Jason Levesque is seen in Jay in this 2010 file photo. Credit: Joel Page | AP

Jason Levesque, Auburn’s mayor since 2017, will fly to Washington on Thursday night to participate in the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an annual gathering of mayors from across the country.

Levesque will be part of a Friday meeting, which will center around the topic of economic growth in local economies. President Donald Trump is set to attend.

The relationship between Levesque and the White House has existed throughout Levesque’s tenure as mayor, and he believes he was invited to the mayor’s conference because of it. In 2019, Trump sent Levesque a letter of congratulations in honor of Auburn’s 150th anniversary.

Small cities across the country have a lot of the same problems, Levesque told the Sun Journal.

“You can be a mayor from a small town in Maine and still get some recognition and acknowledgement,” he said. “There are small communities just like Auburn all over the country and they share the same issues.”

In September 2018, Levesque visited China to seek business deals that would boost Auburn’s economy. China’s Ming Jing Industrial Group owns the Prospect Hill Golf Course in Auburn, and is pursuing locations for a proposed mushroom factory that would employ more than 200 people.

The conference focuses mainly on infrastructure issues, which Levesque sees as essential to Auburn’s growth.

Levesque told the Sun Journal that he will be “absorbing” the cost of his last-minute trip to Washington.