Four Green Independents in Portland are running for three municipal offices this coming November. John Eder and David Marshall are running to be Portland's first elected mayor since 1923, Josephine Okot is running to serve on the Portland School Board as an at-large representative and Dr. John (Jack) Safarik is running for Portland's seat on the Water District board.
John Eder was first elected to office in 2002 as the West End's state representative. He served the people of Portland in Augusta from 2002-2006. As state representative, Eder advocated for single payer health, initaited a resolution advocating against the 2003 invasion of Iraq while passing a law which protected Maine school children by limiting the chemicals which could be used in public schools. Eder also served on the Cumberland County Charter Commission which wrote the first county charter. He lives on Gray Street with his wife, Suzanne.
David Marshall was first elected to Portland's City Council representing District 2, which includes all of the West End, Parkside and Arts District. Since becoming a city councilor in 2006 at the age of 28, Marshall has pushed for numerous reforms; he lead the movement to protect and grow the art economy in downtown Portland and helped push for a taxing agreement which has spurred significant downtown growth. He lead the push to rewrite the city charter and move towards the elected mayor position. One of his biggest goals as prospective mayor is to further weatherize all public buildings and increase the city's consumption of cleaner energy and move towards a post-oil economy. He lives on Pine Street.
Josephine Okot is a longtime Portland resident and a first time candidate for office. Okot immigrated to the Maine from Sudan in 2000 and attended Portland schools, including King Middle School, Portland High School and the University of Southern Maine. The 29 year old graduated from University of Southern Maine with a degree in social work and currently works for United Somali Women advocating as a youth educator. Okot ranks ending school bullying as the top issue she will to work on while in office, while also advocating for better transportation for middle and high school students and stronger ties for mentoring programs. Okot has two children, one of whom attends Ocean Avenue School.
John Safarik (M.A., Ph.D.), a Portland homeowner, is originally from Illinois and is semi-retired. He and his wife Sharon settled in Maine 16 years ago, having lived in several other states. Safarik’s education includes studies of geology, chemical engineering, history of science, and political theory. He has written science articles, taught high-school history and university logic, participated in seismic survey, and worked for five federal agencies as a software writer. Travels in the underdeveloped world have impressed him with the vital importance of safe and plentiful water for all as something never to be taken for granted. Presently he is concerned with the ongoing property development on the Lake Sebago shores as a potential source of water pollutants. He also questions the legitimacy of unrestricted commercial extraction of water from what is properly regarded as a public asset. Safarik is a Rosemont resident.
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