Lewiston mayoral candidate vows to stay positive in light of cancer diagnosis

LEWISTON — Mayoral candidate Mark Paradis has used the same phrase to greet people for years, especially when people ask him how he's doing.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Lewiston mayoral candidate Mark Paradis announces at a news conference Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with cancer. To see a video of Paradis' announcement go to www.sunjournal.com.

"The best — always the best," Paradis responds.

A diagnosis of cancer won't change that, Paradis said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"It's part of a positive attitude, and that doesn't change," Paradis said. "I need that positive attitude now, more than ever."

Paradis is one of two men seeking the mayor's chair in a Dec. 13 runoff election. Paradis and opponent Robert Macdonald were the top two vote-getters in a field of five in November's municipal election, but neither collected enough votes to win the mayor's seat. Paradis got 32 percent and Macdonald got 31. City rules require a mayor to get at least 50 percent, plus one vote.

Paradis said his cancer diagnosis wouldn't stop him from seeking the job. He said people shouldn't decide how they're going to vote based on the diagnosis, but he's still convinced he's the right man for the job.

"This election is about philosophy, about how to move Lewiston forward," Paradis said. "I believe our approach is the right one and I want to create a legacy that will outlive all of us."

Paradis, 59, said he was diagnosed with cancer soon after the Nov. 8 municipal election. He would not say what kind of cancer he has, but he said he started radiation treatments that would continue for several more days.

"The results from the biopsy have not come back yet and we don't expect them until tomorrow or Friday," Paradis said. "But we do know enough now that we are comfortable doing a first term, and then seeing."

In a press release issued prior to the news conference, Paradis said his doctors were confident he would be able to complete at least one two-year term.

"I'm not looking to take center stage and create a scene," Paradis said in the written statement. "This election is not about Mark Paradis versus Bob Macdonald. It is about a way of thinking, a way of doing things, a philosophy."

Macdonald has promised to use the mayor's job as a bully pulpit, saying his supporters would fill City Council chambers to pressure the councilors. Macdonald has said he wants to limit subsidized housing in the city.

"I continue to believe that our approach is the right approach ," Paradis said. "It is one of balance, compassion, listening to each other and thinking problems through using intelligent discussion and reason."

Paradis has said he hopes to lead councilors like a conductor leads an orchestra, getting them to work together to promote economic development.

"I believe in compassion and listening to one another," Paradis said during his news conference. "Whether I have cancer or not, I am the right person to lead this city."

Paradis said he decided to stay in the race after consulting with his family and friends. He decided to make his diagnosis public because he has pledged to be honest with voters.

"I felt that being truthful to voters meant there were no exceptions, so I decided to disclose my condition," he said. "If I am fortunate to be elected, I will not waste any time for the people of Lewiston."

Wednesday's conference was attended by Paradis' wife, Ronella, supporters, Ward 3 Councilor-elect Nathan Libby and incumbent Ward 7 City Councilor Stephen Morgan, a cancer survivor who pledged his support to Paradis.

"There are literally thousands of cancer survivors in the Twin Cities that are going to stand with you and stand by you and think you are the right man for the job," Morgan said. "You have our support, I know."

Macdonald, Paradis opponent, said he is hopeful for Paradis.

"Hang in there," Macdonald said. "I beat it myself."

Macdonald said he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer about 18 months ago. It was caught very early and was taken care of quickly.

"I'm sorry (Paradis) has it," he said. "I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I don't know how bad he has it or what it is, but he should just hang in there. You can beat this stuff as long as you hang in there. If you give up, that's when you lose. If you hang in and fight it, you can win."


Mark Paradis statement: Wednesday Press Release

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Mike Lachance's picture

QUOTE: "I'm not looking to

"I'm not looking to take center stage and create a scene," Paradis said. "This election is not about Mark Paradis versus Bob Macdonald. It is about a way of thinking, a way of doing things, a philosophy."

I pray that Mr. Paradis emerge from his illness with health, happiness and love. May God watch over him and see him and his loved ones through this ordeal. However, the issues facing Lewiston are now on the backburner and while I understand Mr. Paradis reasoning for "telling the truth", he has done just what he has said he wished not to do. The race is now about a cancer patient and a retired cop.

Deservedly so, the Cancer patient is now center stage. (A retired cop is comparatively boring)... Any philosophy has been taken off the table.

Mr. Paradis, God bless you during this trying time and may you remain strong, resolute, healthy and most of all, happy. To you I say: "only the best".

However, my vote against you on "the issues, philosophy" and record will not change.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Excellently stated, Mike.

Excellently stated, Mike.

David  Cote's picture

Are you kidding???!!!

Mike, you are so completely off your rocker if you think Mr. Paradis disclosed the fact he has cancer in order to attract the sympathy vote. What a shallow and mean spirited thought. If you weren't going to vote for him in the first place then why bother with this post? And to assume voters are blind enough to alter or reaffirm their vote in light of this news is a insult to every voter casting a ballot in this race. I can't vote since I live out of town, otherwise Paradis would get my vote for the reasons I stated in my previous post, in other words, a vote he would have earned.

Mike Lachance's picture

Mean spirited?? David, did

Mean spirited?? David, did you even READ my post? Shallow? Think about what I wrote. This race is extremely close by many estimates. In a race such as this, many people are on the fence. And whats more, this is politics. Anything can be expected. Do I think Mr. Paradis released this diagnosis at this late date for a political reason? I have no idea. I cannot say he did. There is no proof that he did, nor is there any evidence to say he didnt. In the end however, it might sway a voter.

My point was first and foremost to give Mr. Paradis my heartfelt prayers and best wishes with regards to his diagnosis. At the same time I pointed out the hypocrisy of (a) his statement that he didnt want to take centerr ste with regrds to his press confernce, and (b) he did just that (three SJ front page SJ articles with Paradis picture in just two days)

The problem I have with this is that the ISSUES have now been lost. Both Padis and Macdonalds messages a now seemingly unimportant in the Sun Journal. It is what it is. It didnt have to be done "on purpose" on the part of Paradis, but as far as news goes its all about Mr. Paradis now.

He deserves our prayer and I (again) wish him and his family and loved ones only the best of health, happiness and joy, today and long into the future.

Mean spirited? No.
Objective? Yes.

David  Cote's picture

Keep the faith, Mark

I've known Mark for several years and have done business with him. He is a very caring individual who cares deeply about folks he deals with on a daily basis. He's a good man and I was saddened to learn he now has to battle this disease. But Mark is a tough individual as well full of constant optimism. He's not one to back down from adversity. I'll be shaking his hand soon, but until then I indeed wish for Mark the best...always the best.


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