2017-07-28 / Front Page

One enters South Portland council race

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — With Election Day still more than three months away, the first candidate has officially thrown a hat in the ring for a run at one of two open seats on the South Portland City Council.

In a July 24 email, planning board member Rolla Adrian Dowling confirmed he is a candidate.

“I am excited to announce that I will be running for city council this fall as a resident of District 5,” Dowling wrote. “Over the past 10 years, I have devoted much of my free time to South Portland through a wide range of groups and committees related to neighborhood safety, quality of life, historic preservation, and the city’s comprehensive plan.

“I hope to bring that experience to the city council and to contribute a unique perspective to city government based on fiscal responsibility, proper stewardship of our resources and infrastructure, preservation of our beloved neighborhoods, and my belief that we are a stronger community when no one is left behind,” Dowling said.

So far, Dowling is the only one in the race, as incumbent councilor Brad Fox confirmed Monday he will not stand for re-election.

“I’m pleased that I’ve helped get our west side community acknowledged more by the city, especially its great and wonderful diversity,” Fox wrote in an email. “I decided to take a year off to rest and recuperate from my various illnesses. But that doesn’t mean I won’t still be involved. I may even run for office again, if it looks as though I can do some good.”

Dowling, 37, of Brick Hill Avenue, grew up in Wells but has lived in South Portland for more than a decade. In addition to serving on the planning board, he is chairman of the city’s Arts and Historic Preservation Committee and represents South Portland on both the Jetport Noise Advisory Committee and the Jetport Master Plan Committee. He previously served on the Affordable Housing Committee and the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee.

Dowling was briefly a candidate for the same council seat in 2014, but dropped out “for personal reasons,” leaving the contest a two-way race between Fox and former councilor Alan Livingston. Dowling listed his occupation at that time as freelance photographer.

The District 2 seat on the city council also is up for grabs this year. The incumbent, current Mayor Patti Smith, will be forced to sit out the race, having bumped up against term limits after three consecutive terms, totaling nine years, on the council.

Return to top