By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
“Tip O’Neill said that all politics is local. I say all politics is personal. Voters want to know: how does this election affect me and my concerns?”
Thus spoke Ray Flynn, former Boston mayor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, to a group of Suffolk University students tracking the race for mayor in Boston.
I pose the same question to Lewiston voters: how is the upcoming mayor’s election going to impact you?
In the last seven years, the mayor’s position has gone from ribbon cutting, running a council meeting and occasionally breaking a tie vote to the person sitting in the corner basement office setting the direction in which the City of Lewiston will proceed. This power, not found in the City Charter, is the result of the Bully Pulpit.
Over the last seven years, two strong-willed, retired police officers have occupied the corner office. Since we are both retired, we have transformed the office from a part-time to a full-time position. The beliefs of each of us can be compared to oil and water. Both are opinionated, and we will not back down from our beliefs or positions.
Therefore, the question becomes: who will represent your beliefs, my opponent or me?
Do you want a mayor who adheres to political correctness or one that tells the truth, no matter the backlash?
Do you want a mayor who sits in the office all day or one that is out daily speaking with the public in order to get the pulse of the city?
Do you want a mayor who claims that he is working for the betterment of our refugee population or a mayor who works with private and municipal agencies to set up a center where non-English-speaking individuals will be immersed in English so that they can become employable?
Do you want a mayor who shrugs off a company that spent almost $2 million in capital to refurbish a downtown eyesore and create 250 jobs in our downtown by saying, “We can do better”?
Or do you want a mayor working with city staff and a private organization that brought this renovation and these jobs to our city?
Do you want a mayor who feels it’s demeaning to help our New Mainers spruce up their businesses? Or do you want a mayor who, through teamwork, was able to find someone to help spruce up their businesses?
Do you want a mayor who embraces welfare? Or a mayor seeking to tighten it up?
While my opponent was recruiting individuals to testify before a Congressional Committee in Washington, D.C. on “illegal” guns, we were doing the following:
1. Fighting to maintain neighborhood schools and kill the concept of busing.
2. Fighting in Augusta as a member of the Mayors’ Coalition for revenue sharing and full funding of our schools.
3. Submitting legislation to tighten up and reduce Lewiston’s welfare budget.
4. Fighting to get the State of Maine to pay its outstanding debt to our hospitals.
5. Fighting against Anthem’s plan to drop insurance coverage at CMMC.
6. Removing abandoned and blighted buildings from the city’s landscape.
On Tuesday, November 5, which mayoral candidate would be your personal favorite?