Lewiston City Council, Ward 6, Joline Landry Beam and Pauline Gudas

0

Bio

Name: Joline Landry Beam

Office sought: Lewiston City Council, Ward 6.

Occupation: educator, retired.

Advertisement

Education: Holy Family School, Lewiston High School, and the University of Southern Maine.

Family: married, three children, five grandchildren.

Political experience: two terms (1989-1993) on the Lewiston School Committee; member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995; Lewiston City Council, elected 2015.

Questions

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

I have already served one term on the City Council. Despite different political outlooks and constituencies, the council this term worked well together. I believe I contributed to this working relationship, and hope to do so in the next term. While on the council, I participated in the following committees: public works, recycling, Lewiston-Auburn transit, and the community development block grant. This experience provided considerable insight into the responsibilities of city government, and perspectives that will enable me to represent the citizens of Ward 6 and the city in a responsible and effective manner. 

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

Based on constituent feedback, there are two questions that are foremost on the minds of Lewiston residents — property taxes, and economic development. The City Council this term worked hard to keep the property tax rate stable, despite increasing pressures on expenditures, particularly for education. With the help of the finance director, department heads, the city administrator, and the School Committee, the council kept the budget down to the previous year’s assessment and was able to meet the School Department’s budget requests. The pressure on the city property tax can be mitigated by pursuing an active program of economic development. 

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

I voted for the latest city budget, after considerable discussion and many revisions of the original proposal. In the end, I believe the latest budget represented a lot of hard work on the part of the citizens, the City Council, and the city administration, both to provide adequate funding to meet the needs of citizens, and at the same time to keep in mind the concerns of citizens and keep taxes at a reasonable level. My major concern, as it is with my constituents, is that the pressure on city expenses continues unabated, and that will be a major challenge facing the council in the next term.

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

The city administration and members of the City Council have worked hard to attract investments and businesses to the area. The fostering of employment opportunities in Lewiston will be the main spur to retain its citizens, and a magnet for people outside the area. Providing funds to keep the city’s schools competitive with other schools in Maine will help attract businesses. The council can continue to work with the city’s state legislative delegation to make sure Lewiston gets its fair share. 

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

I have not yet decided how I will vote on the merger. Rather than make up my mind now, while campaigning, I have been listening to constituents on their stand for the proposal. Many have decided on their vote, but some constituents are still undecided. They talk of the uncertainty of success, and also fear it will cost too much to be successful. If the merger is approved, I am prepared to help with the transition to ensure that the merger is a success. If the citizens vote it down, I will work to continue the progress both communities have made as sister cities.

Bio

Name: Pauline Gudas

Office sought: Lewiston City Council, Ward 6

Occupation: retired from the State of Maine Department of Corrections, probation and parole officer for 29 years.

Education: Lewiston Comprehensive High School, Class of 1974,
University of Maine in Orono, Bachelor of Arts in political science, Class of 1978. 

Family: married to David Gudas for 22 years.

Political experience: I have never run for an elected office. I have served on the Board of Appeals from 2012 to 2014. I was the vice chair of the Board of Appeals in 2013-14. I was appointed to the Planning Board in 2014. I served as secretary of the board in 2015 and am currently the vice chair of the Planning Board. I have also served on the Community Development Block Grant Committee since 2012. I have been the chair of the committee for the last two years.

Questions

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

I believe that I am the most qualified candidate for this job because I am committed to the betterment of this city. I chose to return to my hometown after college to work. I felt a connection to the place that I grew up. I take great pride in the place I call home. There were things that needed to change and I wanted to be part of the change. As a probation officer, I was involved in working with a number of local, state and federal agencies in various task forces to make the city of Lewiston a better place to live. 

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

The biggest issue of the city is a difficult question. Economic development is probably first. We need to attract companies to move here or to expand their businesses. We must have an economic department that is willing to give 110 percent to research, and convince businesses that Lewiston is the place that they want and need to be located. The city cannot sit on their heels and wait for businesses to call. We need to pursue and reach out to companies. The city has a lot of land for development available, but we need to advertise it in a positive fashion. 

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

I like that the budget had only a small increase in the tax rate, and that we are paying down the debt. I understand it is difficult to hold taxes down when the state and federal governments set mandates, but relies on the city to pay for them. I did not like that, at times, the council seemed to quickly pass on detailed discussions regarding spending. I do not like that the quasi-municipal departments do not submit a final budget to the council. There are times that they have money left over, put it in a slush fund, then allocate it to projects not included in their budgets.

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

I think that the way to boost economic development and to attract people to this area is for the city to promote itself. There are wonderful things happening in this city that people “from away” have no idea occur here. We have areas of the city that are truly jewels like Simard Payne Park, the river walkways, Thorncrag Sanctuary, and other things. We have many residential parts of the city that are wonderful to raise children and to live. We need to start taking a good look at the city in regard to the trash and lack of home pride. 

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

I do not support the merger for a variety of reasons. I do not believe that it will save any “real” money for the taxpayers. I am concerned that some of the numbers that the Joint Charter Commission has used are not accurate. I have also attended several of the debates. The one thing I have heard is that we will save money but that it will used for other things. How does that turn into savings for the taxpayer?

Joline Landry Beam

Pauline Gudas

Advertisement