LEWISTON —  Michael Dumas, a 2002 Lewiston High graduate, became the first person Monday to officially launch his campaign for mayor.

In postings on Facebook and in an e-mail to local media and supporters, Dumas said he hopes to steer the region in a more positive direction.

“It’s important for us now to set the bar higher, to continue improving Lewiston’s image around this area,” Dumas said. “I think the past decades, Lewiston’s gotten a raw deal and been made the butt end of jokes. We need to show the rest of the state that’s not us, that we think better of ourself than that.”

Dumas, who turns 25 in August, would tie former Mayor Robert L. Couturier as the youngest person to hold that office if he wins. Couturier was mayor in 1965 and 1966.

Dumas was recently laid off from Portland’s Seligman Data Corp., where he handled mutual fund transactions. Dumas said he’s looking for a new job locally.

“But my first priority is the city of Lewiston,” Dumas said. “Whatever I find, it will be built around my dedication to the city.”

Dumas said he had not taken nomination papers for the job, but planned to on Monday. Only one candidate, former City Councilor Mark. W. Paradis, has taken out nomination papers so far.

Dumas said he could not judge the current council and mayor for firing City Administrator Jim Bennett earlier this month.

“I don’t have all the facts they did, I was not in that executive session with them and I’m sure they voted the best way they could,” he said.

But Dumas did say he thought councilors should not hire Bennett’s replacement. That should be left to the new council and mayor, after their January 2010 swearing-in.

Dumas also criticized some of current Mayor Larry Gilbert’s initiatives, including his drive to clean up the downtown and Saturday coffee meetings with constituents.

“It’s nice to sit and have coffee with the mayor,” Dumas wrote in a news release. “It is another thing to actually get out there with residents, entrepreneurs and business leaders to discuss opportunities and ways to overcome perceived hurdles for advancement.”

Gilbert appointed Dumas to a task force reviewing solid waste policies in 2008. Dumas later resigned from the group and urged the council to disband it, complaining it was too political.

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