Heck ’74 runs for mayor
Karen Heck ’74 participates in a debate held at the College with fellow mayoral candidates Roy and Sennett.
Karen Heck ’74 is one of three candidates hoping to win the Waterville mayoral election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Promising to energize the Waterville community if elected, Heck said, “We have what we need to create the future we want. I believe we need to envision it, invest in it and it will be ours,” as stated on her website, karenformayor.com.
Heck is an unenrolled candidate running against Republican Andrew Roy and incumbent Mayor Dana Sennett, a Democrat. Sennett was elected as an interim mayor last spring to complete the term for Paul LePage, who resigned as mayor after he was elected governor of Maine.
After graduating from the College, Heck spent 16 years working for the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program (KVCAP) and advocating for reproductive rights, universal health care and fair taxation. “[It’s] funny, and sad, that those are still issues I’m advocating for 30 years later,” Heck said.
When she left KVCAP, Heck and her business partner Lynn Cole began The Avalon Group, which provides consulting and training on organizational development. Since 2004, she has been a senior program officer for The Bingham Program, which deals with public health programs in Maine. Heck has lived in Waterville since coming to the Hill as a government major in 1970, with the exception of two years spent in Washington, D.C. and two spent at graduate school at the University of Maine. She has maintained close ties to the College and serves as an advisory committee member to the Goldfarb Center. Many students on the Hill are also very involved in Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a program that Heck co-founded with Lynn Cole and Professor of Education Lyn Mikel Brown to encourage healthy development and independence for local young women. “There have been over 200 Colby students leading girls groups at area schools, working in the office, doing internships and helping to organize and participate in events,” Heck said.
A large part of Heck’s vision for the Waterville community involves tapping into the energy of the city’s young, innovative residents. The hordes of students who volunteer in local events—through Colby Cares About Kids (CCAK) and at homeless shelters—do not go unnoticed, and Heck feels that this young enthusiasm is among Waterville’s greatest attributes.
“I would love the opportunity to be mayor,” Heck said, “so that I can bring all that energy and the energy of young people, already living and working in the city, together to focus on creating the fastest-growing region in Maine that honors its quality of place and preserving its environment.”