A business owner from York and a former state representative from Eliot are running for the Republican nomination in state Senate District 1.

The winner of the June 8 primary will run against Democrat Dawn Hill of York for the seat now held by Democrat Peter Bowman of Kittery. The district covers South Berwick, Eliot, Kittery, Ogunquit and York.

Michael Estes, who owns Estes Oil and Propane in York, said he is running because he is fed up with bad policies in Maine, 10 years of anti-business sentiment, lack of job growth and high medical costs.

“You can sit back and complain about it or you can do something about it, and I think my abilities as a town leader and a businessman will help me make things better up there,” said Estes.

He said he would bring about change by standing firm on his positions. He said a good example of how that can work is the York selectmen’s three-year opposition to the Maine Turnpike Authority’s plan to rebuild the York toll plaza.

The selectmen are pushing for all-electronic tolling, which they say would cost considerably less and have a much smaller environmental impact than the authority’s proposal. “That is one example of how not to get run over by our massive state government,” said Estes.

He said job creation and taxes are the most important issues for his district. He supports repealing last year’s tax reform law, which will broaden the sales tax unless voters overturn it at the polls on June 8.

Estes said the law would be especially hard on communities that border New Hampshire, which has no sales tax.

He said he has not decided who he will vote for in the governor’s race, but it will be a Republican. “I can work with any of the seven (Republican) candidates and look forward to that,” he said.

Sarah Lewin of Eliot, who has been a state representative for the past eight years, said she is running for the Senate because of runaway spending in state government.

A retired retailer, Lewin said she once ran a $55 million business and knows how to be accountable. She said the state spends too much on education and welfare.

“If we rolled back the MaineCare program alone to the national average, we would save $370 million,” said Lewin.

Lewin said the government is too big and needs to be made smaller, while serving people who cannot care for themselves.

She said Maine has become “a sanctuary state that has invited a lot of illegals here.”

She said jobs and taxes are the two most important issues facing the district.

“In Augusta, the people have this vision of York County as the Gold Coast. The truth of the matter is, we have a lot of blue collar working stiffs struggling to survive, and we haven’t made it easy for them,” she said.

Lewin said she helped collect signatures for the repeal of the tax reform law because people in Maine cannot afford it. She said people have a right to vote on the law.

“I am grateful people will get to speak on June 8, and I suspect the governor is going to get a big surprise,” she said. Baldacci supported the tax changes.

Lewin declined to say publicly who she supports for governor, but said she would tell people privately if asked.

 

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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