Ashley Case, and I am the mother of a wonderful Asa Adams fourth grader, wife to a University of Maine professor, and new homeowner of a much-less-than-new home. I recently went back to school to pursue a graduate degree in environmental policy and will finish in May. Our family loves skiing, hiking, paddling, and enjoying all the beauty our hometown and state has to offer. I grew up in Milo, Maine and left for college in Vermont. While I was away, I traveled the world and studied law and policy as a minor for my English degree. But Maine has always been my home, and I came back after college and started a family.
Since moving to town, I’ve become a member of the Orono Dems, volunteered at several caucuses, and have served as the committee Secretary for the last two terms. Throughout this time I’ve had the privilege to learn from the organization and those involved in it. I am running for Town Council because I want to serve our community, especially during this time of evolution. I believe that practical regulation and development will help Orono keep its place as one of the most attractive communities in Maine, even in this complicated and changing world. I will bring my education, experience, and deep love of this community and state to the Town Council.
Bio not yet submitted by candidate
Hello hello! My name is Alyce Lew (she/hers) and I am running for a 3-Year Term Councilor position. Originally “from Away,” I’ve been living/working in Orono for around 8 years. I live in downtown Orono with a rather grumpy rescue cat named Edgar.
My personal and professional style is community-oriented, direct, and solutions-based which is how I plan to serve as a town councilor. I am not opposed to making decisions when needed, but I prefer to seek out group input/consensus for what needs to be done. I would love to help continue to strengthen the relationship between the Town and the University which I know has been something the Council and Sophie/Belle have been working on because our successes are intimately linked together.
I love this town and the people. My deep connection with this place comes from the natural beauty that I get to dig my hands into during the summer at the Orono Community Garden and the beautiful moments shared with friends and neighbors from community dinners to random run-ins across town. I hope that I am granted the opportunity to give back to this community that has given me so much.
Please 'follow/like' me on Facebook at Alyce Lew for Orono Town Councilor for updates and more info about me in the coming weeks. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and hope to see you around town. Don’t be afraid to say hello!
My name is Laura Hoovler Mitchell and I'm running for election to Orono's town council. The election is March 9, 2021. I'd enjoy hearing from you about your impressions of Orono. If you don't know me, our family lives on Cromwell Drive. I moved to Orono when I was 12 and attended OHS and the University of Maine studying biology. I lived in Boston and San Francisco working in commercial real estate and advertising before returning to Orono for grad school doing a masters in environmental science and community development.
My husband and I have lived in Bangor and Hampden and have two kids in the Orono school system, a 6th grader, Nina, and a fourth grader, Will.
I serve on the Orono Veazie Water District Board, have been a member of the City of Bangor Planning Board and Historic Preservation Commission, the Bangor Land Trust Board, and have worked at the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Maine Development Corporation, and United Way of Eastern Maine.
Currently, I run my own consulting company, am the director of Bangor’s Community Health Leadership Board, and do group facilitation and leadership training through LM Strategy, LLC and Starboard Leadership Consulting.
I love Orono - its restaurants, trails, sidewalks, friendly people, the University, rivers, and the amazing schools. My family couldn't be happier to be here and have our children grow up here. I enjoy community, group, and municipal process, and it would be a pleasure to serve the residents of Orono and this community on the town council.
Cheryl Robertson, Ed.D has served three years on Orono Town Council. As an incumbent, her experience in service to Orono has been one of growth and learning; not only about the responsibilities of local government but also as a better communicator. During her term, Cheryl drafted and submitted a proposal to create an ad hoc community-based Environment Committee charged with helping to reduce Orono’s environmental footprint. Cheryl is actively working to give all community members access to recycling, and introduced a Recycling Reform resolution to be adopted by the town of Orono that supports the state-wide initiative to involve producers of wasteful packaging in disposal and reimburse a portion of municipal recycling costs in the form of revenue for the Town of Orono.
An Orono resident since 2005, Cheryl frequented Orono as a student at UM and received an undergraduate and later her doctorate in Education. She was an instructor in the College of Education and Human Development, as well as a Student Success Coach with the Office of International programs. Pre-covid, Councilor Robertson introduced incoming international students to the Town of Orono as a place that values diversity and cultural expression and where they could feel safe. She organized Orono’s first ever “Kid’s Night at Council” and joins in the Street and Stream Clean-Up as well as other local happenings. She continues to mentor students and connect with friends and colleagues at the University and especially values their input and expertise when working and collaborating on projects that benefit our community. Cheryl also appreciates the activism and local support and response that seeks to continue to keep Orono a caring community that honors not only civil rights, but civil responsibilities. Personally, Cheryl enjoys kayaking the Stillwater, walking the trails, eating at local restaurants, and shopping locally. As a parent, challenges of parenthood were consistently met with an invaluable, child-rearing Village! Service to this community, she feels, has been and continues to be a valued opportunity to give back to a place she calls home.
