Craig Saddlemire, 28

75 Maple St.

[email protected]

Occupation: Documentary film maker.

Education: bachelor of arts in psychology and film studies.

Political experience: Lewiston Downtown Neighborhood Task Force; Community Development Block Grant Committee; Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee; Downtown Neighborhood Action Committee.

Community organizations: The Visible Community; Spoke Folks Community Bicycle Program; Neighborhood Housing League; Lewiston Public Library; Lots to Gardens; The Dempsey Challenge.

What is broken in your city? What problem do you perceive, and how will you, as an elected leader, fix it?

I don’t use the word broken, but I think a major challenge I see is Lewiston’s self-image. I didn’t grow up here, but I’ve been here for 10 years and I think Lewiston has great things to offer and is a great place to live. The perception that it’s a terrible place — I’ve heard that around the state but also here — we need to change it. And I try to do that with every conversation I have.

We also need to recognize that every person in this community is valuable. We can’t scapegoat people. We need to value every member of the community that’s interested in living here and contributing and can’t let misperceptions hold us back. An inclusive spirit, celebrating all the members of our community, is what we need to move forward and grow both economically and socially.

What is your opinion of the casino? Would you urge Maine voters to support it or not? And why?

First, at the statewide referendum level, I don’t think it’s appropriate for Maine voters to deny native tribes the right to operate casinos on their land and then approve nonnative casinos. I think that’s a moral issue, and I disapprove of that double standard.

Locally, do I think a casino is good for our community? I have a lot of reservations about the net economic benefits. I have yet to see anything more than basic projections based on Bangor’s success. So I’d hesitate to support it until I can see some cost/benefit analysis.

Third, some decisions are being made before I’m even a councilor, so I will support whatever decisions are made. I won’t fold my arms and quit because I disagree with something settled before I’m a councilor.

What is your solution to improving Lewiston’s downtown housing stock, and why would it work?

I’ve been doing my best to be part of the solution. That requires active involvement on the parts of the tenants of the city, the city staff and the property owners themselves, all working together, communicating and setting goals for quality. More specifically, I think a new code enforcement officer is going to be very important. I’ve been working with the housing league to educate tenants on their rights and and their responsibilities and helping them document what’s going on.

The property owners, they run a business and some do a good job of maintaining their property and some don’t. If they’re not being held accountable, either by their tenants or the city, it’s no surprise that things are getting worse.

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