STEPHANIE GELINAS

Occupation: Founder/executive director and speech-language pathologist at Sandcastle Clinical & Educational Services and LA Hearing Center

Stephanie Gelinas

Education: Graduate of Lewiston High School; Bachelor of Science from University of Maine at Farmington with Dual Degree in Elementary Education and Speech Correction; Master of Science from Syracuse University with Degree in Communication Sciences; 2007 graduate of Androscoggin Leadership Development Institute (ALDI); ongoing yearly continuing education to maintain licensure requirements

Family: Married to Gerry Gelinas — we have 6 children (our youngest is a member of the LHS graduating class of 2020) and are expecting our 10th grandchild.

Political experience: Appointed to the State of Maine IDEA Advisory Panel Part B — Special Education; served on principal search committees with Lewiston Public Schools; former chairperson of the LA Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and served on the Chamber Board for 8 years; worked as an Olympia Snowe advisor for the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute; currently serve as board member on the Tri-County Mental Health Services Board of Directors and on the Health Advisory Committee for Promise Early Learning Education Center; by nature of the agency I lead, I am working with state government on a daily basis.

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

A: As a lifelong resident of Lewiston, I bring a deep foundational knowledge of Lewiston to the table. I am eager to roll up my sleeves and apply my passion to continue the growth and opportunity for all residents of Lewiston.

As an executive director of a growing agency, I have the experience of managing a staff of 50 professionals and have advocated for families in this community for the last 23 years. I have the work ethic and experience to work with diverse groups of people.

What I believe makes me most qualified for this city council seat is my business sense, communication skills and willingness to engage in purpose-driven and meaningful dialogue to address the challenges in our community.

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

A: Economic Development is a top priority. There has been some wonderful business development in our great city, but there needs to be a greater push for more. We need to focus on business retention. As a past LA Metro Chamber board president, I have seen businesses leave Lewiston due to high operating costs and the lack of a capable workforce, which is why this issue is worthy of our attention. We need more conversations between both small and big businesses along with our city officials, educational leaders and other entities to address this issue. We can only address our economic issues by continuing to grow our partnerships. Strength comes in numbers and from a unified front. Through my involvement in a variety of boards and civic organizations, I have developed strong working relationships with many Lewiston stakeholders. I will push hard to convene effective conversations to determine successful outcomes.

Workforce Development is critical to Lewiston’s future. We need to address workforce gaps, specifically skilled technical workers and professionals who have to leave our area to pursue higher education degrees elsewhere. Continued conversations with the Bridge Academy Maine Program through LRTC and local college and university representatives to address this issue is critical. We need to entice our young professionals who are already in Lewiston to stay here and to invest in their community. Additionally, we need to strategize ways to encourage young professionals from away to work and live in the Lewiston area. Public imaging is crucial.

Public Imaging is more important than we might think. I am a strong supporter of the re-branding process that has been recently initiated for many reasons. Having lived here my entire life, it pains me to hear folks speak so negatively about our great city. There is no doubt that some of the issues needing to be addressed are controversial and the conversations that have to happen will be difficult. To do this, we need to change our thought processes to solution-focused dialogues. This will result in positive impacts like increasing our city’s growth and building a strong sense of community. The messaging we are sending needs to be radically changed to reflect and focus on what is good and beneficial for our residents.

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

A: In reviewing the city budget, I do not see wasteful spending, but rather direction of funds targeted at capital needs (e.g. road repairs), which have been a long-standing issue expressed by many Lewiston residents. In respect to budget-related work put forth by our current council, I am concerned with where the documented 12% increase in city revenue will actually be generated from. While I am open-minded to new initiatives, I am fiscally conservative. Therefore, I will look to see how business plans are thoroughly vetted and whether due diligence has been applied. Our budget process needs to apply accountability coupled with alternate funding strategies as opposed to increasing property taxes.

 

MICHAEL MARCOTTE

Occupation: Accountant

Michael Marcotte

Education: Bachelors of Science in Business Administration; Husson University

Family: Single

Political experience: Lewiston City Council, A/L Airport Board, Lewiston Loan Qualification Committee, Lewiston Planning Board, Lewiston Finance Committee, Androscoggin County Budget Committee

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

A: Lewiston continues to face many challenging issues. My past two years on the City Council provides me the insight needed to continue working on these identified topics. And I have developed positive relationships with city personnel to address constituent concerns from road pavement, to public safety, to neighborhood quality of life issues, all the while defending the taxpayer from runaway taxes.

