I sat down this week with Josh Plourde, co-worker, friend, and candidate for Bangor City Council, to discuss his vision for the City of Bangor.
Josh would be delighted to receive your feedback. I have found that one of his best qualities is that he is easily moved by strong data and a solid argument. Learn more at JoshForBangor.com or contact him at (207) 951-5650 or at email@example.com
IF ELECTED, WHAT ARE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES FOR BANGOR?
- To represent all citizens and encourage citizens to speak up and remain involved in municipal government.
- To promote “Brain Gain” in greater Bangor to keep our best and brightest students in our region.
- To develop a strong 21st century economic growth plan with our city staff, inclusive of Bangor’s growing creative economy.
- To work towards a sustainable Bangor: healthy families, clean energy, affordable housing, and quality jobs are what make a great city thrive.
- To maintain a balanced approach, keeping the cost of what the city does within the resources its economy can develop.
IF ELECTED, IS THERE ONE PROJECT YOU’VE DREAMED OF PUTTING IN PLACE?
I’d go after federal grants and private investment, work to decentralize phone lines/internet lines in Bangor and bring fiber optic internet to residents and businesses across the city. There’s incredibly strong data that shows innovation, entrepreneurs, and new businesses crop up wherever this increasingly vital infrastructure is available. There are few communities with our quality of life, geography, climate, etc., that offer this service. It would be easy for Bangor to stand out.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON ALLOWING ADDITIONAL TREATMENT WITH SUBOXONE IN THE BANGOR AREA?
According to testimony at last week’s Government Operations Committee where the moratorium was first publicly discussed, suboxone is a drug with proven treatment benefits whereas methadone is regarded as a drug worse than illicit drugs. I am for lobbying the state to open treatment centers outside of Bangor and decentralizing methadone/suboxone treatment. Bangor carries a significant burden for the state, and it’s possible that the state could save money in the long run by opening up smaller treatment facilities across the state instead of paying people to drive to Bangor every day.
I will add, however, that the state needs to step in fast; there’s a long waiting list of people who could greatly benefit from this treatment, and it would be improper for us to deny them treatment that works.
HOW YOU WOULD KEEP BANGOR’S BUDGET BALANCED?
We have a financial reserve, currently greater than the goals set by previous councils. Bangor currently carries some debt, but at incredibly healthy levels. I would ensure that Bangor continues making strong investments that can prove a return for its citizens, but I am not in favor of bonding any and all projects whenever the opportunity arises.
HOW WILL YOU STAY ENGAGED WITH CITIZENS AFTER THE CAMPAIGN?
I’ll be very much mirroring the success of a few current councilors who engage citizens through social media, quarterly newsletters, and perhaps annual or biannual ‘town hall meetings’ with topical discussion. My Facebook page has just over 740 likes – I’m still building.
Additionally, I encourage everyone to also sign up for the weekly meeting announcement emails – the clerk’s office sends out the following week’s schedule every Friday afternoon. I can’t tell you the number of times I hear “I had no idea that meeting was happening.”
I’ll do my part to over share, but if you’re interested in signing up for the weekly Council Meeting Schedule updates from the city, or updates from specific committees, visit the City of Bangor’s website or click here.
CRIME AND DRUGS ARE ON THE RISE IN BANGOR. HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THIS ISSUE?
I recently joined the Bangor Police Department for an overnight patrol. One of the best things I saw was the number of people that came up to the car to report something they had witnessed. We have incredible public safety divisions in Bangor, but they can’t be everywhere all the time. Apathy doesn’t help anyone; it’s clear that people are committed to participating in keeping us safe. Highly involved and diligent citizens coupled with a well-supported public safety sector are what keep Bangor safe.
WHAT DO YOU PROPOSE TO DO ABOUT THE WATERFRONT CONCERTS?
Fortunately, this is a well-paved road. We simply can’t afford to sacrifice what makes Bangor a city with high quality of life in the name of economic growth, but I don’t believe that the two are mutually exclusive.
This may be the first year (or first few years) that Bangor has experienced this sized concert resulting in high volume levels. Cities from here to London have experienced the same situation Bangor is currently in – a large concert venue comes in, attracts thousands of new people to the area, brings in millions of dollars, and with it all – increased noise levels.
By employing some of the strategies of other cities, we can limit adverse environmental impact.
In short: we can consider having concerts start and end a bit earlier, setting a limit for large outdoor concerts per year, setting a guide for how frequently events can occur in a given week or month, and examine physical ways to keep sound within the concert venue that are aesthetically pleasing as possible.
Josh graduated from University of Maine. He works on the UMaine Composites Center’s offshore wind program. He co-owns a niche-marketing agency, High Touch Group that focuses on digital advertising. He has served on Bangor’s Commission for Cultural Development since 2012 and as interim director of the Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative in 2009. Most recently, Josh has worked closely with City Councilor Ben Sprague to create Bangor’s new Optional Cultural Investment Fund.
*campaign photos compliments of Jeff Kirlin