1. Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?
My experience as Androscoggin County commissioner has prepared me for this position, and has earned me a good reputation as change agent and representative of my constituents. Most importantly, my 50 years as a resident and citizen of Auburn have given me an accurate, living perspective of the city of Auburn and its good citizens.
2. What do you believe is the biggest issue facing your city? Why?
I am concerned to see our best students and working families leaving the city to find more lucrative jobs elsewhere. Students graduate from high school, select post graduate institutions to study for professions of their choice, then seek jobs in their fields of study to repay college costs, as well as earn a decent livelihood. Few jobs of choice exist in Auburn. Working families move away for the same reasons — wanting to provide for their growing families by working in locations with lower taxes, greater work choices, and better wages.
3. What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?
I appreciated the fact that all city councilors approved the budget with a resulting bottom line that was closer to what city taxpayers could offer, and particularly without any position cuts. What continues to concern me is the school side of the budget. I would like to see the School Department be “on the same page” as the city throughout the budget-building process, working collaboratively to establish respect and trust, and control spending. There is a need for more transparency. I suggest it would enhance the process to hold budget reviews where a sincere effort is made to seek public input and hear taxpayer concerns, needs, opinions and suggestions.
4. What is the best way for your city to boost economic development and its attraction to people from outside the region?
Over 50 percent of our population is aged 50 and up, with another concentration of young people who work and live here. We must respond to the needs of both, who desire the same things — a walkable, vibrant downtown, opportunities for citizen engagement, to feel a part of this community, and be secure in knowing that Auburn is where they want to live, work, play and stay. We need to entrust our city manager in developing a growth plan that is approved by the City Council, with a format to measure results as we move in the right direction.
5. Do you support the merger of Lewiston and Auburn?
Alfreda M. Fournier