Reed, Bouchard seek Lewiston City Council Ward 4 seat

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Residents of Ward 4 in Lewiston get a special opportunity to vote this year, selecting a replacement for Councilor Doreen Christ. Christ resigned last month because she moved to Freeport.

Lewiston’s Ward 4 is in the center of the city’s land mass, bordered by Webster, Farwell and Sabattus streets in the west, Pond Road in the east and Old Greene Road in the north.

Vying to replace Christ for the remainder of her term, which ends in 2015, are Darcy Reed and Shane Bouchard.


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Name: Darcy Reed

Age: 21

Home Address: 89 Rideout Ave.

Campaign email address: darcy.reed2013@gmail.com

Facebook page and other social media: www.facebook.com/Reedforcouncil

Occupation or primary source of income: Landlord and student

Education: University of Maine School of Law, candidate for the degree of juris doctor, anticipated May 2017. University of Southern Maine, Bachelor of Arts in social and behavioral sciences, summa cum laude, December 2013
Edward Little High School, May 2010

Family: Michael Reed, father; Merilette Reed, mother; seven sisters

Public offices held or sought: Ward 4 City Council

Civic memberships: Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society (2013); Golden Key International Honor Society, secretary (2012-2013); USM Student Government Association, vice president (2013)

What Maine political figure do you most admire?

Currently, Gov. LePage is the Maine political figure I admire most. LePage came from a rough background, to say the least. Despite the poverty, domestic violence and the fact the odds were against him, the governor has become successful. This may just be my personal bias as I have experienced similar difficulties, but I admire LePage’s hard work and dedication to family and veterans. We may not always agree, but I do appreciate and respect his honesty.

What is the biggest issue facing Lewiston in the coming year?

The biggest issue facing Lewiston this year is, yet again, the budget. Learning to live within our means is not easy. Another huge and closely related issue facing Lewiston is housing. How to develop fair-market apartments and continue the condemnation and demolition of buildings. As a homeowner and landlord, I have a unique perspective on these issues and feel I can contribute a valuable perspective. I am open to hearing all suggestions.

Do you support city involvement in affordable housing downtown, and to what extent? Why?

Right now, I do not support city involvement in subsidized housing projects, such as the Pierce Place project. This particular project is going to cost city, state and federal taxpayers over $5 million just for the construction of the building. This does not include the high costs of rents.

There is an abundance of quality apartments in Lewiston, I can personally attest to this. This project will negatively affect local businesspeople such as (but not exclusively) landlords. Furthermore, I do not believe that the construction of more low-income buildings is in the best interest for the city as a whole.

We need to focus our time, energy and resources on encouraging businesses, which will offer employment opportunities and promote independence to members of our community. Subsidized apartments may provide a temporary fix, but is not a long-term solution to our economic problems. Instead of subsidizing entire buildings, HUD should give individual vouchers to tenants so that they can choose where they want to live and rent from local landlords, at a much lower price than the cost of subsidized buildings. Not only are low-income housing projects extremely costly to taxpayers, but oftentimes, they are built by out-of-state construction workers.

Some proponents of low-income housing projects have implied that the housing stock in Lewiston is low-quality, even dangerous, but this is not true. I have managed buildings and/or leased out apartments for over twenty different landlords in Lewiston, so I can say from personal experience that there are many safe, quality apartments here. I have also lived in downtown buildings, so I know that there are quality apartments available.

The subsidized buildings, built with the deep pockets of the government (a.k.a taxpayer dollars) are mini Taj Mahals at the outset, but quickly turn into average-looking or worse buildings. Furthermore, the amenities provided in these buildings are over the top and are unnecessary (e.g. 24-hour property managers and professional contractors to perform simple maintenance tasks).

My view on low-income housing projects does not stem from ignorance or privilege, it comes from my hard work and appreciation for the value of the dollar. I have had to work hard for my entire adult life to support myself, and while it hasn’t been easy, I always find a way to make ends meet, no matter how difficult it proves to be. I understand low-income housing has a place in our community, as it does in every community. There are many folks (e.g. the elderly, veterans and the physically disabled) who need and deserve to have subsidized rent, this is why I have proposed that HUD give individual Section 8 vouchers, as opposed to subsidizing entire, costly buildings.

I do not want to be misunderstood; I am not “anti-poor,” insensitive to the realities of life or ignorant or the fact that we are experiencing extremely difficult times, I just see a better future for all residents of Lewiston.

If taxes are too high, where do you favor cuts? If you want to increase services, how do you propose we pay for them?

It is difficult to assess where cuts should be made without going through the process that councilors go through during the budget season. We must carefully evaluate each piece of the budget. I do have a couple of preliminary ideas.

First, once the assistant city administrator retires, I would suggest not filling this position (I estimate that this would save more than $100,000 annually). Secondly, I support cross-training police and firemen to save money. Thirdly, reducing the amount of money that is spent on General Assistance will help the budget. Finally, I support the introduction of an expanded or required recycling program in Lewiston. Not only is recycling the socially-conscious decision, but it will also reduce the cost of trash removal for taxpayers.

