Considering the negative effect the Wal-Mart superstore in Auburn has had on the community, I don’t understand how building another one in Lewiston can be considered a positive. As this area gets more saturated with retailers, the sales at new stores will just be taken away from existing stores and supermarkets, unless there is also a boost in the income of our citizens.

Wal-Mart is well known for providing below-average wages and limiting hours in a pay period to avoid providing benefits to its hard-working employees. In fact, it has been documented that Wal-Mart encourages its workers to apply for state-funded healthcare and similar benefits intended for non-working, low-income families. This allows the largest employer in the United States, a company with yearly earnings measured in billions of dollars, to neglect its responsibility to employees at the expense of taxpayers.

Is this the kind of “growth” we need in Lewiston/Auburn?

For true economic growth to occur in Central Maine, we need to follow the model of Southern Maine’s strong job market. Let’s first try to provide more diverse employment opportunities. This means luring and keeping companies that pay people living wages and provide benefits.

With more money in our citizens’ pockets, we will be able support all of these wonderful stores that we are building.

I urge the city planners in Lewiston and Auburn to work to give us better job choices, not more Wal-Marts.

Heidi Lebel, Lewiston

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