- Elections & Voting Information
- 2023 Municipal Election Candidate Bios
2023 Municipal Election Candidate Bios
CANDIDATES NIGHT THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2nd at 6:00PM
Join us February 2nd, 2023 to ask questions and get to know the candidates on the ballot for the March 14th Municipal Election.
Town Councilors and School Board members determine the level of service and approve the spending of your tax dollars for schools, snow plowing, trash removal, police & fire protection, housing code enforcement, zoning, etc.
Questions can be submitted in advance until 5pm on February 1st to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATCH AND PARTICIPATE ONLINE (Zoom link to follow)
This event will also stream live on our Facebook page
Town Council: 3-year Term (TWO seats open)
Click names to read candidate-submitted biographies.
Thank you for being so interested in Orono's municipal election. I am happy to share my story and hope we can talk soon.
Our family moved to Orono during Covid. We choose the community because of the great schools and the opportunity to live in the small-town home of Maine's largest university.
The Orono Land Trust was a big and unexpected bonus!
We have found incredible belonging in Orono, met wonderful people, and made unforgettable new family memories. I want the same for everyone who lives, works and learns here.
I have been a regular in Orono for several years, leading the communications function of the University of Maine System. I concluded my time on campus directing marketing and communication for UMaine and the System.
My most significant contribution over the last eight years was coordinating the university's "Together for Maine" public health campaign.
We saved lives by following the science. We also built trust in our universities by prioritizing public health leadership and staying focused on the safety of our students, employees, and communities.
That trust contributed to historic investments in the university mission and helped us set a new record for enrollment at UMaine in the Fall of 2021.
I left the university early last spring. I now lead the Maine Association of Health Plans.
I also help vision-driven organizations like the Greater Portland Council of Governments think about how personal connection can help Maine communities overcome polarization and inspire people to listen, believe in each other, and come together to navigate complexity.
My professional experience also includes owning small businesses and working with public officials and elected leaders across the political spectrum and at every level of government.
I was incredibly proud to be a part of the 2012 campaign that made marriage legal for all loving Maine couples.
People are being very generous with their time and their ideas as I reach out to say hello. Every chance I get to learn leaves me more excited about what we can do in Orono together.
I hope to see you soon!
Meghan Gardner was first elected to the Orono Town Council in 2017 and is the current Vice Chair. She has served as Chair of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee since her first term and has previously acted as the Council liaison to the Orono Historical Society. In her time away from Council, she is an Asa Adams parent, the academic advisor for the University of Maine’s Graduate School of Business and is a published writer. She holds a PhD in English and has previously taught at the University of Maine, Husson University, and Orono High School. Gardner is an Emerge Maine graduate, and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of the Maine Women’s Lobby and Education Fund, a state-wide nonprofit advocating for gender justice in Maine.
My name is Jon Parker, and I am excited to be a candidate for the Orono Town Council. I am a lifelong resident of the area, having grown up in Veazie and graduated from Orono High School. After completing my degree in Forestry Resource Management from the University of Maine, I stayed in the area to start my own small business, Black Bear Lawn Care, which I have owned and operated for the past 23 years. In addition, me and my wife are the proud parents of 4 children, all of which have either attended or are currently enrolled in the Orono school system, giving me a unique insight into the quality and importance of education in our community.In addition to being a parent and running my business, I have dedicated myself to serving the community in a variety of ways. One of my proudest experiences was my 12 years of service as a call division firefighter for the Orono Fire Department. I also had the honor of serving on the Veazie Town Council for 6 years, where I gained valuable experience in local government and community engagement. These, combined with my 25 years of experience in local real estate investment, gives me a unique perspective on both the challenges and opportunities facing our community.
I have also been an active volunteer in the community. I have served as a board member for the Orono-Veazie Little League for 16 years, and as president for the last 8 years. I also served as president of the OTO hockey boosters. Additionally, I am a volunteer football coach at Orono High School.
As a candidate for the Orono Town Council, I am committed to working with my fellow council members to make our community an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. I believe that my combination of professional experience, community involvement, and local roots make me the ideal candidate to represent the residents of Orono. I would be honored to have your support and vote in the upcoming election. Thank you.
