LEWISTON — In his first moments after being sworn in for a second term as mayor, Carl Sheline called on the community and its officials to continue the spirit of unity and resilience it showed following the tragic mass shooting in October.

“The dawn always follows night and on the beginning of this new year I believe in Lewiston more than ever,” he said. “At great cost, we are stronger and more unified than before.”

After securing a three-year term last month, Sheline’s inaugural address hit on familiar campaign points, including support for small businesses and building more affordable housing, as well as specific goals for a new City Council that is expected to be more cohesive in the coming term.

Before the December runoff, when Sheline defeated Jon Connor by a close margin, the November election made it clear there would be significant changes for the 2024 City Council and School Committee. All three incumbent councilors seeking reelection in contested races were defeated, and the council will see newcomers in several seats.

During his speech, Sheline said he’s approaching the term “with a renewed sense of optimism and vigor and in the spirit of cooperation with my fellow members of the council I look forward to working with them.”

“I understand that differences may exist and I will commit to working through those differences in an effort to make progress for our city and our residents,” he said.


The previous term was marked by a clear political divide, with four councilors often voting together on issues, and Sheline unable to vote for the opposing side. In his address, Sheline listed several goals for the upcoming term that had been debated in some form by the previous council.

He said while Lewiston needs a 24/7 homeless shelter, “our immediate need right now is a temporary winter shelter.”

“This means that we need to get unhoused housed, the help they need, and back into the workforce,” he said. “It’s been cold for the past two months and we need to move quickly to ensure everyone’s safety. Taking care of those who need it cannot be debated.”

Sheikh Abdisalan Abdi of the Lewiston/Auburn Islamic Education Center offers the invocation Tuesday during the City of Lewiston Inaugural Ceremony at the Franco Center in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The previous council spent a considerable amount of time on the issue of homelessness, but often voted against options to stand up temporary shelters. On Tuesday, Sheline thanked the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine and Community Concepts, which operated an emergency overnight shelter at Calvary United Methodist Church last winter.

Sheline also said Lewiston needs to “redouble our efforts to increase access to Lewiston Recreation and our sports fields,” adding that the city is overdue for an indoor turf facility.

The previous council spent several meetings debating changes to rules surrounding the use of city athletic fields in the wake of continued vandalism. Sheline was among those that argued the city should not cut off public access to the turf fields at the Franklin Pasture complex.


“My goal is to build (an indoor turf facility) here in Lewiston for our youth so they can play soccer year round,” he said.

Sheline outlined the goal during a section of his speech where he said Lewiston’s “incredible diversity makes us stronger,” but that there is still work to do to provide “access to the same opportunities.”

“Do all kids have the same recreational opportunities? I am unhappy to say that they do not,” he said. “Is the diversity in our community reflected in employment throughout our city departments? I am unhappy to say that it is not. We need to redouble our efforts to recruit more people of color to work in our city.”

The city hired its first director of diversity, equity and inclusion in 2021, but Melissa Hue, who served in the role, left the position in 2023. During the council’s previous term, the council routinely questioned Hue’s role, tabled a DEI policy drafted by Hue, and proposed cutting her position.

Sheline also used his address to call for support for the business community and “work to attract new investment to help grow Lewiston’s economy.” He also pointed to recent housing development, including the Picker House apartments at the Continental Mill.

He said up until last year’s groundbreaking, “the Continental Mill was the largest vacant building in Maine and the start of construction marked another milestone of progress in the path forward from our roots as a mill town.”


Referring to the community’s spirit following the shooting, and letters he received from all over the globe, Sheline said, “The world has seen our grit and resilience and believes in us and we will channel that energy into success for our city.”

The inaugural ceremony at the Franco Center also saw the City Council and School Committee elect a president and chairperson. Scott Harriman, the only incumbent councilor from the previous term, was elected council president. He will also serve as the council’s representative on the School Committee.

Harriman said the past two years were challenging, but he looks forward to “addressing homelessness in productive ways,” encouraging economic development, more housing, and rebuilding trust and transparency in local government.

A large crowd attends Tuesday’s City of Lewiston Inaugural Ceremony at the Franco Center in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Megan Parks, named School Committee chairwoman, also lauded the community for coming together through “the most traumatic experience our city has ever seen.”

“While the entire world watched, we showed what Lewiston is made of: strength, resiliency, perseverance, love, compassion, and caring for our neighbors,” she said.

Parks also pointed out that the city has experienced “significant conflict among our elected decision makers” over the past term, combined with serious issues like increases in untreated or undertreated substance use and mental illness and an increase in “visible homelessness, including never before seen numbers of unhoused youth and families in our schools.”


Parks challenged officials and those watching to “acknowledge the lessons we have learned over the last few years, to acknowledge that our community voted for change and against the ongoing divisive behaviors, and most importantly to learn from our tragedy and continue to show that love, compassion, and caring for each other and for our community is the only way forward.”

Speaking to her fellow School Committee members, she said, “Let us be the group that represents an end to the divisive politics and personal agendas and work together to make positive change in our schools and in our community.”

The elected officials sworn into office in Lewiston on Tuesday were:


Carl Sheline, three-year term



Joshua Nagine, Ward 1, two-year term

Susan Longchamps, Ward 2, three-year term

Scott Harriman, Ward 3, two-year term

Michael Roy, Ward 4, three-year term

Eryn Soule-Leclair, Ward 5, two-year term

David Chittim, Ward 6, three-year term


Timothy Gallant, Ward 7, two-year term


Megan Parks, at-large, two-year term

Jean Phoenix Irons McLaughlin, Ward 1, three-year term

Janet Beaudoin, Ward 2, two-year term

Elizabeth Eames, Ward 3, three-year term


Craig Charpentier, Ward 4, two-year term

Ashley Medina, Ward 5, three-year term

Meghan Hird, Ward 6, two-year term

Donna Gallant, Ward 7, three-year term

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