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Byer takes out papers to seek Rockland Council seat

By Stephen Betts | Sep 10, 2020
Melissa Byer

Rockland — A fifth person has taken out nomination papers to seek a seat on the Rockland City Council.

Melissa Byer of Pleasant Street took out papers this week. She has operated a child care facility on Pleasant Street for four years after moving it from Cedar Street.

Byer said Rockland is not as business friendly as it once was, saying she had a lot of red tape to go through when she moved her childcare center.

The Pleasant Street woman said she was also concerned about what she was a lack of transparency by the City Council.

"Not all people are being heard," she said.

Byer also said there was not enough for young people to do in Rockland.

Byer was born in Camden and raised in Rockland.

She is the fifth person to take out nomination papers for two open seats on the Council — seats being vacated by Mayor Lisa Westkaemper who is completing her first term and Councilor Valli Geiger who is running for the Maine House after nearing the end of two terms on the Council.

The deadline for people to submit papers to the city clerk's office in order to get on the Nov. 3 ballot is Monday, Sept. 21. Signatures of at least 100 registered Rockland votes are needed.

Ian Emmott, Sarah Austin, Louise MacLellan-Ruf have taken out and returned the papers with sufficient signatures to get on the ballot.

Emmott, of Talbot Avenue, served in the Coast Guard, including time in Rockland. He recently left his job with the Department of Veterans Affairs where he worked with disabled veterans. He said he plans to open a distillery but it is still in the planning stages. Emmott served on the Rockland Port District. He has been on the Rockland Historical Society Board since Nov 2017

Former Rockland Mayor MacLellan-Ruf  served one three-year term on the Council, being elected in 2013. She was elected mayor by her council peers in 2015. She did not seek reelection when her term expired in 2016.

The Pacific Street resident serves as chair of the Harbor Management Commission, a post she also held prior to serving on the Council. She also serves on the Harbor Trail Committee.

MacLellan-Ruf worked as a social worker and therapist when she lived in Massachusetts and Rhode Island before moving to Rockland.

Austin of Talbot Avenue is chair of the city's parks and recreation advisory committee. She works as an office manager for a local accounting firm. She is also on the board of directors of the non-profit organization One Less Worry which provides personal hygiene products to people served by the Area Interfaith Outreach.

Austin first came to Rockland 15 years ago when she served as a crew member on a sailing vessel and it stopped in port for repairs. She lived in other places before settling in Rockland in 2018, when she purchased a home.

Joseph Catalano Jr. is an information technology employee for the Owls Head Transportation Museum. He lived in the Rockland area previously and founded and operated Get Wired LLC, a home electronic installation business from 2004 through 2008. He also operated the Italian restaurant LaFamiglia in 2006 and 2007. He returned to Rockland a year and a half ago and bought a home on Cedar Street earlier this year.

One of Rockland's five seats on the Regional School Unit 13 Board is also up for election Nov. 3. The seat is held by board member Carol Bachofner, who has taken out papers to seek reelection. No one else has taken out papers.

There is also a single five-year seat on the Rockland Port District. The seat is held by James Kalloch. No one has taken out papers.

Seats for election warden and a ward clerk are also up for a vote Nov. 3. No one has taken out papers for those posts.

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