RSU 26 School Board: 3-year Term (TWO seats open)
Click names to read candidate-submitted biographies.
As background on Britt and her motivations for candidacy, she is an ecologist and mother of two young children. She completed her M.A. at Bowdoin College; M.S. in wildlife science at Oregon State University; and Ph.D. in conservation biology at UMaine. As a researcher, she investigates how animals move and access resources in fragmented or human-altered landscapes; this interest transcends to early-childhood learning and fostering in children: (1) a keen awareness of the natural world; and (2) social-emotional and academic resilience in the face of increasingly uncertain futures (from pandemics to climate). To this end, she has collaborated with the Board Health & Wellness Sub-committee to assess feasibility of outdoor learning sites. Britt has taught environmental education for primary-age children and is adjunct faculty at UMaine; she co-authored publications in higher-education journals focusing on interdisciplinarity in education. From 2018-2020, she was Coordinator of Native American Science Education for the Wabanaki Youth in Science Program, where she integrated Western Science with Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Britt believes deeply in diversity, equity, and inclusion. She was co-editor of a special edition of the Maine Policy Review (sustainability solutions in Maine). Britt is a leader at the Orono Community Giving Garden (OCGG); she endeavors to find synergy between OCGG and Orono Schools to increase access to local organic food, awareness of food insecurity, education about growing food, and utilization of RSU26 greenhouse space. Britt has a firm allegiance to supporting Arts education (having a lifelong love/practice of music and fiber arts). Finally, Britt is keen to contribute to the Board’s “Portrait of a Learner” portfolio – incorporating traditional metrics of student success with measures of critical thinking, creative problem solving, and social-emotional intelligence.
Britt believes that the role of the School Board – for all the tireless hours of negotiation and compromise – is a beautiful one. Unlike other municipal investments – such as physical infrastructure that depreciate or crumble over time – the development of young minds is an investment that only appreciates with time. One can never erode the foundations of knowledge from an inspired education; it would be her honor to serve on the RSU26 Board.
My name is Jake Eckert, I am running for re-election to the RSU 26 Board of Directors to continue the work I have been part of for the last 9 years. In that time, I have spent 2 years as board chair and the past 6 years as board vice chair. I have been involved in the successful negotiation of several labor contracts, helped shape a 16-million-dollar facilities improvement project and have made decisions that have aided in the district’s successful navigation of the Covid 19 pandemic.
My wife and I have called Orono our home for the past 21 years. We have 2 children both of whom are in the Orono schools. Our daughter is a junior at the high school and a member of the soccer, alpine ski, and canoe teams in addition to being actively involved in the arts. Our son is in 7th grade at the middle school and is a member of the football and baseball teams. I have been involved in coaching youth sports in the Orono community for the past decade. I am an avid outdoorsman who cares about the environment and enjoys spending time with my family hiking, skiing, mountain biking, camping, riding atvs, hunting, and fishing.
Professionally I have worked for Progressive Insurance company for the past 21 years. In that time, I have processed automobile damage claims, handled personal injury claims, written automotive repair estimates and currently manage repair relationships between Progressive and 3 direct repair partners.
I feel the primary role of the board is to ensure that the schools are well run in a fiscally responsible manner. I believe that we have a duty to meet each student where they are at and move them forward intellectually, socially, and emotionally creating lifelong learners who graduate prepared for the next stage of their life whether that is college, career, military or other. I feel strongly that every student needs to feel comfortable in their learning environment and that we need to be an ally to all students regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, economic status, or identity.
I have appreciated the opportunity to serve as a board member this past year. The work being done within RSU 26 towards greater equity and inclusion is rewarding to be part of and I hope to take what I have learned and the relationships I have made and continue being part of this effort.I have lived in these parts for decades having gone to college at UMaine and then later becoming an educator of both mathematics and gender studies. I appreciate the many facets of Orono from the small businesses, the generous trail network and the more recent pride animals and rainbow sidewalk. This is a place that my wife and I are proud to raise our children and we are lucky to have a school system that is not satisfied with complacency but desires improvement.
All of this is why I am running for reelection to the RSU 26 Board of Directors and am asking for your support on election day.