Unity rally for Ben Chin brings Lewiston together

“We are rallying for unity today, not just for our campaign, but to unify Lewiston around a common vision for our city,” said Ben Chin, speaking at a rally of supporters today gathered at the IBEW Hall in Lewiston. “We want Lewiston to be a place where every child has the education they need to realize the American dream, where workers can make a fair wage, where everyone has a safe, warm home where they can tuck their children in to sleep.”

Organizations representing teachers, small business owners, retirees, New Mainers, workers and students that have endorsed Chin were represented by speakers at the rally. The constant theme of their remarks was of a city coming together and moving forward.

“Ben has been an incredible advocate for senior citizens who are far too often living on fixed incomes and struggling to make ends meet. If elected mayor, Ben will aggressively pursue the recently approved bond money for senior housing to make sure that Lewiston can help the hundred senior citizens who are currently on waiting lists,” said Diane Grandmaison, a Lewiston resident and Vice President of the Maine Alliance for Retired Americans. “We believe Ben’s election to mayor of the great city of Lewiston will create a quality and dignified lifestyle for seniors and all Lewiston residents.”

Endorsements for Chin’s campaign have intensified since he won a 44% plurality of the vote in November’s election. Last week he was endorsed by a majority of the members of the incoming Lewiston City Council and yesterday he received the endorsement of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell.

“I know that as a fellow father of a newborn, Ben will fight to make sure that the Lewiston is a place where every child, regardless of their family’s means, has a chance at the American Dream,” said Brian Banton, a Lewiston teacher and member of the Lewiston Education Association. “For too many years, Lewiston schools and children have been shortchanged by a state government that has refused to pay their share of education costs. We need a mayor who will hold Augusta accountable and I’m proud to say that teachers are united for Lewiston and Ben Chin for Mayor.”

Unity and division has been a major theme throughout the campaign, with many Lewiston residents faulting Mayor Robert Macdonald for splitting apart the city on issues of race and poverty.

“We support Ben for Mayor because we feel as New Mainers that we will be treated equally and respected in Lewiston,” said Elmuatz Abdelrahim of the New Mainers PAC. “Ben will make sure that the next generation, born and raised in Lewiston, can realize their dreams without fear.”

The rally came to a close with the music of local guitar legend Denny Breau as attendees signed up for volunteer shifts to help remind Lewiston residents to vote in the election. The City Clerk’s office will be open tonight until 7 p.m. for the last round of early voting and the polls will be open at Longley Elementary school on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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