Sophia Ridgely Fuller is a retired social worker who plays the ukulele in the Stone Soup Group. Her favorite activity is walking, which she’s been doing a lot of lately in her campaign for the Ward 3 City Council seat.

Fuller has knocked on many Belfast doors already to learn the issues most important to people. So far, she has heard concerns about stores and housing in Belfast being overpriced. An eye-opening moment was when she heard people saying they don’t think downtown Belfast has anything to offer them.

Residents have also told her they think people in the community have become bitter toward each other and the community is more divided.

“We have been experiencing a good deal of rancor … in our community lately,” Fuller wrote in a statement. “Everyone I have talked with during my initial door-knocking feels it and agrees this is poisoning our community. So, we have to start with and be committed to civil, respectful conversation. Even if we disagree we don’t have to be divided.”

She said there are a lot of volunteer-based community groups in Belfast and she wants to help the City Council become a central hub for information about local volunteering. She thinks it is key to bringing the community back together, while at the same time meeting local needs.

Growing small businesses is a large component of her platform to create a local economy that is less dependent on outside corporations and developments. She argues that local businesses are more stable for the economy and generate more profits going to the community.

Fuller hopes to encourage the city to participate in a comprehensive study to determine the best plan for developing a small-business-oriented economy.

She hopes to create affordable housing for young families to reduce the city's inequality and achieve the small-business economy she has envisioned, Fuller said.

Fuller had a friend tell her “collaboration moves at the speed of trust.” Though she doesn’t know who said it first, it has been a reminder in her campaign that she needs to take things slowly and unite the community so she can work toward her campaign goals.

“I think that I’m really good at listening to problems and needs, and collaborating to come up with ideas and then helping to put them into practice,” Fuller said. “…When I get impatient, I remember ‘collaboration moves at the speed of trust.’”

Elections are Nov. 5 at the Crosby Center. Fuller is running against Brenda Bonneville for the Ward 3 seat currently held by City Councilor Eric Sanders. Sanders is running unopposed for mayor.