Ben Chin brought his rally to Bates College last Saturday. He graduated from Bates in 2007, and during his campaign he has worked feverishly to involve the Bates community in the success of his campaign.
The rally was held at 3 P.M. in Muskie Archives. The rally included a plethora of speakers, including fellow Bates graduate Isabelle Moiles ’11, who this year is running for a Lewiston city council position in the third ward (which includes sections of Bates Campus). In addition, the speakers engaged the crowd with positive sentiments and high regards for Chin who has seemingly struck a chord among the bates student populous with his promise of “fighting for the people of Lewiston”.
Chin took the stage roughly thirty minutes into the rally, sporting a maroon North Face pullover and taking a more personable approach to engaging the crowd by avoiding the podium and microphone. Chin, who just earlier had been conversing with Bates student supporters, began to demonstrate exactly what he envisioned as being solutions for problems within Lewiston.
He revealed that his interest in Lewiston politics was fostered during his time at Bates, when in 2004 the city coordinator at the time threatened to pass legislation that would displace roughly 800 Lewiston residents from their homes. The ambitions of his campaign to be the next mayor of Lewiston are focused on providing affordable co-oped housing for Lewiston residents, continuing to spur economic activity in downtown Lewiston and creating opportunities for voluntarily integration among Somali citizens in Lewiston.
In providing details behind these intended policies, Chin highlighted the lack of oversight in enforcement of landlord laws, which are often unethical and leave many low-income Lewiston residents taken advantage of, according to Chin. In addition, he expressed the importance of creating a welcome center for Somali immigrants as an outlet for inquiries about life and culture in Lewiston, and an investment in solar energy to create jobs and create a more green alternative for energy consumption in the Lewiston area. Apparently, Maine receives as much sun annually as North Carolina; who knew?
After riling the crowd with his apparent enthusiasm and charisma, it was made clear that the success of Chin’s campaign is reliant on a rather large turnout of voter support in the Bates community. In order to secure his role as the next mayor of Lewiston, Chin needs 550 votes from the Bates community alone, 1,000 from new Lewiston citizens, and another 3-4,000 votes from the general voting population.
In last year’s governor elections, the Bates community accounted for roughly 400 votes, a low turnout. Nonetheless, Chin remained confident that with the support he has received from the Bates community so far, high voter turnout will be attainable and beneficial to his campaign.
The rally concluded after roughly an hour-and-a-half, when the event was opened up to a Q&A session in which audience members could ask Chin about his personal life or campaign related issues. Many of the questions probed the details of Ben’s policies, especially regarding the economic feasibility of his intended housing and solar power initiatives.
While the support of Bates students was well represented by student attendance at the rally, Chin and his campaign team stressed the importance of reaching out to more of the Bates community in order to solidify the 550 votes required for the success of his campaign. Chin encouraged student audience members to educate themselves on the current political philosophy of his top competitor, Robert Macdonald, and show support for a fellow Bobcat striving to improve the social, economic, and political climate of Lewiston.
Students, regardless of their party affiliation or intended vote, are encouraged to attend the voting session on November 3 at the Lewiston Armory, located extremely close to campus near JB dormitory and the new dormitories under construction along Campus Avenue.