Pro-merger campaign for Lewiston-Auburn kicks off Thursday

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AUBURN — A campaign group in support of the Lewiston-Auburn merger will host a kickoff event on Thursday.

One LA, the group supporting the November vote to make Lewiston and Auburn one city, will roll out its essential argument in favor of the merger during a 10 a.m. news conference Thursday, April 6, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn. 

According to a Wednesday news release, One LA campaign leaders will speak about the benefits expected from merging the two cities, and outline campaign goals. Lewiston and Auburn residents, business owners and community leaders who support One LA are expected to attend.

The news release names Lewiston architect Gabrielle Russell and business owner Carl Sheline the co-managers of the campaign. 

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The merger discussion has a long and complicated past in the Twin Cities, and is set for a final vote in November. In 2014, a Lewiston-Auburn Joint Charter Commission was elected and charged with drafting a joint city charter. 

In January, the commission released the results of a study that was done by a consulting group, which lays out the potential benefit of a merger, including projected savings of between $2.3 and $4.1 million annually

Since then, the Coalition Opposed to Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation, a campaign opposing the merger, has organized and kicked off its campaign.  

Gene Geiger, chairman of the Joint Charter Commission, told the Sun Journal last week that while the commission is supporting the merger, there would be an official group to lead the political campaign. 

According to the news release, “One LA believes making Lewiston and Auburn one city is the best path for the future of the L-A community. Together, the cities can use their combined resources for economic growth, a better school system, a safer community, a stronger voice in Augusta, and a more efficient government structure with all leadership pulling in one direction.” 

The Hilton Garden Inn is at 14 Great Falls Plaza, Auburn. 

arice@sunjournal.com 

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