Houlton voters elect town officials, reject state-run electric utility

8 months ago

HOULTON, Maine – A steady stream of registered voters cast local ballots for open seats on the town council and several town boards on Tuesday at the Gentle Memorial Building on Main Street. 

State ballots for eight referendum questions were also cast.  

Nearly one-third of the town’s 3,801 registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election. There were a total of 1,011 voters including absentees. 

Several local races were uncontested, including three Houlton Town Council open seats. And some election hopefuls ran as declared write-in candidates, including several incumbents.

The declared write-ins included incumbent James Peters for a three-year town council term. Incumbent Michelle Henderson and Richard Tarr were each vying for one of three open three-year terms on the RSU 29 School Board. 

For town council, Jon McLaughlin (836 votes) received more votes than town council incumbents and was elected for a three-year term. Incumbents Mark Horvath (623 votes) and James Peters (50 votes) filled the remaining two open seats and were reelected to serve three more years. 

In the Houlton school board contested race, RSU 29 board incumbent Susan McLaughlin (809 votes) was reelected for another three-year term. Gary Lovell (654 votes) and incumbent write-in Michelle Henderson (37 votes) took the other two open school board seats. Write-in challenger Richard Tarr (35 votes) did not get elected to the school board. 

There was steady voter turn-out at the Houlton Gentle Memorial Building on Main Street for Tuesday’s voting. (Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli | Houlton Pioneer Times)

Incumbent Leigh Cummings Jr. (893 votes) was elected to a five-year term on the Cary Library Board and incumbent Joe Cyr (897 votes) was elected to a four-year term, completing a vacated term on the library board. 

For the Houlton Water Company board, incumbents Wade Hanson (780 votes) and Jon Prescott (746 votes) were reelected to three-year terms. 

Write-in Susan Tortello (17 votes) was elected to a one-year term on the Board of Budget Review. Six open seats remain on the budget review board and at the first meeting, the board will appoint others interested in serving, according to the town clerk.  

On the eight state referendum questions, Houlton voters opposed question three, the creation of a new power company governed by an elected board, in a 799 to 192 vote. 

They also voted down questions seven and eight, 706 to 273 and 620 to 363 respectively. 

Almost evenly divided on question five –  amending the Maine constitution to change the time period for judicial review of written petitions from 100 days to 100 business days – voters were in favor of the change, 494 to 485.

Houlton voters voted “yes” on question one, 660 to 320; question 2, 833 to 162; question four, 749 to 242; and question six, 670 to 310.