DONNA GILLESPIE

Occupation: Retired as a 30-year state worker

Donna Gillespie

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

Family: One son, Dustin

Political experience: None, ran for same seat two years ago

Q: Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

A: I think I am the best qualified candidate for this seat as I have over 40 years experience of being a social worker and have good listening skills that can benefit my constituents.

Q: Please name three issues that you believe are critical to Lewiston’s future, and how you would address them.

A: Three critical issues for Lewiston limits the arena but drugs are a major concern. I think we need a safe therapeutic harm reduction location to begin with as well as many other resources for this area. The second would be to look at a full-time mayor and part-time city councilors so actual work can happen on a regular basis rather than just read information the night before a meeting and, while simultaneously getting information out to the residents of Lewiston better. The third would be rail service to and from Lewiston to other parts of Maine. I am constantly told this area is complicated so lets uncomplicate it and make it happen since the tracks are already there and could provide much needed access to Lewiston as well as other major cities.

Q: What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?

A: The city budget is always of concern for everyone but the issue is not the budget, it’s what people are getting out of it. Who benefits the most and why are ongoing questions I get from people. The City Council can only work with what they have but can start to make changes that will better the city for future budgets.

ZACK PETTENGILL

Occupation: Small business owner (day care)

Zachary Pettengill

Education: Lewiston High School graduate 2002

Family: Married 11 years to Chantel Pettengill, proud father of Evelyn and Sawyer. Dog is Bailey

Political experience: Served on the Lewiston Planning Board as an associate member for two years, serving on the Lewiston City Council for two years (currently), appointed to the Maine Children’s Growth Council by the governor, current Lewiston Youth Advisory Council adviser

Q: Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

A: I think I’m the best candidate for this seat because it’s not about me, it’s about all of you. I’m doing this to make sure that when decisions are made they are done to ensure it’s Lewiston First! We’ve seen time and time again that special interests come in and ask for deals or special treatment and downplay how great Lewiston really is. I do spend a lot of time educating myself on the issues that come before the council and seek out those who have more knowledge in the subject matter for their opinion and input. I may have an opinion about an issue or item, but I’m willing to listen and use that information to make the best decision for Lewiston and her people. I’m looking forward to continuing to serve and work with my fellow council members.

Q: Please name three issues that you believe are critical to Lewiston’s future, and how you would address them.

A: Our schools, housing and the lead crisis and property taxes. To support our schools I’m going to support Superintendent Finn. I’m very excited for him to be with us and the energy he has for our schools, our students and our teachers. I’m confident that with his leadership and the involvement he has already displayed that he will meet all the goals he has set for us.

Housing is important to address because it is an issue that affects the entire city, because students who live in subpar housing (often times) contaminated with lead are unable to do their best at school and with lead levels so high it can affect cognitive functions making learning extremely difficult, not to mention any other health problems. In addition, our lack of housing options makes it difficult to attract new citizens and businesses to our beautiful city. While a lot of money has been announced recently to address lead issues, we need to make sure action is being taken to fix this problem, and we need to be creative in how we can offer housing to new citizens and also to allow our elderly to continue to live in the community they’ve supported for so long.

Property taxes is going to take some concentrated effort, but we need to be creative, focused and find ways to attract more business, take care of our and people and still be the best city in Maine. To address our growing property tax rate, we need to grow our property tax base. This will allow us to put Lewiston first and be able to provide the necessities we need to support future growth at all levels of the city from adequate sports fields to proper road maintenance.

Q: What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?

A: The city budget was very hard this year and these next few years are going to highly critical and difficult as much has been passed on down the line in previous years that now we are no longer able to continue to put off projects as things are needing replacement or maintenance that can no longer be overlooked. These measures were done in the name of keeping property taxes “low” but provided no real relief to those paying the taxes. Passing the budget was not an easy task but I have a lot of respect for city staff and all those involved for the work they did in preparing the document for us. We need to be mindful these next two years as they will be critical in setting Lewiston up for success and will require leadership at all levels of the next council.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.