By Robert E Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
The upcoming election is very important to taxpaying Lewistonians and, as Mayor of Lewiston, to me personally. Property taxpayers will decide whether we build our tax base by attracting residents and businesses or whether we will continue to shrink our tax base by allowing our community to be overrun by non-profit advocacy groups.
The choice is simple: increase jobs or increase the welfare rolls.
In my role as mayor, I have had to take on a new role that is somewhat different than Bob Macdonald the citizen. I have had to put political ideology aside and decide what course benefits Lewiston and its citizens. Thank God for a city council that feels the same way.
In the local legislative races, Lewiston has a unique opportunity to finally have representation in Augusta that will not have to consult local city councilors or officials to learn about our city’s needs. The election of Republican Mike Marcotte and Democrat Nathan Libby will give us a voice in both political caucuses. It has the potential of making the Twin Cities a player, not merely hand raisers for interests in Portland and points south.
The election of Tim Lajoie and Robert Reed will provide a much-needed infusion of new blood and legislators who actually understand the stark realities facing Lewiston and its people.
Senator Margaret Craven and Representative Peggy Rotundo have served Lewiston well. But—like many Republicans and Democrats that have taken up long-term residencies in Augusta—they have become part of what I would label as the “Halls of Augusta Culture.” In this culture, whenever any problem with government spending or the welfare system is pointed out, it is swiftly dismissed as “anecdotal” by social-services lobbyists, trumping the daily reality experienced by constituents.
We need representatives in Augusta who put more stock in the needs of their constituents as opposed to those advocating for special interest groups.
Lewiston property taxpayers are blessed that a native son of Lewiston sits in the Blaine House. Governor Paul LePage has set an agenda of austere fiscal policy that is needed to put the state’s financial house in order. He needs legislators on both sides of the aisle who will develop some backbone and tell special interest groups “Enough is Enough.”
We need legislators willing to stand up to the press and the vocal demonstrations by a handful of special interest groups and do what they were elected to do—regardless if it costs them an election. We can no longer afford legislators that go along to get along, resulting in a deeper fiscal crisis for our state.
In Auburn there is one candidate who could effectively challenge and negate any argument designed to prevent welfare reform. That person is Dennis Graise, whom I have no doubt will be a very effective voice in the battle over welfare reform. Our overly generous welfare system negatively affects our tax rates, our schools and our local hospitals, and it prevents city officials from successfully marketing our cities in order to attract new businesses and new residents.
On the bond issues, I break away from my colleagues in the Mayors’ Coalition. It’s the job of our legislators to decide whether we need to borrow more money to pay for the projects in these bond proposals. If they can’t make a decision on those issues, then let’s disband the Legislature.
In the race for the U.S. Senate, is this the same Angus King that upon becoming Governor of Maine could not find a qualified individual in Lewiston-Auburn to serve in this administration?
And what about his much-touted achievement: laptops? Kids at the Lewiston Middle School who have a hard time putting words together to make a sentence can easily find ways around security systems designed to keep them off unauthorized sites. Many rarely use their computers for what they were intended for—learning.
In the race for the U.S. House, Congressman Mike Michaud is a very nice guy. However, his signature piece in the L-A area, the C-BOC (Veteran’s Clinic) remains unstaffed, forcing veterans to continue to seek services at Togus. Why?
Lastly, the TANF numbers. Ninety families consisting of 413 people have applied. Twenty-eight families have been assisted for a total of $11,760 of your tax dollars. Our local legislators stood by and did nothing to champion a law that would have freed local taxpayers from this forced obligation.
Senator Margaret Craven voted to kill the bill (LD 1862) in committee, thus preventing it from coming before the full Legislature. Will you remember in November?