Young guns

K-Don and Dave on being city councilors, playing politics, and what Wharf Street should look like
By SARA DONNELLY  |  November 15, 2006

061117_greens_main
NEW ADDITIONS: Marshall + Donoghue

When Kevin Donoghue and Dave Marshall are sworn in to the Portland City Council on December 4, they’ll be more than a decade younger than the youngest of our sitting councilors. Marshall, 28, and Donoghue, 27, will also be the first Green Independents to sit on this nonpartisan board, this in the wake of Greens on the school committee throwing their budding party heft around, and they’ll head into their new jobs as longtime close friends who encouraged each other to run. Marshall and Donoghue shared campaign literature (including an “East Side/West Side” postcard portraying them as hippie political thugs), held campaign launch parties in tandem, and intend to represent the voice of young Portland in the council chambers. The Portland Phoenix sat down with the incoming councilors from the east side’s District 1 (Donoghue, a grad of USM's Muskie School) and from the west side’s District 2 (Marshall, a painter) the Friday after Election Day, to talk about politics, the Greening of Portland, and how sweet it is to be the swing vote.

You both pulled something of a coup winning your council seats. Kevin, you beat Will Gorham, an incumbent who’s spent years as a community leader on Munjoy Hill, and dave, you won in a three-way race against an opponent (Michael Patterson) who’d received the outgoing incumbent’s backing and another (Cyrus Hagge) who’s a well-known power player in Portland. How did you win?
Kevin Donoghue
I think platform matters. I think we put the issues forward that the voters think needed looking at. The housing crisis has been suffering from gross inaction. Issues of sustainable development and the creative economy have been spoken to, yet I think voters are looking to move on these issues rather than merely acknowledge these issues.
Dave Marhsall I really targeted young voters and I’m in charge of the youngest district in the city, probably in the state (the West End and Parkside). I’ve been in the district for eight years; I’ve been a long time community builder and advocate and I knew the youth vote would give me the swing vote I needed. When I was doing doors, I just connected with everybody. I knew that the youth vote was important, but I really found inspirational the number of people across all demographics that were behind my campaign and had confidence in it.

You are both active members of the Green Independent Party — Kevin, since 2004, Dave, since 2000. The City Council is ostensibly nonpartisan, but do you plan to push a Green agenda anyway, like Greens Stephen Spring, Ben Meiklejohn, Jason Toothaker, and Susan Hopkins sometimes did on the Portland school committee?
DM
 We have very similar viewpoints and very similar values but I don’t think that we’ll end up having the same position all the time. But for the issues that over the years have come up, we’ve been able to see eye to eye on most of them, or compromise.
KD We think really well together, so when we begin speaking about an issue, it may come from different directions, but I think our thought processes are really complementary so that we can reach reasonable conclusions between one another.

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