The League of Young Voters endorsed six candidates for elected office this election season, and all six of them won. Last night, about 25 League members gathered for celebration, brainstorming, and vegan chili at Zero Station; they were joined by five of those six winners (only Gary Libby, who won a seat as a Water Trustee for the Portland Water District, was missing).
There'll be no resting on laurels, League state director Justin Alfond informed the victors -- now the voters will hold them accountable.
Councilors-elect John Anton, Dan Skolnik, and Jill Duson (who retained her at-large seat) talked a lot about housing -- making it affordable for young people, increasting rental options around the city, and building in a responsible, sustainable way. They also touched on transportation issues, from the pipe-dreamy (high-speed rail) to the realistic (improving biking paths).
New at-large school committee member Kate Snyder said she wants the quality of Portland's schools not only to keep existing families in the city, but to attract new families. And Peter Eglinton, who ran unopposed this month after winning his seat in June, updated the group on the school district's financial woes, as well as the practical steps the city is taking to address those problems.
The next challenge will be to maintain not just the candidates' energy, but the voters' enthusiasm too. Alfond, half in jest, suggested that councilors and school committee members continue their neighborhood door-knocking efforts even now that election season is over -- an idea we don't think is half-bad, especially in politically disenfranchised areas.
And Snyder pointed out that political involvement is -- at least in part -- the responsibility of Portland citizens. After all, she said, a person could attend a city-related meeting almost every night of the week, if they wanted to. (We'd like to meet the person who wants to. Or maybe not.)
On that note, here's our Kate Snyder Meeting Update for the rest of this week:
Tonight, there is a Youth Advisory Committee meeting in City Council chambers at 5 p.m., and at 6 p.m., there's a Police Citizen Review Sub-Committee meeting in the Public Safety Conference Room at 109 Middle St (new D3 city councilor Skolnik should be there). This sub-committee is meant to increase public confidence in police investigations of citizen complaints.
If you care about things like what stores pop up in Portland, you could attend tomorrow's 5:30 p.m. meeting of the Task Force on Business Diversity in City Council chambers.