What kind of a job has Mayor Macdonald and the current council done? What would you do to make things better?

I do not support the council’s decision to approve another low-income housing project in Lewiston. I would have voted against this project, as long as the Ward 4 constituents felt that way.

I think that Mayor Macdonald has done a fantastic job during his two terms as our mayor and I will be happy to have him serve a third term. The decision of the mayor and the council to set aside money each year to demolish condemned buildings is one that I support. Demolishing condemned buildings is helpful because it removes unsafe and unsightly buildings and allows for green space or the construction of new businesses and apartment buildings. Also, I support the council’s decision to not increase property taxes for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Taxpayers are already burdened enough and are not in a position to pay increased tax bills.

Regardless of my personal views on the aforementioned issues, it is not my opinion that counts, it is the views of the Ward 4 residents that will matter to me, if elected. As always, I invite and welcome input, feedback and questions at any time. Please feel free to contact me via phone, email or just stop by. I love talking with my neighbors and fellow Lewiston residents!


Name: Shane Bouchard

Age: 35

Address: 28 Perley St.

Campaign email address: Mainehomerec@gmail.com

Occupation or primary source of income: Self-employed owner of Bouchard Lawncare and Landscaping and Maine Home Recreation

Education: Dirigo High School, 1997; CMTC, 1998

Family: Wife, Allison; son, Anthony

Public offices held or sought: First time

What Maine political figure do you most admire?

Olympia Snowe. She was effective and always able to see through party politics, work on both sides of the aisle and get things done.

What is the biggest issue facing Lewiston in the coming year?

We need to stop being a destination for welfare. We cannot sustain it. There are people with a legitimate need for help and we need to take care of them but the influx of people arriving for the handouts has to end.

Do you support city involvement in affordable housing downtown, and to what extent? Why?

There are certain residents who require assistance and we need to be there for those residents. As for additional building of HUD housing projects, my answer is a very clear no. Lewiston has quite enough affordable housing and desperately needs more market rate housing.

If taxes are too high, where do you favor cuts? If you want to increase services, how do you propose we pay for them?

As I talk to folks in Ward 4, most seem to believe the taxes are fair for the services we receive. As a realist, I won’t say property taxes will go down, but there are things we can do to keep them at reasonable levels.

All of our city departments need to take a good look at their budgets and see where there is excess that can be trimmed without compromising the quality of things like our roads, water, education, fire and police services.

However, cutting is not the only answer. We need to continue to crack down on the abuse in our affordable housing system and clean up the downtown area. This will raise property values, make Lewiston more attractive to business, bring tax-paying citizens and market rate housing.

There is no overnight solution, but a combination of cuts and working to increase the tax base will put us on the right track.

What kind of a job has Mayor Macdonald and the current council done? What would you do to make things better??

I like Mayor Macdonald. I think he brings a good sense of what needs to be done to the table.

As for the current council, I think by and large they have done good work. I think they have been on the wrong side of some things like the St. Laurent housing project, which I oppose, but I hope this election will send the message about what the people of Lewiston want on that issue.

I would do three simple things

1. Be involved — I will take the time to do my homework on the issues coming before the council.

2. Be vocal — I won’t be a city councilor who only seconds motions and casts votes. If something does not add up, I will ask the tough questions and push when I need to.

3. And, most importantly, be accessible — Listen to the residents of Ward 4. It is really that simple for me.

A city councilor is a citizen’s best chance to directly affect how their tax dollars are spent. As a city councilor, I will be accessible and available for the people of Ward 4. I am going to directly address any concerns they have and go to work for them. While there are citywide implications to the way I will vote and the decisions I make, I’m running for the people of Ward 4 first. There are no outside interests influencing or backing me.


Twin Cities Polling Places

Nov. 4, 2014

Lewiston

* Ward 1: Lewiston Memorial Armory, 65 Central Ave.
* Ward 2: Montello School, 407 East Ave.
* Ward 3: Lewiston Memorial Armory, 65 Central Ave.
* Ward 4: Longley Elementary School (formerly Multi-Purpose Center), 145 Birch St.
*Ward 5: Longley Elementary School (formerly Multi-Purpose Center), 145 Birch St.
* Ward 6: The Green Ladle/Lewiston Regional Technical Center/Lewiston High School Campus, 156 East Ave.
* Ward 7: Longley Elementary School (formerly Multi-Purpose Center), 145 Birch St.


Auburn

* Ward 1: Washburn School, 35 Lake Auburn Ave.
* Ward 2: Auburn Middle School, 38 Falcon Drive
*Ward 3: Auburn Hall, 60 Court St.
*Ward 4: Fairview School, 397 Minot Ave.
* Ward 5: Sherwood Heights School, 32 Sherwood Drive

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