I am Geoff Wingard and I’m running for Town Council because while I know that Orono is confronted with significant challenges, I believe we possess unique and powerful assets to help overcome them. When I consider what makes Orono special I think of the inclusiveness of our community, the environmental quality of our region, and the diversity and work ethic of our people. First, as a Councilor I hope to represent the entire community as we work to attract and retain an economically and demographically diverse population. Orono is a place where elders mix with students and young families rub shoulders with retirees. Council should be involved in facilitating opportunities for the various segments of our community to come together and it should refine its strategy for increasing demographic and cultural diversity in Orono. Second, we enjoy living in an area that is rich in environmental resources, but we sometimes forget how privileged we are to have access to the woods and waters of our region. Council should continue to work with landowners who graciously permit public use of their land and it should recognize the importance of protecting public spaces that attract residents and businesses. Finally, we must also realize that Orono is more than just a bedroom community. People work here in many fields. Council must realize that brick-and-mortar businesses, e-jobs, the gig economy, and the service sector each contribute to the economic viability of our community and that all need to be supported. The actions of Town Council should not merely be regulatory – they should support businesses that allow people to earn a living in our town.
I am committed to helping Orono prosper and public service has been a hallmark of my life in Orono. I have served on local boards, the School Committee, and as a community volunteer and coach. Professionally my life has also been devoted to public service as a teacher and a police officer. Finally, I have a listening ear. I want to understand your vision of Orono’s future. I welcome hearing your thoughts and opinions on the issues facing Orono.
Bio not yet submitted by candidate
Town Council: 2-year Term (1 seat open)
Click names to read candidate-submitted biographies.
I have lived in Orono for over 50 years – first as a University student, then as an employee of the Orono School Department for 33 years and now as a retiree. My wife Connie and I raised our two children here and they greatly benefited from the education they received and the resources the community offered. Orono has been a wonderful place to live and I look forward to giving back to the community through continued service on the Town Council.
I have served five terms on the Council and during that time I have chaired the Council’s Finance and Operations Committee and since December I have also served as Council Chair. In addition, for the last eight years I have represented our senatorial district as a member of the Maine Municipal Association’s Legislative Policy Committee that establishes a position on each piece of proposed legislation which affects Maine towns and cities.
Prior to serving on the council I served on the Orono Planning Board, the Orono Library Foundation and several other community committees.
I decided to seek another term on the Council in order to continue my involvement in the important work ahead of us. This work includes continuing to implement the recommendations found in Orono’s Comprehensive Plan, working to develop budgets that balance the needs of the community with the town’s finite resources, maintaining the high quality services that Orono residents enjoy, advocating at the state level for legislation that benefits municipalities and working to make Orono an even more attractive and welcoming community for all residents and visitors. I look forward to this important work and believe that I can make a positive contribution to the Council’s work.
Anastasia Stanek is a University of Maine Honors Student who is dedicated to public service. Before coming to Orono, she developed her results-oriented skillset by working with a number of nonprofits including the Boys and Girls Club, the Humane Society, and United Way. In the nonprofit sector, she headed many projects such as program development, fundraising, organizing, digital marketing, community outreach, and teaching, among other things.
Now, she is heavily involved in both the University and the Town of Orono.
In Orono, she is an advocate for progress on the Environment Committee and the Historical Society. At the University, she is a leader in the Maine Peace Action Committee and the Student Advisory Board. Anastasia is running for Orono Town Council because she believes that representation is important and she wants to be a voice for the students in local government. As a liaison between the Town of Orono and the University, she will work to improve COVID-19 recovery, green economic development, and to unify family, elder, and student communities. She also recognizes the limitless potential of what the students at UMaine could contribute to the town and it is her goal to facilitate that positive impact. For more information on Anastasia Stanek, please visit www.anastasiastanek.com
RSU No. 26 School Board: 3-year term (2 seats open)
Click names to read candidate-submitted biographies.
My name is Mark Brewer and I am seeking reelection to the RSU 26 (Orono) School Board of Directors. I live in Orono with my wife Tammy and four children, all of whom attend Orono schools. I am a Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine, where I have worked since 2004. In addition to my experience on the School Board, I volunteer extensively in the Orono community.
