Auburn City Council, Ward 5, Dustin Miles and Leroy Walker

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Bio

Name: Dustin N. Miles

Office sought: Auburn City Council, Ward 5

Occupation: teacher/math interventionist

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Education: undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Maine in Orono, and a master’s degree of curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University.

Family: wife, Nicole Miles, and 2-year-old son Lincoln Kennedy Miles.

Political experience: treasurer/vice president of Friends International, a nonprofit organization from 2012 to the present, and Angus King for Senate volunteer in 2012.

Questions

1. Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

At the present time, I feel that I am the best candidate because I have dedicated myself to making sure that I meet the families and people of my ward, but more importantly, listening to what they have to say. I look at City Council as a three-phase plan. The first phase is to be elected, second is to go door-to-door and listen to the wants/needs of the people of my Ward 5, and third is to implement those needs that the people have recommended into city policy. 

2. What do you believe is the biggest issue facing your city? Why?

First, we must stop raising our property taxes, which increases rent and mortgages. Second, small business is the backbone of our community and we need to ensure that we support and design a plan to see small businesses thrive into the future. Using a synergistic approach of the small business council, we can better communicate and build off each other’s strengths to support one another. As a member of a family who has owned a small business for the past 38 years, I know that there can be extreme highs and lows from month to month and season to season.

3. What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?

One reason I am running is because everything seems status-quo when it comes to the budget. We need to think progressively like other cities our size. An independent study from four professors at the University of Maine concluded that Portland will be saving $250,000 this year alone by switching to the trash and recycling cart program. We are currently using an antiquated trash removal system, which does not benefit taxpayers. If we saved one third of what Portland is saving based on population, we would be close to $85,000 per year in extra revenue, which I think everyone can agree would be a good thing.

4. What is the best way for your city to boost economic development and its attraction to people from outside the region?

We have the foundational structure in our very home town to be the most powerful and forward-thinking city in Maine. Auburn can be both family friendly and economically development friendly at the same time. With over 200 miles of fiber optic cable in the Twin Cities, we are ready to move into the future. However, we need to have the right people to push us into the next generation of the small business model. We cannot afford to let these opportunities continue to slide by the wayside. 

5. Do you support the merger of Lewiston and Auburn?

No. Oftentimes a candidate’s message can be misconstrued in the public and I wanted everyone voting to know that I did not support the merger, so much so that I actually put it on my sign. While I see the cities building our relationships and learning from each other, I do not feel at the time it is what’s best for either city. After reading the independent report and seeing it would cost roughly $5 million to merge, the last thing I would want is for that burden to fall on the taxpayers.

Bio:
 
Name: Leroy G. Walker Sr.
 
Office sought:  City Council, Ward 5
 
Occupation: Retired since 2010
 
Education: General education diploma
 
Family: Four children, one deceased
 
Political experience: Six years as Auburn City Councilor, Ward 5
 
Questions:

1. Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

I worked for the city of Auburn for over 39 years, and am very familiar with the workings, issues, and budgets of the city. I am also very connected with the people of New Auburn. I initiated the United New Auburn Association to bring the people of the New Auburn area together, and started the New Auburn neighborhood watch group, which is thriving. I have been instrumental in establishing the New Auburn master plan, and am anxious to see it being implemented in the next year. I bring a lot of experience to the table, as I am familiar with the ongoing issues that the council is dealing with, and will deal with in the future.

2. What do you believe is the biggest issue facing your city? Why?

The biggest issue facing the city right now is the consolidation issue, which I think is going to fail, but it is an opportunity for the two cities to find other ways that they can work collaboratively. In the future, however, I believe that the biggest issue facing the city of Auburn is the building of the new Edward Little High School — finding an appropriate location and getting this project moving forward, as well as drawing businesses to the city to address the city’s economic development issue. In addition, I would like to strive toward getting a brand new public safety building that would house the police, fire and 911 departments.

3. What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?

I voted to accept the city’s budget this year. The city departments did everything they could do to hold the tax rate fairly steady. I do, however, object to the school department budget. There has to be a better way to work with the school department. We need to get on the same page as far as what is done with federal and state funding, and how that should affect their funding request from the city. 

4. What is the best way for your city to boost economic development and its attraction to people from outside the region?

We have to “sell” our city with a new brand. We have to work a lot closer with Auburn’s economic development department. We have a lot of attributes — land available, room for growth, and a lot of talent in our city. We need to market ourselves through our great new team from the City Manager down. 

5. Do you support the merger of Lewiston and Auburn?

I absolutely do not support the consolidation of Lewiston and Auburn. We are a great city just the way we are, with a bright future if we continue on the path we are all working toward now. That doesn’t mean we want to stagnate. We want to move forward as individual cities, promoting our attributes effectively. The biggest flaw in the proposed charter agreement is the City Council being shrunk down so much that each councilor would never be able to serve the 6,500 people in each ward. There are many more reasons not to support this merger, but this is my number one reason.

Dustin N. Miles

Leroy Walker Sr.

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