A political newcomer is challenging the incumbent House District 11 Democrat for a chance to represent a section of Biddeford in Augusta.

Renee Morin, a business owner, is running against Rep. Ryan Fecteau, who has served one term in the Legislature.

Fecteau, now 24, was the youngest openly gay legislator in the country when he was elected in 2014. A Biddeford native who studied political science at The Catholic University of America, he says he is running for a second term to continue finding ways to work with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Augusta. He said he also is committed to being a voice for his community in Augusta.

“In the last two years, I brought enthusiasm and new energy to Augusta,” he said. “I think it’s important we maintain that momentum by focusing on issues that aren’t going to be solved overnight.”

During his first term, Fecteau sponsored a bill to put forward a $25 million bond to invest in capital and equipment improvements at the 27 career and technical education centers across the state. The bill was ultimately tabled. If elected, he would continue to push for that investment as a way to educate students for available jobs, keep young people in Maine and grow the economy.

“For me, it’s about unfinished business. It’s about making sure we’re getting young people to live, work and play here,” he said.

Morin, 54, runs Uptown Appraising and is the volunteer meals coordinator for the Saco Meals Program. She has not previously run for a seat in the Legislature, but has been active in legislative public hearings on issues she is passionate about, she said. Now at a point in her life where she has time to dedicate to the community, she said she wants to bring a common-sense approach to state government.

“I have worked in government and in the private sector and am now self-employed. I feel I can represent a diverse body,” she said. “I’m also very good at listening and analyzing the issues and not just saying this is the way to go.”

If elected, Morin said one of her priorities will be strengthening the public education system. Offering Maine children a solid education puts them in a position to be led out of poverty and provides an educated workforce to attract businesses to Maine, she said.

“I don’t think we spend enough time talking about education in the political environment,” she said.

Both candidates agree that more needs to be done to address the state’s opioid epidemic, but differ on the approach they would take to addressing it. Fecteau called the Maine Department of Health and Human Services negligent by spending roughly $4.5 million less in 2015 to fight the epidemic than it did in 2014 and said it needs to get serious about the issue by using the resources that lawmakers have allocated in the budget. Morin, who said her family has personal experience with the epidemic, said she would like to see doctors stop prescribing opiates and hold the pharmaceutical companies responsible for addressing the issue.

Fecteau supports marijuana legalization, background checks on private firearms transactions and raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020. Morin opposes marijuana legalization, opposes minimum wage increases and does not support adding new laws that require background checks on gun sales.

Morin said she supports Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to lower the income tax rate – and eventually eliminate it – by increasing the sales tax. Mainers should be able to keep their income, and taxing spending is more appropriate, she said. Fecteau opposes LePage’s plan because he believes it will have a negative impact on middle-class families. Eliminating the income tax would shift the tax burden to municipalities that rely on property taxes to generate revenue.

Both Fecteau and Morin are running privately financed campaigns. Fecteau reported $4,162 in contributions as of Oct. 28, with $1,524 on hand. Morin reported $1,325 in contributions, with $51 remaining at the end of the reporting period, according to campaign finance reports.