Republican Rep. Heather Sirocki, a three-term incumbent, is being challenged Nov. 8 by Democrat Christopher Caiazzo, a Scarborough town councilor, in a race for the House District 28 seat representing part of Scarborough.

The two candidates differ on several major issues facing Mainers, including November ballot proposals to require background checks for private gun sales and increase the state minimum wage to $12 by 2020, as well as Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s effort to reduce and eventually eliminate the state income tax.

Caiazzo, 46, has a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering from Maine Maritime Academy and works as a business development manager. He was elected to a three-year term on the Town Council last November, after serving on the Scarborough school board and heading its finance committee for three years.

Sirocki, 57, has an associate degree in dental hygiene from the former Westbrook College and works as an administrative assistant.

She is seeking a fourth two-year term as House 28 representative, having served on the Legislature’s appropriations and health and human services committees.

Caiazzo raised $1,000 in seed money from individual donors, almost all of them Scarborough residents, and received $10,500 in state funding through the Maine Clean Election Act, according to campaign finance reports through Oct. 25. He spent $9,986 on road signs, print advertising, campaign mailers to homes and postage.

Sirocki raised $15,207 in contributions from Scarborough and beyond, including $1,500 from prominent Republicans and business owners Rupert and Suzanne Grover of Norway, who were founding partners in the Oxford Casino, finance reports show.

Her total included $750 from Republican state Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake of Turner; $375 from Dirigo PAC, a Republican leadership political action committee based in Alexandria, Virginia; $350 from Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin; and $100 from Maine Taxpayers United. She spent $6,601 on fundraising events, fuel, road signs, campaign stickers and mailers, postage and newspaper advertising.

Caiazzo said he’s challenging Sirocki “because I believe that our current representative has proven time and again through her voting record that she chooses to put the needs of her political party above those of our community,” according to his response to a Portland Press Herald survey.

“We need representatives who will work across the aisle and across the state in order to solve the real challenges facing our communities,” Caiazzo said.

Sirocki said she’s seeking re-election because she has worked hard on policies that she believes move Maine forward by increasing job growth and wages, paying off millions in Medicaid debt to hospitals and controlling state spending.

“We are facing societal, demographic and substance abuse issues and a shortage of doctors,” Sirocki said in her survey response. “Each state is competing to attract young people, and Maine is especially vulnerable with (the highest median age) in the country.”

Sirocki said she supports the governor’s efforts to cut the state income tax. She noted that the Legislature recently broadened and increased the state sales tax and simultaneously lowered the state income tax. “But there is still room for adjustment,” she said. “Many states have shifted to a lower state income tax and a broader consumption tax model with good results.”

Caiazzo said he opposes LePage’s income tax proposal because he believes it would shift a greater tax burden onto poor and middle-class families through regressive measures that would further increase sales and property taxes.

He said he would prefer to provide greater property tax relief for seniors and others struggling on low or fixed incomes.

Regarding the November ballot questions, Caiazzo said he supports increasing the minimum wage and requiring background checks, saying that “private sales and gun shows provide too big of a loophole for those wishing to acquire firearms for illicit purposes.”

Sirocki said she opposes the minimum wage increase and background checks for private gun sales, saying that the latter proposal is poorly written, unnecessary and the result of “wealthy, out-of-state, special interests trying to buy public policy through our referendum process.”

While Caiazzo stated clearly that he opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Sirocki described several problems she sees in the November ballot initiative and said it should be brought before the Legislature for a thorough public review and amendments.

Regarding Maine’s heroin and opiate crisis, Sirocki outlined current funding levels and challenges in the effort to prevent and address addiction through treatment, law enforcement and education. She said a new prescription monitoring program sets limits for opioid prescriptions, requires substance abuse education for prescribers and will soon require electronic record-keeping.

Caiazzo said Maine “needs to do more to develop effective treatment programs and facilities for existing addicts before they become dependents of our criminal justice system.”