2016 Voters Guide Pt 2

Candidates were also asked to comment on the 5 Referendum questions. Their responses: 

 

Larry Lockman

I will be voting NO on all five of the citizen-initiated referendum questions on the ballot.

 

Marianne Moore 

Question 1 Comments:

While I support medical marijuana usage, I am concerned of the consequences if this passes.  Not having a way to test someone under the influence of marijuana while driving places our citizens and public safety personnel in harm's way, as well as the the possibility of this being the starting “highway” for stronger drugs for our youth.

Question 2 Comments:

My concern with increasing the taxes for those making over $200,000 is the possibility of potential business investors pulling out or choosing not to do business in Maine.  We need to find other ways to fund our schools at the 55% level“promised” to our cities & towns.

Question 3 Comments:

While I support background checks for firearm sales, this law places undo “rules” and expenses on law abiding citizens.  The “bad guys” will still find ways to purchase firearms illegally.

Question 4 Comments:

Raising the minimum wage will be a disaster for small businesses such as mine.  Most small businesses are not able to pay the suggested rates and may be forced to close.  Entry level jobs will not be available for our young adults.  Additionally, waiters/waitresses will actually make less money with the loss of tips.  

Question 5:

This type of “voting” is very confusing for most voters and will complicate the voting process.  Additionally, this will be a very costly expense to future elections.

 

Colleen Morton:

Referendum 1:

I'm somewhat conflicted on this referendum. I'm worried that we might see an increase in child poisonings in the early stages of legalization before adequate regulations and safeguards are put in place (although current numbers are very low and effects are not severe, usually). But, on the other hand, the referendum would de-criminalize something that shouldn't be criminal and would free up resources for more important things such as fighting the opioid epidemic. The main objective should not be to raise tax revenue, but to stop jailing people unnecessarily.   It would also make it easier for people to treat themselves for chronic pain conditions in a way that does not lead to opioid dependence.  So, I'll support it with the expectation that the legislature will take up the child safeguards issue immediately in January 2017.

Referendum 2:

 I’m also not particularly happy with this bill since I don’t think education or tax policy should be made via referendum.  They’re both too complex for relatively simplistic, band-aid approaches.  However, governmental paralysis on education funding has made it necessary and I’m going to support it with the expectation, once again, that the legislature and the governor will do their best over the next couple of years to think more creatively about re-inventing K-12 education in this state.  Education reform needs to be aimed at making sure we provide each student with the best possible education for the student.  It should not aim primarily at maintaining existing school buildings, staff or structures.  We need to think beyond the “industrial” model of education to one that fully utilizes the internet and distance learning; specialization and multi-use of school facilities; and alternatives that do not deprecate non-college tracks.  This is a problem throughout the rural areas of the United States.  We could learn a lot by looking at how other states are dealing with these challenges, including Idaho and Minnesota.

Referendum 3: 

I strongly believe in background checks for all gun purchases.  Now, we have a system that theoretically requires background checks, but in fact makes it extremely easy to circumvent this requirement by allowing gun purchases from many other sources without background checks.  My feeling is that if the state is going to adopt background checks, then it should have a system that works.  If Mainers don’t want background checks, then they should get rid of them entirely, and not perpetuate this half and half approach that doesn’t accomplish very much.  I think the proposed changes would get us a lot closer to a system of background checks that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally insane, particularly for impulse purchases

Referendum 4: 

In general, I am not a fan of making law or policy through referendums because nuances and complexities are hard to address.  This is the case with this referendum.  While I enthusiastically support increasing the minimum wage so that working people can afford rent and groceries without state help (the State is subsidizing businesses that pay their workers low wages), I believe that small restaurants in rural Maine may need additional help to meet these requirements and not go out of business.  Their cost controls and financial efficiency could probably be improved with some state-supported business consulting, enabling them to more rapidly comply with the law.  This kind of thing is not included in the referendum.  Nevertheless, I am supporting the referendum because of the inability of the government to adopt a meaningful increase in the minimum wage for so many years, the existence of widespread poverty, particularly child poverty, and the need to increase the purchasing power of residents in rural regions to generate more economic activity there.  If elected, I would commit to pushing the legislature to take up helping small rural restaurants become more financially efficient in the next session.

