While on the City Council, Spencer has fought hard for District 2 residents on a variety of is sues. At the core of Spencer’s City Council work are the following issues:
Responsive City Services and Access to City Hall: The first role of a Councilor is ensuring that the basic service needs of constituents are met. As a Councilor, Spencer has strived to provide access to all District 2 residents at City Hall. From sidewalks and streets that needed to be plowed, to cross walks that needed paint, or potholes that needed to be filled, Spencer strives to keep his promise to respond to any constituent request within (24) hours. Spencer has also attended most neighborhood association meetings occurring in the District since taking office in 2015. Additionally, Spencer has held more than (20) “Coffee with Your Councilor” events throughout the District, offering residents another opportunity to let their voice be heard at City Hall. Lastly, Spencer also received unanimous support for a resolution introduced in 2017 that would allow City Council Meetings and Committee Meetings to be streamed on Facebook to provide greater access to constituents at City Hall.
An Inclusive Economy: As a member of the Economic Development Committee since being elected to the Council, Spencer has worked hard with his colleagues to create an Office of Economic Opportunity, which integrates new Mainers and those seeking opportunity with skills trainings, employment opportunities, and good paying jobs. Spencer also worked hard on the development of TIF policy revisions to the City Council that (i) increased allowances for affordable housing to ensure Portland was competitive with neighboring municipalities and (ii) increased minimum wage requirements for developers seeking TIFs. Spencer recognizes that development is the driver of Portland’s economic engine and that the City plays a crucial role in guaranteeing this is done responsibly.
Successful Neighborhood Schools: Portland schools like Reiche and King are exciting places where kids can get a great start. Since being elected, Spencer has fought to secure more than $1 Million Dollars in funding for Reiche to (i) invest in pedestrian crossings near the school, (ii) repair the leaking roof, and (iii) construct and renovate a new Clark Street entryway, providing additional security for students requested by the Reiche PTO in 2015. In addition to these investments, Spencer also supported the bond to renovate four of Portland’s elementary schools, including Reiche. Spencer will continue to advocate on behalf of Portland Schools.
Responsible Housing Policy: As a member of the Housing Committee in 2015, Spencer fought to secure increased time for tenants-at-will who were being evicted through the “Leeway Program.” While the ordinance did not pass, the “Leeway Program” would have increased the time period required for terminating a tenancy-at-will from 30 to 90 days. In addition, Spencer was successful in increasing the notification to tenants for increases in rent. Spencer also introduced the first progressive fee structure for short-term rentals, seeking to capitalize the housing trust fund through an increased fee structure.
Public Transit and Pedestrian/Bike Infrastructure that Connects: A robust public transit system that emphasizes connectivity between Portland’s different neighborhoods is both smart economically and environmentally. Spencer has supported the expansion of METRO services to accommodate high school students and reach other communities. As the Chair of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee, Spencer has also fought to make pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure more prevalent in the District, with the installation of pedestrian crossing beacons. Spencer has also fought to obtain CIP funds for separated bicycle infrastructure to ensure that Portland is more mobile.
A Sustainable Future for Portland: From pesticides to climate action planning, Spencer has been a bold leader on the City Council. A supporter of the energy benchmarking ordinance, Spencer believes that the City needs baseline data to address energy efficiency issues in Portland’s oldest buildings. Spencer also introduced a resolution that received unanimous approval, setting Portland on a path to 100% clean renewable energy by 2040 and making it the first city in Maine and the second City in New England to make such a goal. In addition, Spencer has led the way in collaborating with South Portland to create a Climate Action Plan to address, in a more regional way, future climate challenges. Moreover, Spencer led the way in passing one of the most restrictive pesticide ordinances in the country for both public and private use.
Providing a Voice for Neighborhoods: As Portland undergoes the largest expansion since the Great Fire, Spencer has worked with neighborhoods and neighborhood associations to create working groups to provide input with potential developments. Spencer believes that when residents have a seat at the table the final product (and project) is better for the community.
Stay tuned as I share more ideas for District 2 over the coming weeks!