“Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government?”

Henry David Thoreau

My name is Kate Sykes, and I’m running for Portland City Council not as a career aspiration, or a stepping stone on the way to a bigger pool, but as an act of service to the people of Portland–those who live here now, and those who will live here in the future. At a time when we are facing unprecedented economic hardship, environmental threat, moral uncertainty, and social unrest, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

I was born in Portland and grew up in Harrison, Maine the child of two public school teachers who modeled for me the importance of giving back to the community. At 78 years old, my father still serves as a Selectman and Firefighter for the town of Harrison, and my mother can always be counted on to round up volunteers for an event, or bake something for the church social hour.

I worked for 18 years in the healthcare administration and practice management fields. As the Program Administrator for a Family Medicine Residency in Seattle, I coordinated the education of resident physicians at three inner-city clinics providing care to under-served Native American, Latinx, and Black communities. My politics and activism were shaped by the physicians, nurses, social workers, teachers, PSRs, union organizers, and public health experts I worked with along the way. Fishing did the rest.

I met and fell in love with my husband while fly fishing out west. He is an immigrant to this country with family spread out over the world. In 2008, we made the decision to move back east to be closer to my family. I chose an Atlantic salmon as my campaign symbol because it’s a reminder that not all migration is as voluntary, easy, or as politically and culturally acceptable as my own has been.

I now have a second career as a freelance writer and editor. I’m a member of the National Writers Union and the Southern Maine Workers’ Center.

I love the Maine woods in all seasons. When I’m not working, you can find me mountain biking, backcountry skiing, or standing in a river with a fly rod listening to myself think. I live in Deering Center with my husband and our four-legged fishing guide, Metolius.

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Our campaign has made a political decision to boycott Facebook in support of “Stop Hate for Profit” and the billions of users whose labor and social networks Facebook commodifies without compensation.

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