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Hurley and Sanders look forward to council cohesion after election

By Kendra Caruso | Nov 06, 2019
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez From left, City Councilor Mike Hurley and Mayor-elect Eric Sanders talk to Republican Journal staff about election results in the Journal's office late Tuesday night after polls closed.

Belfast — Newly reelected City Councilor Mike Hurley and Mayor-elect Eric Sanders stopped into the Republican Journal office after Tuesday’s City Council meeting to discuss the day’s election results. Both candidates ran unopposed. [no race if you're unopposed]

They supported Ward 3 City Council winner Brenda Bonneville over her opponent, Sophia Ridgely Fuller. Bonneville won 961 of the 1,582 total votes cast.

Hurley expressed disappointment with his unopposed campaign and admitted to using Fuller as an indirect debate partner over controversial issues. He would have relished the opportunity to debate an opponent in his ward, he said.

He said Fuller ran a good campaign. He described the Ward 3 campaign as a toss-up and said he could not predict which candidate would win before the election. He said he agrees with her on most issues but there were a few contentious ones they differed on, Nordic Aquafarms' proposed land based fish farm being one of them.

“I think Ridgely ran a terrific campaign,” Hurley said. “She worked really hard.”

He considers Bonneville’s win in all five wards a sign that most Belfast residents support the fish farm. He said campaigning door-to-door offers a new perspective on Belfast citizens and is a more accurate portrayal of the city's diversity.

“There’s no doubt that a real majority of people in Belfast are supporters of the fish farm,” Hurley said.

Sanders said he didnot feel any different being elected mayor, as opposed to being a councilor, but admitted that might change as he settles into the role. He said he is not certain why he decided to run, but is very glad he did.

He hopes to bring back camaraderie among councilors. Hurley said tensions with outgoing Mayor Samantha Paradis created a "business-only" atmosphere. He said it was difficult to get work for the city done at times because of disputes between councilors and the mayor.

“I would like to get mayor and council out of the press with drama,” Sanders said. “If people are bored and the meetings are boring because we got stuff done, then I’ve landed the plane.”

Hurley, who was mayor several years ago, talked about the differences between being mayor and councilor, mainly being the leadership responsibilities. He said the public seeks the mayor for guidance on issues – even though the position has no voting privileges, except to break a tie.

After taking a chance on electing an unknown face in the previous mayoral election, Hurley and Sanders said the city did not want any more surprises. They said this time around the city just wanted to elect someone familiar.

Sanders said he is ready to create a cohesive atmosphere so City Council can focus on work for the public, rather than disagreements among elected officials. Hurley described elections as new opportunities.

“Every year we do this, and it kind of cleanses the palate,” Hurley said. “It resets the clocks.”

Both city officials said they were ready to start working for the city. Elected officials will be sworn in at City Hall Monday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Nov 08, 2019 18:31

The fix is in. Creepy looking dude that Sanders character. Wants to stay out of the news. WTF? More shadow work, Hurley style. Cleanses the palate, he says.  How can you not have disagreements among folks elected to serve? Why does that in and of itself not serve the public? Lay it out there. I prefer to be disillusioned by anything that comes out of this group, than to buy into the illusion that they have some benefit to provide to us. Seen many folks elected to public office. Start off with humble. End up with the malevolence that was there from the start.

Posted by: Carrie Bacon | Nov 08, 2019 13:09

I wish the previous mayor well in her personal and professional journey and voice my hopes for a more civil, less contentious administration that mirrors the Will of The People in Belfast.

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