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

A: 1. Employment opportunities: Working with the other city councilors to encourage our planning department to spend more time finding prospective employers to locate in Lewiston to create a shift away from being a welfare destination.

2. Updating our infrastructure: We need to update our fire stations, repair our roads, and protect our neighborhoods. And, we can do that through carefully allocating limited financial resources on these priorities.

3. Early childhood education: If we are going to lift our community out of the malaise of generational welfare, we must provide the schooling and guidance necessary to champion productive citizens into the workforce.

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

A: This year’s budget was carefully negotiated to include investment in some of Lewiston’s most needed infrastructure, while not busting the budget. I like the fact that advocating and slating Clearwater and Constance Avenues for earlier than scheduled paving next year and working to get the best product possible for the first fire station replacement were accomplished. On the flip side there was too much money and effort allocated on social programs and projects which facilitate ever larger drains on our treasury. We need to slow the spending on items that have little to no return on investment.

 

KAITLYN ROURKE

Occupation: Assistant Manager at Domino’s

Kaitlyn Rourke

Education: Accelerated Master’s of Business Administration, Thomas College 2019, and Accelerated Bachelor’s of Business Management, Thomas College 2018

Family: I was born and raised in Lewiston. My family has resided in Ward 7 far past a time that I can remember. After college, I knew that the community I was raised in was a great place for me to lay my roots and start my life.

Political experience: I am new to the political field and welcome the experience to gain knowledge about Lewiston, her people, and what I can do to help better their lives.

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

A: I stand out from the other candidates for a few reasons. Besides the obvious characteristics of being a young woman native to the Lewiston’s Ward 7, I bring a new perspective to the table that hasn’t been present for the ward before, one focused and dedicated toward building a solid foundation on which Lewiston can grow and prosper through its young people, who are the city’s future. Though I can say that I am not the most experienced candidate, as Marcotte currently fills the role as Ward 7’s councilor and Gelinas has been heavily involved in the nonprofit sector, I would say I am the most open and empathetic toward treating the people of Lewiston, and specifically Ward 7, as people instead of just a vote. I am simply a regular person who wants to see the place she grew up in experience growth and opportunity that attracts people to lay their roots in Lewiston. I am already actively committed toward an open and transparent level of communication with all that reach out and ask me questions. The position of a city councilor should be one of servant leadership, not that of promoting a personal agenda.

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

A: The three issues that I see as pivotal to Lewiston’s success are as follows and carry undertones that will increase the likelihood of sustainable, long-term growth:

Investment in education initiatives that prepare the future of our city for success by teaching financial literacy, technological proficiency, and awareness of options available after high school (including traditional college tracks, trade school, military service, etc.). Investment in our youth population can help ensure that they are qualified for skilled careers that increase the standard of living in our state.

Building on strengths as a residential area and supplementing our weaknesses as a city as opposed to spreading our resources too thin trying to do it all. Going back to my education in business and looking at Lewiston in the scope of its strengths, we are a highly residential city with primarily manufacturing and service based jobs (think Walmart Distribution and call centers), but one of our weaknesses lies in economic viability concerning large box brands. We are surrounding by areas that are at drivable distance that are doing it successfully. Portland and Augusta bring in high volumes of spending to brand name stores that attract economic flow for their cities. However, Lewiston is a much more affordable place to live comparatively. Prioritizing housing and residential needs can attract growth while supplementing the areas around us, positioning ourselves as a compliment to these places while preserving the community feel of our neighborhoods.

Promoting green initiatives and clean energy. This is an opportunity for Lewiston, and the whole state, to capitalize on our viability to be a national leader in clean energy. We are well positioned to take advantage of many viable renewable resources that Lewiston and Maine have to offer including wind, solar, and water. The benefits include sustainable, long-term savings to Lewiston’s government and the taxpayer. It can cut variable energy for our schools, government buildings, and homes in the community that changes with the unpredictable nature of oil prices. Savings to these areas fall to the bottom line, meaning savings to the taxpayer.

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

A: I am gladdened to see further investment in the city’s education, and like that we are seeing a balance between property taxes and the use of state aid. However, I am worried about further prices that may be passed off to property taxpayers in the future. This is why one of the main focuses of my campaign is to find viable alternate revenue sources that can be used to better the children of Lewiston’s education. Famously, we have seen Colorado use slight increases in the taxation of medical marijuana to create revenue that was not possible when marijuana was completely illegal. Such policies could be copied in our state with the recent legalization and explosive growth of the medical marijuana industry.


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