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Morrison Promotes Unity

In bid for District 60 seat

By Nathan Tsukroff

John Morrison of Lewiston shows off his political face mask. He is representing the Republican Party in a bid for office against incumbent Kristen Cloutier (D) for Maine House of Representatives District 60. (Tsukroff photo)

LEWISTON – “Us, instead of ‘Them’.”

That’s how John Morrison of Lewiston sees the community he hopes to represent in the Maine legislature after the Nov. 3 election.

Running for the Maine House of Representatives District 60 as a Republican, Morrison has a very encompassing view of people in the neighborhood, looking to help the homeless, disabled people, veterans, the elderly, and local schools. He is up against incumbent Kristen Cloutier (D) for the district that encompasses most of downtown Lewiston.

Cloutier easily won election to her first two-year term in 2018 with 2,040 votes compared to 649 for Republican candidate Leslie Dubois.

Morrison is very involved with community programs, and recently spent part of his day standing at a street corner collecting donations for The Store Next Door at Lewiston High School to help homeless students. “One of the reasons that I work with the homeless a lot is because those are the people that are down and out,” he said. “It’s easy to kick someone when they’re down.”

Morrison said that several passing drivers yelled at him to “get a job”, while he was collecting donations. “And I’m wearing a $200 shirt and we have a big banner that says it’s for the homeless and teens.”

“We need people to step up and be a voice for everyone, not just for the select few,” he said.

According to its Facebook page, the mission of The Store Next Door Project is to ‘eliminate barriers to education’ for youth experiencing homelessness, displacement, and high mobility within Lewiston. by addressing students’ basic needs, the goal of achieving academic success once again may be within reach. Students formerly homeless, at risk for homelessness, and pregnant/parenting teens also receive support through this project.

There were 17 high school seniors assisted by the project last year, and all but one of them graduated. Homeless students are living in tents or abandoned buildings, or are couch-surfing, Morrison said.

He decided to run for office after talking with his friends, “and everything was a complaint. And I was like, you know, instead of us all sitting around complaining, somebody’s going to have to do something.” He said serving in office would be “a public service.”

“I’m a very moderate Republican,” Morrison said. He is the younger brother of Diane Jackson, who worked for U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) for 17 years before Snowe stepped down from the senate, and now works for U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine).

He said that if elected, “I’m not taking my salary. I’m donating it out to certain local charities that will be picked by the constituents.”

“The biggest reason that I’m doing this is that I now have the time to help, and I want to give back to the community,” Morrison said. He is the owner of Cure Cannabis Company on Riverside Drive in Auburn, providing medical cannabis extracts to patients. His other company, Weatherize Northeast, in Yarmouth, insulates new construction and commercial properties as well as retro-fitting existing homes.

The current political system is very dysfunctional, Morrison said. Both political parties “are guilty of it . . . The ‘my way or the highway’ mentality they have up there now is doing an injustice to every citizen in the state. Political views shouldn’t come in the way of helping people and trying to make the state a better place.”

One of the main reasons he has been successful in business is, “I listen to people. I listen to my employees, and I take their input and their ideas,” he said. This is the same approach he plans to take in Augusta if he wins the election. While not all ideas are perfect, “Every idea has a piece that’s good,” he said. “If you take all the pieces and put them together . . . everybody’s got a vested interest, and everybody starts working together.”

“That’s why my sign says ‘Let’s Work Together!’,” Morrison said. “I’m reaching out to everyone.”

On a Friday night in late September, Morrison took part in the New Oxford Speedway fundraiser for Ricky “Fordman” Moody, a disabled man from New Vineyard, ME.

District 60 has been a Democratic stronghold in recent elections, with Jared Golden winning re-election as a Democrat in 2016 with 2,420 votes to 962 for Republican candidate Jeffrey Padam. Golden also easily defeated Dubois in 2014 by 1,571 to 803 votes.

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