Portland, Maine City Council

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City Hall in September 2011

The Portland, Maine City Council is the legislative branch of government for the city of Portland, Maine. It is nine seat council, composed of representatives from the city's five districts as well as 4 councilors elected citywide. Beginning with the Portland, Maine mayoral election, 2011, one of the four at-large councilors became a full-time elected Mayor of Portland. 7 of the 9 City Councilors are elected for three year terms, while the 2010 re-creation of the elected Mayor serves for four years. In 2012, the Council and city voters approved a charter change to create a one time term of 4 years for one at-large city councilor due to an error in the Charter Commission process. Jill Duson won the 4 year seat. The Council is officially non-partisan, though councilors are well known for their political party affiliation. In 1923, the system changed from a strong mayor system to a weak, largely ceremonial mayor position due to the influence of the Maine Ku Klux Klan, which resented the perceived growing political power of ethnic and religious minorities.[1]

The Portland City Council meets at Portland City Hall, an historic 1909 building on Congress Street.

Current Councilors (2014-2015)[edit]

  1. Mayor: Michael F. Brennan, Democrat, elected in 2011 election (since 2011)
  2. District 1: Kevin Donoghue, Green Independent (since 2006)
  3. District 2: David A. Marshall, Green Independent (since 2006)[2]
  4. District 3: Edward Suslovic, Democrat (since 2010)
  5. District 4: Justin Costa, Democrat (since 2014)
  6. District 5: David Brenerman, Democrat (since 2014)
  7. At-Large: Jon Hinck, Democrat (since 2013)
  8. At-Large: Jill Duson, Democrat (since 2001)[3]
  9. At-Large: Nicholas Mavodones, Democrat (since 1997)[4]

Mayor (at-large):Michael Brennan[edit]

Main article: Michael F. Brennan

Michael Brennan is a former State Senator and State Representative as well as professor of public policy at the University of Southern Maine. He won a 15-way race for mayor in November 2011. It was the first by which the city used instant run-off voting (IRV).

District 1: Kevin Donoghue[edit]

Kevin Donoghue was elected in 2006 to represent District 1 along with friend David A. Marshall. Both Donoghue and Marshall were both members of the Maine Green Independent Party at the time, but Donoghue has since unenrolled from the party. He was re-elected in 2009 after defeating cab driver Charles Bragdon and in 2012 after defeating unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate Justin "Ben" Pollard. He serves on the board of directors of Casco Bay Lines and the Greater Portland Metro Bus.[5]

District 2: David Marshall[edit]

David A. Marshall (born March 7, 1978) is an American artist and politician. Marshall is a member of the Maine Green Independent Party and a City Councilor representing the West End, Parkside and Oakdale neighborhoods of Portland. He was elected to the City Council in 2006 at the age of 28 and re-elected in 2009 unopposed. In March 2011, Marshall announced his candidacy for Mayor of Portland, becoming the first of three city councilors to announce their campaign.[6] The November 2011 election elected Michael Brennan as the first directly elected mayor of the city since the 1923 change to a largely ceremonial mayor position. Marshall finished 4th of the 15 candidates.

Marshall owns and restores an historic house in the West End as well as managing Constellation Art Gallery on Congress Street. In 2005, he and other Portland artists, with the support of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, protested city ordinances that regulated street artists, claiming that Freedom of Expression was being compromised. The city responded by creating an exemption to the street vendors ordinances, allowing artists to create and sell art in public. The following year, he ran for Portland City Council and won, becoming the first professional artist elected as a Councilor. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Portland Downtown District, which promotes economic vitality in downtown Portland.[7]

District 3: Edward Suslovic[edit]

Main article: Edward Suslovic

Edward Suslovic is a former state representative, ceremonial mayor and city councilor. He was elected to represent District 3 in 2010, defeating Will Mitchell, son of Democratic nominee for Governor Libby Mitchell.[8] Suslovic was re-elected in November 2013.

Past District 3 city councilors include Nathan Smith (1998-2004),[9] Dr. Donna Carr (2004-2007)[10] and Dan Skolnik (2007-2010).

District 4: Justin Costa[edit]

Justin Costa was first elected to the City Council in 2014, when Cheryl Leeman retired. Leeman held the seat from 1984 to 2014. A Democrat, Costa had run for the Maine House of Representatives and been twice elected to the School Board prior to being elected to the City Council.

District 5: John Coyne[edit]

Coyne first ran for District 5 in 2008 and won. He ran for re-election in 2011 unopposed. He previously served on the Portland School Committee. Coyne announced he would not seek a third term on the Council in 2014. Candidates seeking to replace Coyne initially included former Mayor David Brenerman and Summitt Street resident Danny Hatt.[11] However, Brenerman was the only candidate to file signatures for the race and he was elected unopposed in November 2014.

At-Large: Jon Hinck[edit]

Main article: Jon Hinck

Jon Hinck (born 1954) is an at-large City Councilor. A resident of the West End, Hinck served in the Maine House of Representatives from 2006-2012. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in June 2012. In November 2013, Hinck defeated fellow Portland attorney Wells Lyons and was sworn-in on December 2, 2013.[12]

At-Large: Jill Duson[edit]

Jill Duson (born 1953) is serving her 4th term on the City Council. She was first elected in 2001 after serving a term on the School Committee from 1998 to 2001. She holds a B.A. from Antioch College, a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a certificate in Senior Executive in State & Local Government from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government. She served as Director of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for State of Maine and as a seasonal employee for L.L. Bean.[13] She resides in the North Deering neighborhood.[14] Duson won re-election in November 2013 over challengers Gregory Smaha and Christopher Shorr.

At-Large: Nick Mavodones[edit]


  1. ^ Peck, Abraham. "Maine Voices: Why Portland doesn't have an elected mayor". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Singer, Jason (October 14, 2011). "David Marshall: A list of successes, ability to ‘get things done’". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Singer, Jason (October 27, 2011). "Jill Duson: Strong resume, plus life experience". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Singer, Jason (October 27, 2011). "Nicholas Mavodones: Ready for chance to build on his record". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Kevin Donoghue’s Questionnaire". The Maine League of Young Voters. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Carkhuff, David (March 25, 2011). "Marshall to announce mayoral run". Portland Daily Sun. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Board of Directors - Portland Downtown District". Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Voters’ Guide 2010: City Council District 3". The Bollard. October 18, 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Attorney Nathan H Smith – Lawyer in Portland ME". Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "Donna Jean Carr, 63: Caring doctor and public servant". The Forecaster. November 2, 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Harry, David (July 14, 2014). "Heated contests likely in races to succeed Portland city councilors who aren’t seeking re-election Maine". The Forecaster (Bangor Daily News). Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  12. ^ Bridgers, Leslie (December 2, 2013). "Portland city councilors, including newcomer, sworn in". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Billings, Randy (October 25, 2011). "Portland's mayoral candidates (at least some of them) rank each other". The Forecaster. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  14. ^ Singer, Jason (October 27, 2011). "Jill Duson: Strong resume, plus life experience". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 

External links[edit]