Macdonald: I speak for Lewiston

LEWISTON — None of the ideas mayoral candidate Bob Macdonald champions are new to Lewiston residents, he said.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Bob Macdonald, foreground, talks with some of his friends during a typical morning gathering at Tim Hortons on Sabattus Street in Lewiston recently. From left are Macdonald, Gene Giroux, Roger Anctil, Gerard Chamberland, Norm Anctil, Henry LeBlanc, Gene Tardif and Pete Lavoie.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Bob Macdonald, left, talks with some of his friends during a typical morning gathering at Tim Hortons on Sabattus Street in Lewiston recently. From left are Macdonald, Gene Giroux, Roger Anctil, Gerard Chamberland, Norm Anctil, Henry LeBlanc, Gene Tardif (hidden) and Pete Lavoie.

Residents worry that there's too much welfare and that the city's culture is changing, he said. They're impatient to turn the city's fortunes around.

"But nobody's listened," Macdonald said. "It's not what they wanted to hear."

Macdonald said that all changes if voters pick him at the Dec. 13 mayoral runoff election.

Macdonald promises to do what he can to limit public assistance and subsidized housing — even though those are federal and state programs and  out of the mayor's control.

"I can't change anything that's in place," he said. "What I've said is we need to pass a moratorium and we limit it — no further Section 8 housing or affordable or whatever you want to call it or whatever name it goes by next week. No more of that."

Reducing Lewiston's affordable housing will lure new business and encourage redevelopment of the city while boosting its image around the state, he said.

"This is what people are telling me, what they've been saying for years, and I've listened," he said.

Macdonald hasn't said how he'd accomplish what he wants. But knowing what he wants to accomplish is the most important thing right now.

"I may not know all the codes and program names, but knowing all that hasn't helped us so far anyway," he said. "That's who's been in charge, and look where we are."

Macdonald said he has the public's support, and he plans to use the mayor's job as a bully pulpit to shape things. The job's main responsibility may be running City Council meetings, but Macdonald said that should be enough.

"The sort of people that are my supporters, they will fill up the City Council meetings," he said. "They'll demand that things will change."

Macdonald moved to Maine in 1977, attended the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and joined the Lewiston Police Department. He spent 23 years on the job, reaching the rank of detective before retiring in 2000.

Many of his political views grew out of that time on the force.

"I'd see hardworking people here in the same downtown area, going to their jobs in the mill," he said. "The streets were clean enough you could eat off of them."

He watched that change over the years, with more and more people moving to the community and living on public support and welfare.

What frustrates him are people who don't work and don't contribute to society. During the campaign for Lewiston's mayor, he's called them layabouts and deadbeats.

"These people just don't care," he said. "They have no responsibility. They think that everybody else is supposed to do something for them, buy their food and pay their rent."

Macdonald said he doesn't have a problem with any ethnic group. 

"I say 'welfare recipients.' I'm talking about the whole crew on entitlement, whether they are white, black, yellow, green, purple or whatever," he said.

Macdonald spent the last 10 years working as an education tech at Lewiston Middle School, and that helped shape his views on Lewiston's newest Somali residents.

He has nothing but respect for Somali women. They are hardworking, serious and smart, he said.

But many of the Somali boys he saw at the middle school were different.

"They have to take all these standardized tests, filling in the bubbles with a pencil, and they'd just go down the line, filling in the same bubble," he said. "They'd mark 'A, A, A ...' and hand me the paper and say they're done. 'What do you mean you're done,' I'd say. But they just didn't care."

People who want to contribute are welcome in Lewiston, he said, but he hopes to make the city a less desirable place for those who don't want to work. With less subsidized housing and less public support, they'll have to go someplace else.

And then Lewiston can get back on track and turn itself around. He's excited about plans to develop Lewiston's riverfront and hopes to make that area a new downtown with a Lincoln Street exit on the Maine Turnpike feeding directly into it.

