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  • Writer's pictureDenise Thorsson

Fresh Energy & Ideas for Cumberland's Future: Denise Thorsson for Town Council

A deeper look into my background, priorities, and approach to serving our community as your next representative on the Cumberland Town Council.


portrait of denise thorsson in a green sweater

Hello, neighbor! If we haven't already met, I'm Denise, a fellow Cumberland resident who is dedicated to serving our community as your next Town Councilor. I'm a US Air Force veteran who served as a Chinese Language Analyst at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, helping lead a joint-service Analysis and Reporting team that informed national security decisions.


I was a stay-at-home mom for seven years, then transitioned into the Tech Industry as a QA Engineer. My current role as a Production Systems Engineer includes process improvement, automation, knowledge management, peer training, and ongoing collaboration. As a lifelong learner, I'm furthering education in Environmental GIS and Community Planning.


A Dedication to Service


Why am I running for Town Council? Service is a calling to me and I care deeply about our community. My time in the military solidified a strong commitment and dedication to serving and protecting others and using my strengths to help the world around me. Service runs in my family: my father Gary served in the Navy during Vietnam, his father served in the Marine Corps at Iwo Jima, and my husband Josh is a Marine Corps veteran. My grandma and uncle were both enthusiastic, nurturing public elementary school teachers. (Learn more about my background here.)


denise in her air force uniform, alongside her dad gary at her graduation from the defense language institute in monterey

Me and my dad, Gary, during my graduation from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California in 2012.

Diverse Experiences Built on Collaboration

My background and skills give me a solid foundation for representing all corners of Cumberland on the Town Council and effectively, fairly, and thoughtfully addressing the challenges we face together, including my focus areas of smart growth and housing, fiscal responsibility, and transparency and collaboration. I am passionate about these topics and look forward to diving in and helping develop creative and thoughtful solutions to address them as your representative on the Town Council. I aim to ensure our town continues to grow and develop smartly and align with our collective values and goals.


My collaboration style involves actively communicating, early and often, finding common ground, and being patient yet persistent. I do my homework, show up prepared, and am open to new ideas. As your representative, I will put forth my total effort to keep the lines of communication open, bring your concerns to the table, and work hard to find solutions that benefit us all.


The role of Town Councilor is strictly non-political. Still, I'll stress that I'm not political and have no taste for the polarization politics breeds. I operate on ethical behavior, including honesty, transparency, diligence, moderation, and consideration of other perspectives to reach the most well-founded decisions. This includes continuous self-reflection and challenging my thought processes to ensure I am fair, non-reactive, empathetic, and kind to others. Sometimes, I fall short, but I consciously try to grow, find common ground during strife, treat others respectfully, compromise, admit when I'm wrong, and learn from my mistakes.

illustration of sprouts growing

As Maine grows more diverse, and Cumberland by extension, Town Council policies must be welcoming and inclusive of new residents putting down roots while also supporting longtime residents whose roots run deep. My research on our town, combined with my rich experiences living across the US and working with people from many countries, has given me the perspective and expertise to represent people from all walks of life. It's also given me a deep appreciation for our Town's distinctness and an intense drive to help ensure it keeps what makes it special. 


Avid Researcher & Community Volunteer


I haven't lived in Cumberland my whole life, but I've made a concerted effort to compensate for lost time. I've enjoyed researching Town topics and history and have been active in civic affairs and local service organizations since our family made our home here in 2022.


Research is a hobby, and I've enjoyed learning about Cumberland's rich history, its approach to governance, the decisions of Councils past, and the unique dynamics between the Town, school, community, and neighboring towns. I've attended/watched all Town Council, Planning Board, and School Board meetings since moving to town and have read through many old meeting minutes since 2010. Truly, I've loved learning about all things Cumberland, and I still have much more to discover.


Our town is filled with incredible people who truly care about one another. I've had the privilege to work alongside them to support our community, particularly through the Cumberland / North Yarmouth Lions Club and the Lands and Conservation Commission's Community Orchard Subcommittee.


Cumberland / North Yarmouth Lions Club


lions international logo

Whether gathering for our monthly meeting, working the Cumberland Fair Booth, or making homemade apple pies for our annual fall fundraiser, I love working with my fellow CNY Lions to make an impact locally. I am honored and excited to take on the role of Club Secretary for 2024-2025, continue improving our newly revamped website as our Club's web admin, and transitioning all our Club documents from hard copies into a shared Google Drive space.


picture of denise loading homemade apple pies into boxes for fundraising

We made over 400 pies in support of our community initiatives and Greely scholarships.

LCC Community Orchard Subcommittee

cumberland community orchard tree logo

Environmental responsibility at the Town level is a central priority for me. I've been grateful for the opportunity to contribute as a LCC's Community Orchard Subcommittee member. The Orchard is a Town-owned resource for all ages to engage in local food independence and sustainable practices through hands-on learning.


As our Education Liaison, I am working to forge a long-term partnership with MSAD51, promoting the Orchard's integration into the school curriculum and student volunteer activities. I've met so many amazing people through these experiences and look forward to continuing to do more together for our community.


denise stands alongside community members at the cumberland orhard

A successful Arbor Day Tree Planting Day at the Orchard.

(Pictured: Adam Blackwell, Jesse Lamarre-Vincent, Denny Gallaudet, Denise Thorsson)

 

I'm Here to Stay and Here to Serve

 

Through researching the last 14 years of Town Council minutes, it's been interesting to see how history repeats itself, and incredible to see how a single community member can bring concerns to the Town Council, spark a change, and make a lasting positive impact. I grew up in a big city where you feel like a small fish in a giant ocean, where concerns fall on deaf ears, and neighbors treat each other as strangers. Cumberland is the one place that has truly felt like home and where all community members have an opportunity to make a difference.


I love my neighbors and town and am so thankful to those who have welcomed my family as their own. I appreciate how our local government is accessible to residents and how easy it is for motivated individuals to help shape our collective future. As your Town Councilor, I will improve and expand upon this accessibility and openness, ensuring we never lose or ignore individual voices as Cumberland grows and ideas are welcomed and thoughtfully considered.


Thank you for your time and attention and for considering me as a Cumberland Town Council candidate. I humbly ask for your vote in our June 11th election. I've knocked on doors and will keep making the rounds, but if I do not visit you personally, please reach out with any questions or concerns. I'm also happy to grab a coffee and chat personally. Visit the Q&A Blog for answers to common questions I've recieved from our community, and please consider watching Meet the Candidates and remember to vote! Your voice matters!


portrait of the Thorssons celebrating Maine Maple Sunday at Spring Brook Farmportrait

The Thorssons celebrating Maine Maple Sunday at Spring Brook Farm

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