South Portland swears in new mayor | News

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South Portland swears in new mayor

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- South Portland swore in a new mayor Monday who's described as a friendly boss, who's a stickler for the rules and a proponent of public engagement.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Linda Cohen spent years grinding the gears of city government, working 21 years as a city clerk in South Portland and Portland. She won awards for integrity and professionalism and is now president of the South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce.

Fifty-nine-year-old Cohen hasn't walked the straightest path to mayor of Maine's fourth largest city. She grew up in Portland often surviving off government cheese and public assistance while her mother battled alcoholism. She dropped out of the University of Southern Maine twice, but re-enrolled full-time while pregnant.

"I don't ever want to forget those things because then I wouldn't be a good councilor or a good person," Cohen said. "All those things make me who I am today."

After graduation, she landed a job in South Portland's code enforcement office. Two years after receiving her degree, she became the city clerk.

Ed Suslovic, a Portland city councilor, told the Portland Press Herald that Cohen will be a phenomenal mayor. He was mayor of Portland when Cohen worked there.

Cohen said she wants to focus on improving communication between City Hall and the public, especially in notifying neighborhoods and certain interest groups about upcoming issues that could affect them.

The mayor position is a year long post and elected by the city council.


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