2016 Voters Guide

Q: What do you feel is the most important issue facing Maine, particularly your district? 

 

Larry Lockman, Republican, ME State Representative (Maine State House district 137)

The need to attract good-paying jobs to rural eastern Maine is the most important issue facing voters in House District 137.

Since our wedding 44 years ago, my bride Debbie and I have lived and worked and raised our kids and grandkids in some of eastern Maine’s most beautiful rural communities, from Seboeis Plantation to Passadumkeag to Amherst. We have been blessed with four children and six grandchildren. We know how important it is to attract good-paying jobs to small-town Maine for the next generation of Maine families.

My objective as a legislator is to do everything I can to make Maine as great a place to make a living as it is a place to live. Rebuilding our rural economy and moving Maine from poverty to prosperity requires that we tackle difficult issues. We must continue to reform our tax code and welfare system, and we must reduce energy costs (electricity) if we want to make Maine competitive in attracting good-paying career jobs.

If voters want someone who will go along to get along at the Statehouse, I’m not your guy. But if you want someone who has a proven track record of standing up to the leadership of both parties on issues important to the people of rural eastern Maine, I ask for your vote on November 8th.

 

Colleen S. Morton Democratic Candidate for the (Maine State House, District 139)

Most of the people I’ve talked to in my district want the State to pay more attention to economic development in rural Maine.  And when I say “economic development,” I mean it in a broad sense, not just providing incentives to try to get businesses to move here.

Economic development always involves government action to some degree, but it must also involve local communities, educators and business people to craft appropriate and sustainable strategies to build a more robust rural economy.  Each rural community is unique in terms of the mix of assets and liabilities that factor into such a strategy.  But there are four necessary, if not sufficient, conditions for robust and resilient rural communities.  These are: diversity, friendliness, a skilled workforce and leadership.

Diversity means not relying on a single source of income and job-generating businesses.  Single industry economies are too fragile.  Most coastal towns in Washington County rely on fishing, but the economics and ecology of this industry are volatile.  Tourism provides a seasonal source of income, but is not well-developed.  Tourism depends on good infrastructure, regional cooperation and marketing.  The State has not invested sufficiently in any of these factors to make Washington County east of Bar Harbor a truly attractive tourist destination.  This needs to change.

Friendliness refers to the regulatory and cultural environment for starting businesses and investing in a town.  This requires local leadership as well as buy-in from local communities.  The State can be a prime mover in fostering this welcoming environment by helping local communities reduce their property tax burdens, identifying industries and businesses that want or need rural/coastal locations, providing training on regulatory reform, and providing more support to small business development centers to expand them into more rural communities. 

A skilled workforce is essential to economic development in several ways.  Most good-paying jobs require some technical expertise, so students need training in the operation, construction and/or repair of complex machinery.  This type of training could start in high-school, and does not necessarily require a degree program.  Such training is sometimes available in community colleges, but there needs to be better coordination among our various levels of education to ensure that the right types of skills are being taught at the right levels.  The State has a responsibility to ensure that all its students get the best possible education with the resources of the entire state.  Rural areas should be prioritized to make up for many years of austerity caused by an over-reliance on property taxes.  Reimagining our entire educational system for the 21st century will not only benefit our children, but also our communities and businesses, if we do it right and involve the entire state in the effort.

Leadership is required at all levels, but particularly at the State level where laws, regulations and policies need to be directed in a coordinated, strategic and pragmatic fashion.  We can’t afford to let ideological blinders stop us from cooperating and moving forward on economic development in rural Maine.

 

Marianne Moore, Republican Candidate for ME State Representative (Maine State House district 140)

It is very hard for me to narrow down the important issues to just one being the “most”.  I see the serious drug epidemic to be an important issue especially in Washington County but the need for jobs and economic development go hand in hand as important issues, as well!

Washington County, as well as the State of Maine, has a serious drug epidemic, particularly with heroin and prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.  Access to treatment, both inpatient and outpatient, is in short supply and needs to be expanded for the rural areas.  The legislature needs to continue to provide the much needed support to work towards elimination of the problem.  Law enforcement efforts to intercept drug traffickers is also greatly needed, as well!  Making sure we have sufficient Maine Drug Enforcement Agency personnel available to assist our local law enforcement personnel is critical!  Placing emphasis on both actions would reduce the “market” for the drugs, hurting their “bottom line”, and getting them out of Maine!

Washington County, as well as the State of Maine, needs to create and protect good paying jobs with benefits.  The bureaucracy and cost of doing business in Maine continues to be a hindrance.  Business policies and procedures need to be reviewed to streamline the process!  Lower energy costs and tax incentives will keep businesses in Maine and place us in a competitive position to encourage out-of-state businesses to want to do business in Maine! 

