AUBURN — Mayor Jason Levesque took to the local airwaves Thursday morning to announce his run for a third term.

Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque points toward the team of Auburn police officers in May before the start of the Elite Airways Aircraft Pull fundraiser at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport in Auburn. Levesque announced Thursday that he will seek a third term. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

On the WIGY “Breakfast Club” radio show, Levesque said he’s been mulling a decision for a long time.

According to a news release issued at the same time, the decision was made, “based on his record of accomplishment over the last three and a half years, and his desire to help guide the city of Auburn through a rapid (COVID-19) recovery and on to future success.”

Levesque, who began his first term in 2018, took out nomination papers Thursday morning. No one else has pulled papers to run against him yet.

“When I first ran for mayor I told voters about my steadfast belief in our city’s potential,” he said in the news release. “Today, as I consider a third term as your mayor I still believe that if smartly managed, advocated for, and nurtured that potential is truly limitless. As we exit the global COVID-19 pandemic, Auburn’s future remains bright as we realize our potential and build a solid base for future growth guided by common interest.”

Levesque told WIGY that part of the reason for a delay in his decision was he wanted to wait and see if anyone, “with a skill set that could compliment what we’ve done over the last four years,” was going to run.

He said he’s also heard from a lot of people encouraging him to keep going.

Asked how he would sum up what the next two years will bring, Levesque said, “Cranes in the sky.”

He said that while the pandemic “slowed us down a bit,” Auburn is going to start seeing more business announcements, new market-rate homes, and an updated comprehensive plan and more recreational opportunities.

Over the past year, as housing prices in Maine soared to record highs, Levesque has pushed for policy changes that would encourage new housing. The City Council recently OK’d secondary, stand-alone dwelling units in most zones, and a process to update the city’s Comprehensive Plan includes proposals that would increase housing density limits in most of the city.

Levesque came into office in 2018 after beating opponent Adam Lee by just 12 votes. Levesque’s victory before the 2020 term was much more substantial.

In Thursday’s news release, Levesque listed several accomplishments from his first two terms, including maintaining and lowering property taxes; managing a yearlong civil state of emergency during the pandemic; overseeing the approval of the new Edward Little High School; waiving permitting fees for veterans and their spouses; putting on Auburn’s 150th anniversary celebration, and more.

Levesque has also waded into perennial thorny issues in the city, including the oversight of Auburn’s agricultural zone and Lake Auburn.

He told WIGY on Thursday that Auburn managed the pandemic well through proactive measures. The city initiated one of the first emergency business loan programs and spearheaded to-go meals from the Auburn Senior Community Center.

During COVID-19, city officials were also wrapped up in debates over masking, and Levesque sent a letter to Gov. Janet Mills in April 2020 requesting that she lift the state’s “stay safe at home” order.

“Together, we have accomplished a great deal over the past three years,” he said in the news release. “We have seen Auburn grow while facing tremendous adversity. However, our work is never done. There is still much to accomplish. As your mayor I will work tirelessly and continue to build a city that my family and yours are proud to call home.”

A formal campaign launch is expected in mid-to-late August.

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