As a nonprofit employee and Lewiston City Council member, I am excited about the proposed federal infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan, because it will really transform our communities for the better.

I am particularly excited about plans to increase funding for Brownfield redevelopment, because in Lewiston we have many old industrial buildings with incredible potential as long as we clean up existing environmental hazards and pollution. We also have a lot of work to do in Lewiston to ensure that we are building vibrant communities through investment in our roads, bridges and walkways that connect us all and support our local economy.

Finally, I am encouraged to see that the American Jobs Plan will direct significant funding to lead mitigation in our state. Lewiston has many old multi-family buildings that were built using lead in paints and water pipes. These buildings now house many low-income and immigrant families with lots of kids, and those kids are regularly being exposed to harmful levels of lead.

When I was running for office, I met a 23-year-old mother with a heartbreaking story that is shared by many in her area. Her young infant was suffering from lead poisoning, but she could not afford to pay the medical bills or relocate while shouldering expenses for her other children and family members.

This is unacceptable, and I am calling upon our elected leaders to step up and advocate for the American Jobs Plan in order to make our community safer.

Councilor Safiya Khalid, Lewiston

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