Kristen S. Cloutier

Email address:

[email protected]

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/Kristen-Cloutier-for-Lewiston-City-Council-296765250461347

Occupation or primary source of income:

Assistant director, Harward Center for Community Partnerships, Bates College

Education:

Master of Arts in leadership studies, University of Southern Maine; Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Northeastern University

Family information:

I have been married to the same wonderful guy for nine years. We have one daughter and two rescue dogs.

Public offices sought or held:

Current city councilor, Ward 5

Why are you running for office? Why should voters select you for this job?

In my time on the council, it has been my pleasure and my privilege to engage in conversation with the people of Lewiston about the hopes and dreams that we all share. There are exciting things happening here and they deserve to be celebrated. We are poised to become one of the greatest cities in Maine. I want to continue my work with the community to build a legacy that all our children can be proud of.

With a limited budget and knowing what you know now, what would be your top spending priority among these three services: road repair, education or public safety? Why?

Let’s be honest. As taxpayers, all of these services are priorities.

What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like? Was it too high, too low, just right?

The budget that was passed this year was fair, but not ideal. It is always a challenge to try to balance the burden of taxes on local residents with the need to make strategic investments that broaden the tax base.

What about land banking? Should the city be allowed to set aside parcels for specific kinds of development, say to promote retail or housing around the riverfront?

As part of the Comprehensive Plan Think Tank, as both a private citizen and then as a city councilor, I support the recommendations of the committee to incorporate land banking as one tool in the city’s redevelopment toolbox when appropriate. It should not be our only tool, nor should it be implemented across the board. We need to allow ourselves the flexibility to implement whatever policy makes sense in order to promote overall strategic redevelopment.

What would you do to improve Lewiston’s downtown housing stock? Should the city even be involved in downtown housing? Why do you think that?

As a community, many have spent a fair amount of time blaming various groups, organizations or city departments for this. This strategy has caused us to become polarized. I believe it is time for all of us to come together to deal with the problem. I’d like to see us set aside our various agendas and work toward the common good: more dynamic, healthy, clean and safe housing options for everyone.

We need to support our residents, which includes both landlords and tenants. The city has several loan programs in place to help local landlords make basic improvements to their buildings. 

Blaine B. Linton

Email address:

[email protected]

Occupation or primary source of income:

Substance abuse counselor

Education:

Some college

Family information:

I am the father of two boys, ages 8 and 10, and have been in a committed relationship for the past four years.

Public offices sought or held:

I am seeking the City Council seat for Ward 5.

Why are you running for office? Why should voters select you for this job?

In my line of work, I am trained to truly listen to people’s needs and to find the creative solutions and compromise necessary to improve the lives of those I work with. These are the same qualities that I can bring to the city of Lewiston.

I would ask voters to select me for the reason that I will listen to my constituents and work to meet their needs as opposed to a hard-line political agenda.

With a limited budget and knowing what you know now, what would be your top spending priority among these three services: road repair, education or public safety? Why?

My top spending priority at this time would be education; it has many short-term and long-term benefits. Knowledge is power, as they say, and education is associated with decreased crime, declines in substance-abuse rates, increased business, higher incomes and that means less tax dollars wasted long-term, and more tax dollars coming back to the community, to our roads and public safety.

What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like? Was it too high, too low, just right?

I would like to see more budgeted for youth programs in this area to help with reducing crime, early onset of substance abuse, and to keep kids participating in the schools and their education. I know that there is not always enough to go around but I feel this could really make a difference for the community.

What about land banking? Should the city be allowed to set aside parcels for specific kinds of development, say to promote retail or housing around the riverfront?

I believe the city should be allowed to land bank, providing that the cost is not too extreme. A great deal of business growth in this area has come about through land banking. However, whenever we are spending the taxpayers’ money we do need to exercise discretion.

What would you do to improve Lewiston’s downtown housing stock? Should the city even be involved in downtown housing? Why do you think that?

We need to find a way for both landlords and tenants to start investing themselves into these properties and, in order to do so, we need to find ways to empower both with regulation that protects landlords from abusive tenants and tenants from abusive landlords. When tenants value the places they live, they will take care of them; when landlords feel they can trust their tenants, they will invest in their buildings.

The downtown is associated with poverty, drugs, crime, bedbugs, cockroaches, etc., and if we do not work as a city to address these problems then these problems will only grow further.

The Sun Journal will print candidates’ views on issues a few wards at a time leading up to next week’s candidate forums hosted by the Young Professionals of the Lewiston-Auburn Area.

Auburn’s forum is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Auburn Hall. Lewiston’s is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in City Hall.

Print versions of the profiles are edited for length, but the full versions are online. To read everything the candidates had to say, visit our election guide at www.sunjournal.com/election/2015.


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