 

Emily Cain, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Representatives, ME’s 2nd Congressional District 

The biggest issue facing Maine is the fact that Mainers are working harder than ever but are not getting ahead. We hear about economic recovery, but we don't feel it. Wall Street got a bailout while small businesses were left to fend for themselves. Self-serving politicians in Congress have built a system that rewards those at the top while leaving the rest of us behind, and working families are struggling. Seniors have insecure retirements. Veterans wait too long or travel too far for health care they’ve earned.

What we need instead is an economy driven by Mainers, because everyone who is willing to work hard should be able to find a good job that means you can support your family, save for retirement, and not worry that an accident will drive you into bankruptcy.

In the past three years five mills have shut down, costing thousands of jobs. Poliquin said that “free trade is good.” I opposed the TPP from the start and in Augusta worked to eliminate tax deals for outsourcers. Congressman Poliquin voted eight times to kill the Export-Import bank, sending 80 jobs overseas. In the legislature, I created a program focused on investment in rural Maine, which recently helped the mill in Baileyville add a new machine and 80 jobs.

I worked to pass bipartisan balanced budgets during the recession, and even worked with Governor LePage to pass the largest tax cut in state history. Congressman Poliquin used a tax loophole to pay just $21 in property taxes on ten acres of oceanfront property in Georgetown and paid his taxes late 41 times over decades.

When Congress isn’t working for you, you have to change who you send there.

We need to focus in on the things that we do best. I'll fight against unfair trade deals. I’ll build on our natural capacity to grow jobs in forestry, farming, fishing, manufacturing – jobs that can’t be outsourced. I’ll work to help our forest products industry advance and grow jobs. I’ll fight to get farmers the support that other states take for granted. I’ll work to keep boats in the water, and fight to lower energy costs and simplify red tape so manufacturers can grow.

We face real challenges. But we also know that we have the capacity to do incredible things if we’re given the chance. Mainers aren’t looking for handouts, just a level playing field. I’m ready to work with you for that future. I am proud to ask for your vote.

 

Rock Alley Democratic Candidate for Senate District 6

I have knocked on thousands of doors since I began campaigning in late April. It has been my privilege to meet people from all walks of life, all with 3 basic concerns:  education, jobs and the opioid epidemic. Although every issue is important, overwhelmingly, the opioid epidemic has been foremost on the minds of folks that I have met and I believe this the most important issue facing Maine and our District. Maine’s State death rate from drug poisoning ranks 20th in the nation. Four out of five heroin addicts started with prescription opioid medications and those misusing prescribed opioid pain medications are forty times more likely to use heroin. Heroin and prescription drug overdoses have reached epidemic levels in the United States, surpassing car accidents and firearms as the leading cause of injury deaths. 

As a parent of a child who has struggled with addiction the heartbreak and the worry is like no other. My son, an Army National Guardsman, suffered a back injury while serving in Iraq. His injury required surgery and he was prescribed oxycontin as a pain reliever. Like many, he was over prescribed and eventually began misusing. After a long painful road, he reached out for help only to find no clear path to recovery. Being a veteran, our first attempt for help was at the VA Hospital in Augusta. Unfortunately, we were given misinformation being told there was no help for drug addiction, only help for alcoholism and were turned away. As his health and spirit continued to decline, we made a second trip to the VA Hospital this time with better results; he was referred to a suboxone clinic but was placed on a waiting list before he could begin treatment. After a little over a year of treatment and counseling, he has weaned himself off suboxone and is drug free. He is one of the fortunate ones, I am fortunate to have my son. 

When an individual is ready to get clean, treatment should be readily available close to home; right here in Washington County. A person shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get the help they need. We need resources now; we can’t afford to lose more Mainer’s to this plague. 

If elected, I will work tirelessly to fight for funding so those suffering get the help they need to become healthy and productive again. There is funding out there and there will be millions more once the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is fully funded (CARA). We need to hold Governor LePage accountable; he has to stop turning Federal funds away. I ask for your vote to give me the opportunity to fight for you in Augusta to bring Washington County’s People the help they need.

 

Laurie Wooster Fogelman, Democratic Candidate for ME State Representative (Maine State House district 137)

As I have gone door to door in every town and township in District 137, I have heard all too often how people are struggling to stay in their homes. Mill closings and other job losses are hurting young and old. The futures they once thought were secure are in great jeopardy. I have heard from so many families who struggling to find decent paying jobs that they can get to within a reasonable commuting distance.  Affordable health insurance continues to be more a myth than a reality for the people in my district. Property taxes are rising at a rate that cripples those on limited or fixed incomes and may force many in our middle class to sell their homes. We are a district of mostly private homes but we have to work hard now if we are going to keep it that way.