Referendum 5:

I do not support this referendum.  I think it is a simplistic response to a very complex problem and may have many unintended consequences.  For one thing, it would require changes to the state’s constitution, which will be difficult to enact.  Secondly, it seems to me that it will make it so that people with many choices will have their votes counted multiple times, while voters who select only one choice will get only one vote.  Thirdly, I don’t think it will necessarily lead to less rancor in the political system since the rancor will end up being split four or five ways instead of 2 or 3.  Ranked choice voting can work well in local elections where ideological differences tend to not be so extreme and there are several alternative candidates who are not competing in a zero-sum way.  At this level, alliances can be formed and candidates can be pushed toward the center.  I’m less convinced that simply changing the ballot structure will change campaigning, or the outcome, to result in a true majority-backed winner at the state or national levels.  There are some scenarios, for instance, where a majority’s third choice ends up the winner. That does not strike me as the best outcome.

 

Emily Cain:

State Referendum Questions

1. Marijuana: Oppose - With so many of our neighbors struggling with drug addiction, now is not the right time to legalize marijuana at the state level in Maine.

2. School Funding: Support - Working families are struggling under the burden of high property taxes while millionaires have access to tax breaks that most of us don't. Every kid, including those in rural or working-class towns, deserves access to a great education.

3. Background Checks: Support - I support the Second Amendment and I believe we should be able to easily purchase, keep, carry, and use a gun. This initiative respects our Second Amendment rights and ends anonymous sales to felons, domestic abusers, and those with serious mental illness.

4. Minimum Wage: Support - No one working 40 hours a week should live in poverty, and when workers can't earn enough to support their families, taxpayers will have to pick up the tab.

5. Ranked Choice: Support - This initiative gives Mainers more say in our elections and more confidence that the winner of an election is the person who has the most support.

 

Rock Alley

Question 1:  Citizen’s Initiative

Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?

A. Not now. While legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana would allow possession and free up our law enforcement, we need to review the way this initiative is written so our children cannot obtain access to it. We also should review how Colorado has been impacted since legalizing so we don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Question 2:   Citizen’s Initiative

Do you want to add a 3% tax on individual Maine taxable income above $200,000 to create a state fund that would provide direct support for student learning in kindergarten through 12th grade public education?

A. Yes, but with a little tweaking. This initiative brings tax fairness back into Maine by creating a 3% surcharge on households with taxable income greater than $200,000. The initiative would generate an additional $157 million for public schools and help the state reach the 55% funding level voters mandated in 2004, easing local budgets. The surcharge impacts just 2% of the entire Maine population. There are approximately 100 towns that will not benefit from this initiative and we need to find a way to make this more inclusive.

Question 3:   Citizen’s Initiative

Do you want to require background checks prior to the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers, with failure to do so punishable by law, and with some exceptions for family members, hunting, self-defense, lawful competitions, and shooting range activity? 

A. No. I do not support this initiative the way it is written. This effort does nothing to deter criminals and will only make it more difficult for law abiding Mainers to obtain guns for hunting and protection. It is not fair to restrict the rights of Maine people who are not part of the problem.

Question 4:   Citizen’s Initiative

Do you want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50 to $9 in 2017, with annual $1 increases up to $12 in 2020, and annual cost-of-living increases thereafter; and do you want to raise the direct wage for service workers who receive tips from half the minimum wage to $5 in 2017, with annual $1 increases until it reaches the adjusted minimum wage?

A. Yes. People working 40 hours per week shouldn’t live in poverty. Over 90% of workers who are paid low wages are age 20 and over; and include highly skilled positions like nursing assistance, preschool teachers, paramedics and people who provide homecare to seniors.

Question 5:   Citizen’s Initiative

Do you want to allow voters to rank their choices of candidates in elections for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate, and State Representative, and to have ballots counted at the state level in multiple rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by majority?

A. No. With this type of a system, a candidate could win without getting the majority of the vote. 

Question 6:   Bond Issue

Do you favor a $100,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities, equipment and property acquisition related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds?

A. Yes. This is a win for everyone; roads and bridges get repaired and jobs are created.

 

Bruce Poliquin

Referendum Responses         

1) I’m not going to tell the people of Maine how to vote, they get to decide. That said, personally I will share that my own family has had to deal with the issue of substance abuse, even losing my own brother to it. We need to be very careful and understand that as worded, the referendum might result in a problem with children gaining access to marijuana. 

2) This surcharge will increase Maine’s state income tax rate to 10.15% - one of the highest in the country. Next door, New Hampshire, has a 0% income tax. The people of Maine will decide on this issue on November 8th.

 3) My position on the 2nd Amendment is very clear. I have been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. Additionally, I have already publicly stated I will be voting NO on Question 3. Emily Cain has stated she is voting YES on Question 3.

 4) I am focused on creating more high paying jobs, not just minimum wage jobs.  We must make sure we don’t kill jobs because of labor costs. We need to protect entry level, minimum wage jobs and ensure that everyone can receive a paycheck.

 

 5) We have a Constitutional right to vote. I encourage people of Maine to look at this ballot and vote for themselves.