The Bates Republicans are proud to endorse Shane Bouchard ahead of Lewiston’s mayoral runoff on December 12. We — as conservatives, Lewiston residents, and Americans — are fortunate to have a man of Mr. Bouchard’s experience, unwavering commitment, and exemplary integrity working towards a better future of the city our community calls home.

Shane Bouchard is a dedicated husband, father, businessman, and public servant. A sixth-generation native of Lewiston, Bouchard is a graduate of Dirigo High School and Central Maine Community College. Owners of Bouchard Lawncare & Landscaping and Maine Home Recreation — two highly successful local enterprises — Shane and his wife, Allison, recently signed a lease to expand operations. Mr. Bouchard proudly represents Ward Four at the Lewiston City Council, putting his managerial acumen and municipal government know-how to living out the responsibility of being the closest government official to citizens’ wallets. In these times of bitter partisanship across our country, Bouchard aspires to the office of mayor to serve all residents regardless of ideology and to continue giving back to his hometown in “a better, more profound way.” Although we have Mr. Bouchard’s back for many reasons, it is primarily his succinct, well-thought-out positions on the most pressing issues facing Lewiston that afford us faith in his candidacy.

Repairing the Image of Lewiston: According to FBI data put together by Bangor Daily News, Lewiston is one of Maine’s safest cities — an especially impressive standing given that we are the state’s second largest metropolitan area. As mayor, Mr. Bouchard will work to dispel false stereotypes taking a toll on the city’s investment and social climate. At the same time, he will cooperate with local and state law enforcement agencies to further improve public safety. Mr. Bouchard also pledges to visit trade shows across the country at his own expense to promote “our city and the assets we have to offer.”

Rebuilding and Renewing Infrastructure: A successful businessman, Mr. Bouchard understands better than anyone that safe, modern, and aesthetically pleasing infrastructure is the key to fostering tourism and encouraging young people to make Lewiston their home. Bouchard plans to take advantage of the vast space across Lewiston to catalyze change, focusing on the untapped potential of Exit 80 and Riverfront Island. While inspired by the recently revitalized Lisbon Street, Mr. Bouchard thinks there is still work to be done with upper levels of the buildings and façade grants. Bouchard plans to invest in shoring up single-family housing and creating new office and commercial spaces by revisiting zoning laws. As someone who has contributed to the creation of a recycling committee, Mr. Bouchard is in a unique position to ensure that our city becomes more environmentally friendly and its residents — particularly inner-city folks — lead more sustainable lifestyles.

Combating Opioid Epidemic: As a city amidst America’s calamitous addiction crisis, we look to Mr. Bouchard’s innovative, out-of-box proposals for a potential remedy. Bouchard’s plan consists of beefing up cooperation with the police chief and examining zoning laws to locate counselling, treatment, and prevention facilities at locations where they can have the most impact.

Even more importantly, Mr. Bouchard pledges to revisit the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula to provide more funds to local non-profits specializing in tackling addiction. That is to say, Bouchard views highly adept agents within civil society as a vehicle of bringing about change.

Encouraging Economic Growth: At a time when there is no shortage of chatter around lowering the mill rate, Mr. Bouchard understands that the fastest and most practical way to lower the mill rate is through accelerating economic growth. Instead of pursuing the Lewiston-Auburn merger — which, according to the Sun Journal can cost as much as $5 million (although government efficiency fund might help, some of that money will inevitably have to come from the cities’ budgets) — Bouchard has his eyes set on ambitious projects such as port authority around the Lewiston-Auburn Airport, historic rail-trail through the city, and outdoor venue near Exit 80. These developments will, in turn, create a positive feedback loop: better infrastructure means more tourists and young professionals in Lewiston, which will further reinvigorate the city.

Shane Bouchard understands that local politics is a people, not a left or right, issue. In Mr. Bouchard, citizens of Lewiston will have an unrivaled champion both locally and in Augusta.

In Mr. Bouchard, our students will have a leader who believes in the potential of young people and an even bigger role for Bates in the city’s daily life.