LEWISTON — Tim Lajoie, a former city councilor and longtime officer with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, recently became the first person to publicly announce his candidacy for mayor in the November election.

Tim Lajoie announced recently that he is running for mayor of Lewiston in 2019. Submitted photo

Lajoie, who was Ward 2 councilor from 2015-2017, released a statement on social media late last week, and he spoke briefly with the Sun Journal on Wednesday about what led to his decision.

The announcement came a few days after interim Mayor Kristen Cloutier was sworn in, following the resignation of former Mayor Shane Bouchard the week prior.

Asked what specifically inspired him to run, Lajoie said, “Lewiston has been my home since I was born. I love our city and our people. However, so many critical issues have gone unaddressed and we are facing a lot of problems, including public safety challenges and violent crime. I had high hopes for the former mayor and have been let down by a lack of leadership. Lewiston can do better than simply managing decline and I can’t sit by any longer — I am compelled to step in because I believe we can do better.”

Lajoie graduated from Lewiston High School in 1985. He is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and has served at the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years. According to his news release, he holds master’s degrees in management and leadership studies, and in criminal justice.

In the news release Friday, he said, “Lewiston needs strong, ethical and principled leadership. We need new leadership that is visible, focused, vocal, and willing to speak directly to the challenges we face together with firmness and wisdom.”

He said his first priority is to “restore peace and security to downtown.”

Lajoie did not seek re-election to the council in 2017, a seat now held by Councilor Zack Pettengill.

When he made the decision, Lajoie said it was mostly due to time constraints. He said Wednesday that he had two other jobs at the time: working the night shift at the Sheriff’s Department and teaching classes at Thomas College in Waterville part-time during the day.

He said since then, he was promoted to sergeant on the day shift and resigned from teaching.

“I consulted with Sheriff Samson and he offered his cooperation to accommodate my schedule if necessary,” he said. “Most importantly, I consulted with my family and made the decision to run.”

In the news release, Lajoie pointed to his record while on the City Council, stating he “fought to protect property owners’ and taxpayers’ rights, place strict residency requirements on sex offenders” and “worked to prioritize spending and helped break the firefighters’ contract impasse.

He also served on the Lewiston-Auburn 911 and Loan Qualification committees.

Recently, Ben Chin, a mayoral candidate in 2017 and 2015, stated he would not run for mayor this year after he described the previous campaigns as taking “a toll” on him.

Cloutier, following the news conference announcing Bouchard’s resignation, said she does not plan to run for the seat in November. Cloutier was elected to the State Legislature last fall.

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