Sep. 20—Spencer Thibodeau has resigned as the District 2 representative on the Portland City Council after accepting a position in President Biden's administration.
Thibodeau's resignation is effective immediately, as he begins his new position in the U.S. Department of Energy. He previously was a senior advisor for Maine during the Biden-Harris campaign.
In an interview Monday, Thibodeau said he will be working on the DOE's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and the position required him to step down from his elected role.
In his resignation letter, Thibodeau noted that during the last six years, the council has made significant investments in city infrastructure and schools, while working to address the housing crisis, climate crisis and the pandemic.
"I am grateful for your comradery and support over these years, even when the debates were difficult," Thibodeau wrote. "I also want to express my sincere and humble gratitude to the residents of my district (and the City of Portland) for entrusting me with the honor to serve as City Councilor. There is no honor higher than to have the opportunity to serve the community that raised this scrappy kid from the Libbytown Neighborhood."
City Manager Jon Jennings, who once served as a White House fellow under President Clinton, said in a written statement that he was excited to see Thibodeau take his public service career "to the next level" in Washington, D.C.
"I'm thankful that I got to know him and work with him for the last six years," said Jennings, who is leaving Portland on Nov. 1 to become Clearwater, Florida's new city manager. "He's full of talent and energy, and I know he will continue to do great things wherever he goes."
City Clerk Katherine Jones said the District 2 seat, which includes the West End and Parkside, will remain vacant until a new councilor is elected in November and sworn into office in early December.
Thibodeau had announced over the summer he would not seek a third term. Two candidates are vying to replace him: former city councilor and attorney Jon Hinck and political newcomer Victoria Pelletier, a special projects coordinator at the Greater Portland Council of Governments whose focus is on racial equity and economic development.
Thibodeau said any district-related concerns should be sent to Mayor Kate Snyder and at large councilors Pious Ali, April Fournier and Nicholas Mavodones.
"It's exciting to see Councilor Thibodeau continuing his career in public service by going to serve us in the federal government," Snyder said. "I wish him all the best in D.C., and I'd like to thank him for all that he's done for his constituents and for the community as a whole. Portland is a better place because of his contributions."
Three council seats are up for grabs this fall and none of those races will have an incumbent running.
In addition to Thibodeau, Mavodones is bringing to a close a 30-year career in elected office. Four people are vying to replace him as an at large councilor: Travis Curran, a server and retail manager at a local distillery; Brandon Mazer, an attorney and chairman of the city's planning board; Roberto Rodriguez, a school board member and owner of an urban farming business; and Stuart Tisdale, an attorney and retired teacher.
District 1 City Councilor Belinda Ray also decided against seeking a third term, since she is taking a new job with the Greater Portland Council of Governments, a regional planning agency. Two people are vying to replace her: Sarah Michniewicz, a self-employed seamstress who has led the Bayside Neighborhood Association for the last four years; and Anna Trevorrow, a 39-year-old medical malpractice paralegal at Norman, Hanson & DeTroy and former charter commissioner who is serving her third term on the school board.