He says he's a one-issue candidate and that if he can leave office in two years with a 10-year moratorium on subsidized housing in place, he will have won.

Whether he is successful or not depends on his friends and supporters.

"I'm not a career politician, but I have a lot of support," he said. "I can get in and I can articulate what I want, but I need help. This is a we thing. It's not a me thing, and I'm not Larry Gilbert. It's not about me."

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 's picture

Too Bad

I feel very badly for the citizens of Lewiston. I do not live in Lewiston, I do however know a good number of people who do live there, I work in Lewiston as a contractor, and I frequent Lewiston businesses. There are a lot of very good things going on in Lewiston. Many areas of the town are thriving despite a national and statewide slumping economy. Lewiston is a place where diversity is not just a pie in the sky goal, it is fact, and the vast majority of people live together with respect and trust for those of and not of their color, nationality, economic status or religious background.
It's quite sad that in a town with this much going for it, a man like MacDonald with his backward racist opinions could be one of the top 2 candidates for mayor approved by the voters. Sad,,, very very sad. He admits he is a one issue candidate, claiming that his issue is a stop on subsidized housing, it's been reporting that he as mayor would not have the authority to do that, why would anyone vote for this man?
People of Lewiston, I pray that you form a majority and finally say no to the racebaiting, lies and perpetuation of myths that mr macDonald appears fond of using as his campaign platform.

Mike Lachance's picture

Ah yes, the token race

Ah yes, the token race baiting. The only folks talking about skin color, ethnicity and economic status are Macdonalds opponents.

Mark Elliott's picture

and Terry, give it a bit and

and Terry, give it a bit and Tron will jump in too....

Sandra Coulombe's picture

The problems I see with

The problems I see with restrictions on subsidized housing is there is no way to locally legislate a requirement that the truly, at no fault of their own, physically disabled and the elderly be given priority to the existing housing.

Aaron Mistich's picture

So we have a candidate that

So we have a candidate that flat out admits that he can in no way shape or form, under any circumstances carry through with anything he says... And people support him and say his plans are amazing.

You people scare the ever loving crap out of me.


That's it??

So that's what we get with this candidate? A 10 year moratorium on Section 8 housing? No plans for economic development? No plans for how to keep our schools when the State decreases funding and the Feds cut funding for Head Start? No plans for roads,clean water,cheaper cable service? No plans for riverfront development? No vision for the unused mill, the abandoned tenements? No plans to market our festivals? No ideas on how to make our downtown safer for the children who have to live there? As I see it the best way to decrease dependence on welfare is to encourage economic development. Throwing people out in the street and assuming they will just go elswhere is not realistic when most of them have nowhere else to go. All this will do is increase homelessness and crime and delinquency. Lewiston deserves better than a guy with one idea who is going to blart ideaology instead of working with others to improve our community.

Mike Lachance's picture

Claire, Lewiston should not

Claire, Lewiston should not HAVE to be so dependent on the state and fed. If we, as a city, actually got our act together, got rid of the dead weight, and lowered taxes accordingly, businesses would come to Lewiston, revenues would go up, unemployment would go down, and then guess what? We'd have more money for roads, schools and crime fighting.

As far as "throwing people out on the street", we already have that right now. We need to throw them out of Lewiston. I say let Augusta take them all. Or better yet, Sanford. Why Lewiston? We know why. Enough is Enough. The dead weight will go where the free money is.

Paradis has no plan and no vision, but he articulates that lack of plan so elouquently you'd think he was running for Miss America. If you WANT the same old "insider" politics for Lewiston, then DONT vote for Macdonald. Yes, it is, infact, that simple.


