2024 Election Candidate Bios
Click names to read candidate-submitted biographies. School Board candidates follow below Town Council candidates.
THREE (3) Town Council seats open, 3 year terms
I moved to Orono almost 15 years ago for graduate school, where I got a Master’s Degrees in Public Administration and Business Administration. Even though I had no intention of staying here after I graduated, I quickly came to realize what a wonderful town Orono is. It is because of my love for this town…and meeting my wife, Jessica…that I have chosen here to build my life and family here.
On the professional side, I am a commercial lender at Bangor Savings Bank where I work with businesses and non-profit organizations in the Greater Bangor area. Outside of work, I am involved in the community through service on boards and committees, with Habitat for Humanity, the Penobscot Theatre, and the Katahdin Area Council (Boy Scouts). I also volunteer with Junior Achievement at Asa Adams.
I am running for town council as a moderate voice. I pride myself in my ability to work with diverse groups and collaborate - to ensure that everybody is heard. I ultimately may not agree with every opinion of every person, but that doesn’t mean everybody should not have a voice.
There is a lot the town is doing right. We have many public resources, from the pool, to the miles of trails, to all of the parks and playgrounds. Yes, we have these amenities because the town prioritizes them, but also because of partnerships with the University of Maine, with the Land Trust, and other private and public organizations. We need to continue strengthening these relationships.
While Orono is moving in the right direction; we face some headwinds driven by economic uncertainty, an aging demographic, and general fiscal pressures. As pandemic funds continue to decline, the priority needs to be reaching budget sustainability in this new reality. We cannot cut our way to a balanced budget, nor can we grow to it. We need to cut expenses and grow revenues in a way that works for every citizen.
Thank you for your support. I would love to hear from you on my Facebook page.
My name is Rob Laraway, and I've been grateful to serve on the Orono Town Council for 2 years now. Since being elected, I've made it a priority to ensure that citizens in town feel like their voice matters, and that Orono is a place where good ideas can come to life. I have called Orono my home for close to 13 years, and I care for this place deeply, with all the rich community and opportunities it offers.
In addition to my Council duties, I try to do some good where I think I can, having been a Community Organizer both professionally and as a volunteer for a number of progressive organizations in the past, advocating on issues like affordable housing, childcare, drug policy, Wabanaki rights, and more. Much of this has been at the state level, and I’m proud of that work, but I also know that it’s crucial to recognize that the municipal level is where so many decisions are made that affect the basic quality of our community life. I believe I have the skills, conscience, and policy experience to represent the interests of Orono and make sound, compassionate decisions.
We are going through a period of transition with our Town Manager search, and we’re also coming up on our Comprehensive Plan process, which is an exciting opportunity for all of us to build community around our shared values and vision for the future of Orono. I want to help make these processes successful and fulfilling for everyone involved.
If re-elected, I will do my best to be an accessible, accountable, and reasonable voice for what is right, and hope to continue serving my community the best I can. If you see me on the street, come and talk to me! I’d love to hear what you care about and what you want to see from Council going forward. Be well!
I grew up in El Paso Texas and received my undergraduate in Microbiology at the University of Texas El Paso and finished my PhD in molecular cell biology at the University of Utah where I met my wife. Currently, I work as an editor for the science and nature imprint of Catalyst Book Press and teach biology part time at the university level. When I’m not working on these projects, I take care of our children while my wife, Annie, practices medicine as a pediatrician at PCHC.
My family made the fortuitous decision of moving to a house on Main Street 9 years ago. Prior to this, we lived in an exurb of Minneapolis in a modern neighborhood that was self contained and had very little contact with the rest of the town we lived in. We had to drive everywhere.
What attracted us to Orono was the walkability of the town. The businesses downtown, the town offices and the amazing trail system were pedestrian accessible from our house. We fell in love with the inclusivity and warmth of our fellow neighbors and the family oriented amenities such as the in-town schools, library, parks and pool. My children are safe riding their bikes or walking, on their own, to all of their town activities.
This is possible because of the infrastructure, town employees, and town management. This includes the Town Council. I bring a family oriented viewpoint and understand how important protecting and strengthening a safe, walkable community with strong parks and rec, summer camps and community activities are for a vibrant, attractive Orono.
I have served on the Town Council since the summer of 2023 after running in a special election. I am excited to continue the search for our next amazing Town Manager.
I am a 71-year-old retired insurance and real estate broker from Orono. As a 3rd generation, life-long Orono resident, my roots in the community go deep. My grandfather began Thomas Insurance and Real Estate in 1940. My father continued that Orono insurance agency until his passing in 1989. From then, I owned and operated the agency until selling it to Cross Insurance in 2013.
Since leaving the insurance industry, my primary focus has been real estate, both as a broker and as a rental unit owner/manager. I have owned and managed several rental units in Orono since 1985, without a single rental complaint to the police or to the Town authorities.
I am currently slowing down from a ten-year run of heavy involvement on state and local real estate boards. I was President of Greater Bangor Realtors in 2020 and Greater Bangor “Realtor of the Year” in 2021. Presently, I am vice president of the Greater Bangor Apartment Owners’ and Managers’ Association.
My previous municipal experience includes serving on the Orono School Committee and Orono Town Council during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, respectively.
I own two rental properties in Orono and have zero-tolerance for landlords or tenants who cause distress to their neighbors and neighborhoods. I have many ideas to solve landlord / tenant / neighborhood issues and complaints.
I have no “personal agenda” for serving. I do not judge recent, past events leading to the changes in management. I would use my historical experience as a member of the Orono School Committee and the Orono Town Council to help the present younger councilors implement their fresh new transparent and inclusive ideas in a fiscally responsible manner and move forward. In the past, I was on the school committee when a new superintendent was hired and, on the council, when a new town manager was hired. I believe that I have personnel selection skills which may be beneficial in this important process of selecting an effective new town manager.
Helping the current and exciting Town Council move forward, in a transparent and community-inclusive manner, is my primary goal.
TWO (2) RSU 26 School Board seats open, 3 year terms
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/attended Orono schools. I am Professor and Chair 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 (and one graduate) I pledge to work continuously to improve our schools.
My name is Brian McGill. I have lived in Orono for 13 years, teaching at the university in the ecology department. I have two sons who have graduated, but spent most of their K-12 years in the Orono schools. I have served on the school board since 2015. In both roles, I have come to have an enormous appreciation for all that our schools do. Orono schools pull off the magic of being small and familiar while also opening an incredible number of opportunities: diverse classes, career preparation, many sports, excellent arts programs, clubs and more. I’ve also learned just how many critical services the schools provide to children with very diverse needs, ranging from special education to food to an adult they can count on. I have devoted my professional life and my volunteer time to education, because I believe nothing is more important to the future of our society.
I am proud of the amazing things we have done during my time on the board. With the “we” being teachers and staff, administrators, board members, students, parents/guardians, and Orono tax payers all together. We finished the first serious update to the school buildings in over 40 years. while also funding ongoing maintenance. We got through COVID with kids much more in the schools than out, with no cases of spread in the schools, and as a cohesive community that supported each other. The thing I have worked hardest on is building a collaborative, ever-improving cultural mindset. Collaboration is essential to do great things - no one group in that “we” I mentioned above can make change happen alone. We have to work together. And for the adults in the schools, it is important not to rest on our laurels of already being a very good district. We need to adopt the growth mindset we ask of our students. With this culture we can do anything. If elected I look forward to continuing work on a 5-year strategic plan, implementing our DEI plan, and seeking state funding to upgrade the middle school, wile maintaining a stable budget.