One of my fondest childhood memories of my grandmother was when I stood by the trestle to meet her as she crossed the footbridge on Canal Street after her day shift at the Bates Mill.

I stood in awe as the streets were swept aside by a noisy, happy tide of working people spilling out into downtown Lewiston.

Working families are what make a city work. Given the chance, working families will move Maine into a future we can all be proud of.

Questions 2 and 3 present opportunities to bring real wages to Maine families. The proposed casinos are not magic bullets that will set aside all of the challenges facing the harness-racing industry or our downtowns, but they can very well be the tipping points that generate the momentum to inspire a new confidence in Maine’s economy.

Economic development is more than a math problem. It’s a gut-level belief that success is within reach.

As voters, people will be overwhelmed with sound bites of market data, financial studies, expert opinions and political theater, all proposing to tell folks how to vote on the casino questions and why.

Some people will also be frightened by stories of crime and financial ruin. But these are the exceptions that prove the rule. The casino in Bangor has been professionally managed. It has proven to be a respected business and a true civic partner in securing a quality of life that Bangor citizens expect in their community.

In making a good decision on how a person should vote, ask these questions:

When all my neighbors are working, is our neighborhood better off?

When local plumbers, carpenters, electricians, welders, fabricators, excavators and painters work, where do they spend those hard-earned dollars?

Economic recovery begins and ends on the kitchen table. If experts guess wrong, it comes off that same table, too. That’s the hard truth.

The easier truth is the gambling question has been asked and answered numerous times. The hard answer is gambling can produce only some of the jobs and income we need. There remains much more that cities, counties and the state Legislature can and should do.

Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, represents District 113, part of Falmouth and Portland. He lives in Portland.

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