Dead weight

I love that you want to get rid of the dead weight. I do too. However, I have met some of the dead weight and found that most of them are just people, some of them with heartbreaking stories. I also love that you think getting rid of $5 million in rental subsidies to local landlords will lower my property taxes. What optimism! As for Augusta and Sanford sending out the welcome wagon for our poor, I'm not so optimistic because they are already full up there, and in Portland and in Bangor and in Waterville and in Biddeford. I'm also not so sure that people who are too poor to pay their rent will have money to move. In fact I'm also not so sure that a bunch of homeless, sick people hanging around the streets begging for money and mugging passersby and sticking up local businesses for drug money will be that big an attraction for business to come rushing in here. And most of all I really do not want to see people who are homeless, addicted, mentally ill and intellectually challenged committing crimes so they can get locked up and have a place to live. That would be sort of counter productive. I am aware that there is a growing group of citizens who are not contributing to the good of the community. There are many ways to deal with that, one of which would be to consider why they are so helpless to begin with. I hear all the time the question "Where is their work ethic and their pride?" A better question might be if you have a work ethic and pride where did you get yours? You were not born with it so where did it come from? There might be a solution in the answer to that question.

 's picture

dead weight

The dead weight is not all those that won't work so why do people that are legitimately getting a helping hand offended by wanting to clean out the dead weight. It will help you in the long run. The welfare lifers know who they are and its time to do something about them. Some cities apparently have the wheretheall to say "there is no more money" instead of cities like this that keep handing out money that they are taking from those that have and will work. If you go to get money from your account and there is none then you don't get any Period. We would have money for the things mentioned if we weren't trying to support half the world. It used to be if you needed a handout or handup you were obligated in some way to earn it by doing jobs that needed doing and they would find some for you to do as well. Now its just a plan handout. When will people understand that there would be money to help those that need helping if we weren't constantly handing out money to "dead weight ones". Alot getting assistance are living better and driving better cars and talking on cellphones then some that work for what they get. No one will ever appreciate what they get for nothing as the ones that worked for theirs.

Mike Lachance's picture

Awesome comments both Claire,

Awesome comments both Claire, and Wilma!
Claire, you're right, but what Wilma says is also absolutely correct. The solution is not to just sit on our hands and be "polite". Something needs to be done and when you compare apples to apples, Macdonald is the only choice we have between a "do-nothing" and an "at least try something".

Sure, the mayor's powers are very limited, but the bully-pulpit is not imaginary. It has its own power. The power of persuasion!

 's picture


Goooo Bob Go. Wish some in Auburn had the same backbone. I don't know how anyone except those living off the system could have a problem with these ideas. Some landlords made their rents available to Section 8 recipients to give them a chance at a decent place to live and alot appreciated that. Some landlords saw a chance to get way more then the rent was worth (at the time) I know everything has gone up now. Some tenants saw a chance to get a decent rent in a decent neighborhood and proceeded to wreck the rent and in part contribute to the downfall of the neighborhood. If you turn the rent into a dump don't blame the landlord for not fixing it up for you. Unfortunately that is not just in the Twin Cities its the whole state. Best of luck to you Bob and maybe it will rub off on your sister city as well.

Mike Lachance's picture

SJ has done a good job with

SJ has done a good job with this piece. Fair story. GO BOB GO!
Folks, it's time for a change and Enough Is Enough.
Bob Macdonald is the catalyst for transforming Lewiston for the netter.
Make it happen De. 13.

Aaron Mistich's picture

Since he has no control over

Since he has no control over what he's campaigning on... what changes are you expecting?


Or in this case...

Campaigning on an issue + having no control or ability to make changes to the issue = No change will get made and he's just a wanna be career politician saying whatever he thinks you want to hear in order to get him a government check for doing nothing.

Mike Lachance's picture

Macdonald a "wannabe career

Macdonald a "wannabe career politician"?
Saying whatever he thinks we wanna hear???

Definately not.
And quite possibly the most backwards assessments of Mr. Macdonald imaginable.

The mayor can have influence. The council can and often does act under that influence.

