BRUNSWICK — Republican challenger Michael Stevens is hoping to unseat Democratic Rep. Matthea “Mattie” Daughtry as she seeks her third term in House District 49, which covers part of Brunswick.

Daughtry, 29, defeated Stevens in the 2014 election by a nearly 30 percentage-point margin. She is also campaigning in a unique fashion: She has been bicycling across Brunswick to meet with residents.

Daughtry said one of her chief focuses, if re-elected, is the economy, and breaking out of a partisan cycle that focuses on short-term solutions.

“I think everything always harkens back to the economy. I think what really needs to be determined is, we need to work on a long-term vision for Maine, and not just a two-year cycle,” she said. “If we’re going to turn Maine around, we have to have a long-term vision.”

Included in her vision of a stronger Maine economy are lowering property taxes by reintroducing revenue sharing and reforming the tax system.

Stevens, a school bus driver in School Administrative District 75, said jobs and the economy are also at the forefront of his plans for the state. His strategy is to examine state spending and reduce it.

“Families have to budget on what their actual income is, whereas both Maine and Brunswick decide to spend and then try to figure out other ways of acquiring the extra money needed,” he said.

In addition, Stevens said, “Making Maine a ‘right-to-work’ state would also greatly enhance our appeal. Many businesses do not want to work with unions while some do. We should not force their hands. This is America, the land of freedom.”

On Maine’s five citizen-initiated referendums, they have different opinions. Daughtry prefers not to get into the specifics of the questions, but supports the citizen-led process.

“I think there are questions that really shouldn’t be answered by 151 Mainers,” Daughtry said. “These are issues that the Legislature shouldn’t be deciding on their own. They should be done as a community and as a society.”

Stevens does not support any of the citizen-initiated questions.

“I personally believe that all five are – or would be – bad policy,” he said. “I believe that this is just another attempt by the Democrats to push their agenda items regardless of the merits of the – in some cases – poorly written initiatives.”

The two also differ on Medicaid expansion/restoration. Daughtry says the state should have accepted federal funds, while Stevens prefers a wait-and-see approach.

“Right now, I’m going to wait to see what happens in the November presidential election to see if the Obamacare mess is going to be repealed or if we’re going to have to continue to contend with that before touching Medicaid,” Stevens said.

Chris Chase can be contacted at:

cchase@coastaljournal.com