By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
10-08. Welcome to TCT’s newest mayor’s column: “Enough is Enough.” Leaving an enjoyable retirement, I humbly assume the Office of Mayor and take the reins of one of the Top 10 retirement cities in the U.S. Meanwhile, my predecessor and former boss, Laurent F. Gilbert Sr., and his wife Pat go 10-07, hopefully into a long and happy retirement.
Before proceeding, I would be remiss in not publicly recognizing and thanking those whose participation made Lewiston’s Inaugural a first-class event. Thank you to Rita Dube for allowing the ceremony to be held at the Franco American Heritage Center and Richard Martin for his work on the sound system and logistics. This venue elevated the event into something very special.
Thanks also to the Lewiston City Clerk’s Office and Dottie Perham-Whittier for their outstanding work.
The invocation by the Rev. Douglas Taylor and the benediction by Father Bob Vaillancourt reminded those on stage of their obligations as elected officials. Blais Flower and Garden Center did an excellent job of sprucing up the stage.
Mackenzi Masselli’s rendition of our National Anthem, along with the Lewiston High School Chamber Choir, directed by Darrin Avery, highlighted the talent of the young people of our community.
The Honor Guard, made up of Lewiston Fire and Police Dept. personnel, along with members of the LHS Air Force Junior ROTC, performed their duties in a manner on par with any military honor guard. Thank you to the ROTC Cadets, along with the LHS Law Enforcement Cadets, who served as ushers and distributed the inaugural programs.
Lastly I must thank the Lewiston Regional Technical Center Culinary Arts Program under Chef Dan Caron for their wonderful spread of desserts following the ceremony.
This column was to start a few weeks ago. However, the new mayor is required to undergo an intense training session dealing with the proper way to rap a gavel (which I excel at) and cutting ribbons, which I haven’t mastered yet.
In a serious vein, this column will keep the readers informed of what’s happening in Lewiston and why. Rumors will be addressed. Readers will also be updated in a timely way of the steps being taken to reduce welfare dominance in the Twin Cities.
The first and most immediate problem we face as a growing vibrant city will cost us nothing to correct. One that I, along with many other proud Lewistonians, am guilty of: our negative attitude toward our city. This has to immediately come to an end.
We must go from dwelling on a small number of negatives to focusing on the many new and exciting changes happening throughout our community. Instead of myopically focusing on and defining our city by a small downtown piece of real estate, we must refocus on the major developments happening throughout our community.
Some of the major complaints used to cast Lewiston in a negative light are its perceived high crime rate, our refugee population and our large welfare population. Yet Portland, the jewel of Maine, has a higher crime rate, many more refugees and a greater welfare population.
Portlanders choose to accentuate the positive about their city. We Lewistonians seem to dwell on the negative. This has got to come to an end!
The days of Lewiston being known as a Mill Town ended two decades ago. The reputation of Lewiston as a welfare city will soon be coming to an end. In 10 years, Lewiston-Auburn will be the premier place in Maine to live. In order to accomplish this, local attitudes towards Lewiston must change from naysayers to cheerleaders and goodwill ambassadors.