I believe schools are central to any community. They are where we educate our children, where we watch them learn and grow, and where we often come together as a community. Ensuring that our schools are strong and healthy is of the utmost importance, and this is why I want to continue to serve on the RSU 26 (Orono) School Board of Directors. The primary role of an Orono School Board member is to work tirelessly to ensure the best education possible for all of the students enrolled in Orono schools while at the same time being a responsible and prudent steward of the schools' resources, provided by the residents of Orono. Ultimately I would like Orono schools to be the best in the greater Bangor area, and eventually the best in Maine. We owe nothing less than this to the students who pass and will pass through Orono's school doors. As a member of the Orono community and a parent of Orono school children I pledge to work continuously to improve our schools.
I have lived in Orono for over a decade and have two children who have each attended all three of our schools. I am running for the school board because I am passionate about education. Educating our youth is central to building the future of our town, our country and our economy. I teach at the University of Maine, and, in a previous career, worked as a business consultant for over a decade. I bring not just a commitment to education but a suite of management and finance skills that can benefit our district.
I am a firm believer that the best decisions come out of a good process. For the school board to deliver on the goals, values and vision of the community, decisions need to be taken by listening to the students, the public and our professional educators. As the chair of the board in recent years, I have worked hard to ensure that we seek input not just through welcoming comments at board meetings but via surveys and community meetings. And I have worked hard to create a culture where different groups of stakeholders see the benefits of collaborating to pursue excellence.
The hardest question as a board member is how much to spend (and tax). Overall I think our school budgets match community expectations, so that innovation should come from reallocating existing resources dynamically, while also keeping pace with inflation and increasing student enrollments and ensuring competitive pay for staff. The one notable exception is the lack of investment in our buildings for the last 40 years, and I am proud to have helped spear-head a very carefully cost-controlled effort to improve our buildings (which has resulted in a tax impact noticeably less than presented to the voters when they voted on the bond). I hope to continue on the board to see this effort to completion.
Other important priorities for the board this year include continuing already started work on diversity, equity and inclusion and continuing to manage schools through COVID so that they remain safe while maximizing the education we deliver.
RSU No. 26 School Board: 1-year term (1 seat open)
Click names to read candidate-submitted biographies.
I am running for re-election for the RSU 26 school board because I am an advocate for each and every child within this community. As an Orono school system alumnus, a youth sports coach, and a parent to 3 Orono students, I bring a unique perspective and knowledge to represent the wonderful families of this district.
My experience as a small business owner for the past 24 years, as well as my combined 7 years as an RSU 26 School Board and School Consolidation member, will be of tremendous value as we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times.
Having worked with four superintendents I bring a very comprehensive understanding of what is needed to work with the administrators to set policies in our school system so that we continue to provide the high standard of education that RSU 26 is known for. Since moving back to Orono with my family in 2004, all 3 of our children have attended Orono schools for their entire K-12 experience. Having firsthand knowledge of each of the three schools has been extremely helpful while serving on the school board.
I also understand that many challenges lie ahead of us. While physical safety for students and staff remains a high priority, the data continues to grow on the mental health epidemic resulting from the pandemic. Our students have been greatly impacted over the last 11 months and it is imperative that we also continue identifying ways to support them.
We are also being faced with uncertainty when it comes to school funding for our district. State funding and school budgeting has been an area of focus in my tenure as a school board member. I served on the Finance Committee representing Orono’s interests during the formation of RSU 26 working with Glenburn and Veazie representatives. I also served on the finance committee after the formation of the RSU.
In our current climate, I believe “experience matters”. I would appreciate your vote on March 9th.
I am running for a seat on the RSU 26 school board because I am passionate about public education. Our children deserve the best education we can provide, with the most opportunities and in the safest environment possible.
My family moved to Orono just months before the pandemic began. We came to Maine because of a job opportunity, and chose to live in Orono for the quality of the public school system. I grew up attending a public school and I am the child of a lifelong educator. My professional training includes a degree in Dentistry and a Masters of Public Health. After finishing my dental residency at a Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, I worked full time at a community clinic before training in public health. Two years as Dental Director at the Vermont Department of Health was followed by a return to clinical practice. In Vermont, I worked with a community group to start a small not-for-profit dental practice, where I served as the director and clinical dentist until moving to Orono.
This year has not been easy for anyone. Like many other families, ours had to make hard choices about childcare and employment. As a full-time stay at home dad, I did my best to navigate remote learning for an elementary school child, and engaged as much as possible at school board meetings. The effort by everyone in our community this past year, most especially our educators, has been monumental.
I believe that the role of the board is to foster an environment where students and educators can succeed. We must work together to ensure our schools can give as many students as possible the opportunity to safely attend in person. We need to be creative in adapting our routines and activities, and apply public health guidance to create a healthy and safe environment where students, teachers, and all members of the RSU 26 community can achieve excellence. As the parent of an Asa C. Adams student and a community member, I will work to ensure our students and teachers get the support they deserve. https://www.facebook.com/PatrickRowe4Orono