Now in its second year, Move Windham Forward seeks to provide candidate forums for fall elections.
Maggie Terry, owner of Legal Leaf LLC, and fellow chamber members Jonathan Priest and Heidi Anderson, have been working together to “Move Windham Forward,” giving voice to the thoughts and concerns of the community.
The organization Move Windham Forward (MWF) is a non-profit, non-partisan group of residents and taxpayers that have come together for what has been identified as common goals and interests of the residents of Windham. The mission as is stated on the website: “We seek to have a better understanding of the issues we face as a community while we contemplate our decisions on leadership, community planning, land use, infrastructure, taxes and technology changes.”
MWF will offer two “meet the candidates” for Town Council and one for the candidates for School Board. Windham residents will have the opportunity to virtually meet, speak to and address concerns with the candidates running for Town Council office and School Board. The purpose of these meetings is to allow residents to get to know the individuals they are voting for so they can make their own personal and well-informed decisions at the local level in November.
Due to the restrictions currently in place on social gatherings, the three meetings will be held virtually via Facebook Live and Zoom. The School Board candidate meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. The two Town Council candidate meetings will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 and Wednesday, Oct. 21.
“We want to make it clear that Move Windham Forward is a non-partisan organization,” said Priest. “We do not endorse or oppose any candidate running for Town Council or the School Board. We just want to provide the opportunity for residents to ask questions in order to be well informed as they vote in the elections this fall.”
“We also want to eventually hold Town Hall meetings to provide ongoing conversations in a positive way,” Terry said. “This is a future goal we are working on. Right now, we want to focus on our virtual meet and greet gatherings so they can be as successful as possible.”
MWF emphasizes a core set of concerns that include: Unity, Growth, Taxes and Environment.
Briefly, and as stated on their website:
1) Unity: North Windham. South Windham. East Windham. West Windham. In such a geographically large town made up of a growing, diverse population it is often easy to fall into our divisions and not feel as one. Especially over the last few years. It is important that we remember that mostly - we all agree on more than we disagree on starting with this; we all love Windham.
2) Growth 1: Everywhere we look something new is being built; a house here, a subdivision there. It all adds up. What brings many people here is the rural feel but, ironically, as they come that rural feel disappears a little more for someone who was already here. What is the answer? Unfortunately, this is not an old question, it has been around for decades - but to date has been without a real solution. Some say stop growth completely, some say have zero regulation and let landowners do as they wish. The answer is somewhere in the middle.
3) Growth 2: Windham is one of the fastest growing towns in Maine for residential housing but is significantly lacking in commercial development. Commercial development such as retail, service businesses, restaurants, office space, manufacturing and high density residential are the keys to our economic future. This development would benefit our town, by bringing more of a sense of community and a place people want to be, by helping create new revenues to offset the residential tax burden and by encouraging growth in the places we want, instead of the places we don’t want.
4) Taxes: We can’t seem to avoid them, but we can certainly have more of a say in how they are spent. The town budget should reflect the needs and goals of the taxpayers, for today and tomorrow. Our elected officials and town staff should be constantly working to maximize the return on every tax dollar by spending wisely for today and investing smartly for tomorrow.
5) Environment: Our environment in Windham is our greatest treasure and must be protected. Windham has some of the most beautiful farm space, open space, forests, water bodies and animal habitats; it’s a large part of why many of us chose Windham. These assets need to be protected, especially our lakes, streams and ground waters, many of which are already on state impaired lists. It is in our control and our responsibility to preserve our environment for Windham’s next generations.
For more information, peruse the Move Windham Forward website at www.movewindhamforward.org
We are always looking for volunteers and appreciate any financial support as a working non-profit.