Two veteran state lawmakers are squaring off in the Democratic primary in Senate District 33 in central York County.
Incumbent Sen. John Tuttle, facing his first primary challenge in more than two decades, is running against Andrea Boland, a four-term state representative who cannot run again for that seat because of term limits. The winner of the June 10 primary will face political newcomer Adam McGee, a Republican from Sanford, in the November election.
District 33 includes Cornish, Limerick, Newfield, Parsonsfield, Sanford, Shapleigh and Waterboro.
Tuttle, of Sanford, has represented the Sanford area in the Legislature for 28 years, including 11 terms in the House from 1979 to 2010 and three terms in the Senate. He currently is chairman of the York County legislative delegation and said he plans to run for senate majority leader if re-elected in November. He serves on the Judiciary Committee and is chairman of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.
Boland, a self-employed title examiner, represented part of Sanford in the House for four consecutive terms. She served on the State and Local Government and Government Oversight committees.
Tuttle, 63, said he wants to continue his work in Augusta as a consensus builder who can work successfully with politicians on both sides of the aisle. When he was chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development, he had 100 unanimous reports, he said. As chairman of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, he helped negotiate a $400 million liquor contract.
“With my consensus-building style, I can bring both Democrats and Republicans together like it was in the old days,” he said. “I don’t just treat them as a Democrat or a Republican, I treat them as a person. I think we need to do more of that in Augusta.”
As he looks for another term in Augusta, Tuttle said he is concerned about the fate of the Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion, which faces potential relocation. Tuttle, who works as an EMT and is known for his strong support of veterans, was a medic in the 133rd and said the engineers are invaluable when it comes to helping with natural disasters and should not be moved.
Tuttle said he would like to reestablish funding for the property tax and rent refund, or circuit breaker, program to provide some tax relief to seniors. Funding for the program was repealed in 2013 as part of the state budget.
“They’ve cut that program back so much I think we really have to go back and do that,” Tuttle said. “We’ve given a lot of tax breaks to the rich that we really couldn’t afford. We need to give money back to the middle class.”
Boland, 67, has championed safety issues, nutrition wellness and illness prevention measures, and programs to strengthen the electric grid during her four terms in Augusta. She said she is motivated to run for Tuttle’s seat because she feels she has unfinished business with the security and reliability of the state’s electric grid. If elected, she said she will continue to connect experts with legislators to explore how to strengthen the electric grid and open the state to new possibilities.
“It’s an environmental and public safety issue that can’t be ignored,” she said. “It also offers economic opportunity with new business, jobs and the opening of a whole new field of endeavor.”
Boland said she wants to continue to be a voice for the average person in Augusta and would push for increases in the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work and campaign finance reform. She feels multinational corporations and industries have too much power because of the constant presence of lobbyists.
“What I see so much out on the campaign trail is real anger that government is not working adequately for them,” she said. “The powerful interests are having things going more their way. Average people are being left behind. It’s very troubling to me.”
Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at: