Friday, September 20, 2019

New organization’s mission to “Move Windham Forward” provides candidate forums for fall elections

By Lorraine Glowczak

It all began as a fun and casual conversation among a group of individuals at a monthly networking Business Break event hosted by the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. The conversation consisted of various matters of concern expressed by Windham community members. Topics discussed included residential and commercial growth, civility among elected officials, tax increases as well as environmental concerns. The conversation turned serious and it was decided then to be proactive and do something about the concerns expressed.

“We need to move Windham forward in a positive way,” stated Maggie Terry, during that impromptu discussion. Terry is a chamber member and owner of Legal Leaf, LLC and Legal Label, Inc.

It turns outs that Terry had been thinking about this idea for a while – the idea that would unite Windham in a positive and solution-based way. “It seems we’ve been divided for a number of years and I want to change that,” Terry said. forward three months. Terry along with fellow chamber member and Licensed Insurance Agent with MetLife, Jonathan Priest, have been working together ever since to “Move Windham Forward”, making the thoughts and concerns discussed at the beginning of the summer, a reality.

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.”

The group offers an educational approach for all residents who wish to get involved but are not sure how to go about it. The website includes the proper way to address the Town Council regarding any issue that one deems important as well as background information about each elected official.
But perhaps just as importantly, MWF will offer two “meet the candidates” gatherings. Windham residents will have the opportunity to meet, speak to and address concerns with the candidates running for Town Council office. 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 election in November.

The first gathering will occur on Monday, September 30th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Microtel Inn and Suites’ Roosevelt Room at 965 Roosevelt Trail. The second “meet the candidates” gathering will occur again at the same location from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, October 10th.

“We want to make it clear that Move Windham Forward is a non-partisan organization,” began Priest. “We do not endorse or oppose any candidate running for Town Council. 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 added. “This is a future goal we are working on. Right now, we want to focus on our 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., 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

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