My friend Aymie Walshe—whom I adore and used to work with in the nonprofit world—sent me a message asking if I had considered nodding to Gibran Graham’s run for Bangor City Council even though Bangor is not technically my “beat.” The election is today. While I have started to make it my practice to not make political endorsements for a number of reasons which I will be happy to go into at some later point (one of the reasons being that from a candidate’s perspective, having a brash, opinionated loudmouth come out in your favor isn’t necessarily a blessing, but I digress), I will say that—without going so far as endorsing anyone—Gibran is the first person I think of when I think of Bangor.
As far as I can tell from the outside, Gibran is part of the backbone of many of the city’s interesting and new developments. Every time I have come to Bangor, I have run into Gibran, who is always excitedly working on a handful of Bangor-centered projects. Every time I have been involved in a Bangor-centered event, Gibran has been there organizing it, and any time I have expressed interest in organizing something in Bangor, I have been directed by every willing participant to connect with Gibran in order to make it happen. There are a few of people I see as synonymous with my understanding of all of the good that Bangor has to offer and Gibran is the towering giant among those few.
Or as my friend Aymie more succinctly wrote of Gibran’s efforts in Bangor’s renaissance:
For 17 Years he’s essentially thrown himself into growing and creating the cultural life of this city. If Bangor has had a renaissance, he’s been part of it with his creativity and big idea thinking. He’s not allowed us as a community to get bogged down in thinking “we can’t do something too impressive; we’re just Bangor.” FusionBangor, PechaKucha, River City Cinema, Kid Central Festival, Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative… he’s part of all of them and more, all while being a single Dad to an Amazing daughter who is thriving in Bangor schools. He’s balancing it all and understands the concerns of working parents like me in a way no other candidate does.
An aside: Gibran is also a total comic book nerd, which I think is something he should have incorporated more of into his campaign, but I digress once more.
Best of luck today, Gibran!
PHOTO SOURCE: Local Art at UMaine