 Our most traditional sources of income are from industries that need to change radically if they are going to survive. As a district and as a state, we have to truly be new business friendly to accomplish these goals, and that includes building our connectivity capacity and welcoming diversity. Good ideas are out there. I already know some and am eager to keep working with everyone to learn more.  Civil discourse and open minds are the only path toward a more promising future.

 

Bruce Poliquin, Republican Candidate for U.S. Representative’s, ME’s 2nd Congressional District

I believe there are many issues facing our country and Maine, such as national security, our national debt and high energy costs. Although, the most important issue for the 2nd Congressional District, I think, is jobs.

 We have witnessed several of our mills and small businesses close throughout the years, largely due to high energy costs and unfair trade.

 Prior to serving you in Congress and as Maine’s State Treasurer, I was a job creator for 35 years. I know, firsthand, what it takes to start a new business and create more good-paying jobs. In Congress, I have been using that experience to protect our Maine jobs and help our businesses grow to create more.

 For example, the local Calais Regional Hospital, the second largest employer in Washington County, contacted my office when the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) demanded immediate repayment of a $3.5 million overpayment.

 That’s when I used the full authority of my office to reach out to CMS requesting Calais Regional Hospital be allowed to pay the 2013 and 2014 overpayment through a multi-year repayment plan, rather than in a lump sum. This repayment plan helped the hospital get on sound financial footing while ensuring the community is able to receive the healthcare they need.

 Now, to help create more good-paying jobs, we need to eliminate Washington, DC’s job-killing regulations that are hurting our small businesses.

 For instance, I voted to repeal Obamacare’s penalizing 30-hour work rule and restore a full week of work for an employee to 40 hours. This will help our small businesses grow, create more jobs, and a better business climate.

 I also worked across the aisle with Rep. Chellie Pingree to stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing regulations on our sea urchin and sea cucumber industry – which employs more than 650 hard-working Mainers. Washington should be working with our communities to strengthen our coastal jobs and protect our environment, not adding more job-killing red tape and bureaucracy. 

Additionally, I worked with our Congressional Delegation to stop the European Union from banning live lobsters. That’s right, the European Union (EU) wanted to ban live lobsters – endangering 10,000 jobs. 

 Thanks to the joint efforts of our Congressional Delegation, and with research from the University of Maine, we were able to convince the EU not to ban live lobsters – protecting those 10,000 Maine jobs.

 We all know we need to get Washington’s spending under control, which is why I supported a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Mainers balance their checkbooks, so should DC.

 I am honored to serve you in Congress and I humbly ask you to vote Bruce Poliquin on November 8th.

 

Will Tuell Maine House of Representatives District 139

When we were asked to pick one issue facing Washington County that the Legislature needs to work on, a lot of things crossed my mind – jobs, the economy, local control, schools, coming to grips with the fact that we’re getting older, making sure every Washington County resident who wants it has access to affordable, high-speed internet, the roads, etc., etc., etc. 

All of those are very important issues to many of us, but one I think we need to continue working on as Republicans, Democrats, independents, police officers, doctors, teachers, judges, and community members from all walks of life is drug addiction and how it is wreaking havoc on our small coastal Washington County communities. 

You and I both know so many people in our lives that started out with pot or alcohol, got into painkillers after an accident, tried heroin at a party, maybe got into bath salts, fentanyl or meth, and lost control of their lives, or worse, lost their lives. I also am talking about high school friends who got busted for dealing drugs – not once, not twice, but many times. And those who maybe got busted for something else because they lied, cheated and stole to support their drug habit, or lost their job because they couldn’t function in the real world. We all know people like this, and sadly some may even be that person – if so, I truly hope and pray that you get the help you need and will do whatever I can as a state legislator to ensure that happens. 

Drug abuse is about finding bipartisan solutions to address the problem from different angles. Our Washington County delegation gets that. Each of us supported a bipartisan effort last session to invest state dollars into law enforcement, expanded treatment options, and education. I co-sponsored a bill with the House Majority Leader to bring more drug education into our schools, and have supported efforts by Representative Maker to bring peer support and counseling services to Aroostook and Washington counties, as well as bills to crack down on the flow of drugs into our state and make drug importation a crime, while trying to get these used needles off our roads and beaches, and making sure that prescription drugs aren’t abused. 

We didn’t get where we are overnight. We didn’t get here because either party ignored the issue, we got here because people were skittish about talking about the impact drug addiction has on their lives. We got here because churches were reluctant to reach out to the addict and provide Godly alternatives for him or her to fight back again. We got here because nobody believed their kid did drugs, sold drugs, knew anything about drugs, and it is going to take us many, many years to claw our way out. As your legislator, as one who is learning about addiction from people who lived it, I am committed to picking up where we left off and moving forward. I am committed to working with our community, and our Legislature to turn the tide on drug addiction in Washington County. 

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