Aaron Mistich's picture

Federal is federal and he

Federal is federal and he can't touch it. The council can't touch it. He can't do anything about the current policies and those are the ones that have caused the situation. He admits he can't do anything about them.
When he talks about a moratorium he's just using flowery language that's been proven to get the vote of a certain segment of the population to vote for him. What's his moratorium on increasing the availability of affordable housing going to do to fix the current problems?

He almost sounds like he's taken a class on what to say to get elected.

Mark Elliott's picture

not to mention, sometimes a

not to mention, sometimes a mayor becomes governor. ;) ...that'll get em going!

 's picture


Washington D. C. campaigns all the time on promises that they don't have the slightest intention of even trying to keep and doing it again as we speak.

Aaron Mistich's picture

And aren't we supposed to be

And aren't we supposed to be trying to get rid of those people?

Mark Elliott's picture

Yes, oBUMa is a prime example

Yes, oBUMa is a prime example too!

Aaron Mistich's picture

And how's that been working

And how's that been working for us? Obama is a prime example of why voters should stay the heck away from people like McDonald.

Mike Lachance's picture

Equating Macdonald with Obama

Equating Macdonald with Obama is, well, (you're college educated???/).. well... insane. You might as well be equating Reagan to Carter...

Aaron Mistich's picture

Both inexperienced know

Both inexperienced know nothings.

Obama's campaign involved a ton of promises he has chosen to break. McDonald is campaigning on promises he has no way of keeping.

Main selling point: They aren't the last guy.

Seem pretty similar to me.

Mike Lachance's picture

Tell me, oh college educated

Tell me, oh college educated one, what has Macdonald promised?
Give me some quotes.

 's picture


No changes were ever made from doing nothing or at least trying to do something. With all the negatives about what he wants to look into and see what can be done it will be hard for anyone to do anything without support. How is the status quo working for you now?

Aaron Mistich's picture

How's it working for me?

How's it working for me? Pretty good job, nice home, best financial status I've been in my entire life.

Of course I have a college education, a phenomenal work ethic and refuse to blame other people (or the government) when things aren't looking rosy.

 's picture

Well if everyone was sitting

Well if everyone was sitting on your perch no one would have a complaint no matter who was mayor. Sorry to tell you that you are one of the precious few and through no fault of theirs some of them. You are one of the lucky ones but alot of good people with your qualifications have and are losing their perches. When ones job decides its easier for them to run it from Mexico or China will you be offered the opportunity to move with it. The way companies are run now your good work record means nothing and don't tell me I don't know personally about this one. As long as companies are allowed to move overseas where labor is cheap and no restrictions they will and it will still cost you 200 bucks for a pair of Nike's. If anyone is crazy enough to support these companies and with the good grace of the US there is no good end. Your next GE appliance will be "Made in China" Wonder what will happen to those guys college education from their perch. If all candidates were not voted for because of promises or agendas we would never have public officials but to not be given a chance is not the way either. How many mayors or any other officials in the last 50 yrs have done what they said they would do? If they had we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now. Everyone says time to clean house in Augusta and Washington and I couldn't agree more but the thing is I might not like the guy that is bringing all the pork into his state but I can't vote him/her out. You don't like Nancy Pelosi? Well try to vote her out. Its fine to help "small business" like our Senator wants to do but we need "big business" and those are going overseas with the good graces of Washington apparently.

Mike Lachance's picture

Wilma. You are amazing.

Wilma. You are amazing. Excellent stuff!
You articulate the TRUTH like few can.

Mike Lachance's picture

COLLEGE Educated! Wow. "Of

COLLEGE Educated! Wow. "Of course"...
Gee, im sorry, i didnt know... that changes everything.

Nice to see the college succeeded in created another drone who refuses to blame the government when the country is going to pot. "College Educated" huh? Who do you blame, then when things in LEWISTON are not going so rosy? (We know, we know... you only blame yourself, because you're oh so humble.)

Mike Lachance's picture

Of course the status quo

Of course the status quo (Gilbert = Paradis) = ZERO change
The status quo SUCKS!

Mike Lachance's picture




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