Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Sandy Amborn, candidate for House District 120 seat.
Diane Marie Russell-Natera, Democratic candidate for Maine House District 120.
Three candidates with sharply contrasting positions on such issues as energy policy, the economy and health care will be seeking the support of Munjoy Hill voters in the House District 120 election on Tuesday.
Sandy L. Amborn, a Green Independent; Peter I. Doyle, a Republican; and Diane Marie Russell-Natera, a Democrat; are all making their first run for elective office.
In addition to the city's East End, the district includes the waterfront east of State Street. It was previously represented by Anne Rand, a Democrat who ran an unsuccessful primary campaign for state Senate.
All three candidates say the Legislature will face some tough choices, with a $500 million budget shortfall looming as the national economy slides toward recession.
Russell-Natera said that as a freshman legislator, she would not pretend to have a solution in hand. But she said she is ''known for streamlining procedures and doing things to improve work-flow and reduce costs'' in her professional work with nonprofit institutions.
Doyle said his priority with the shortfall would be to make state revenue collection and spending more understandable to voters, with legislation ''that would guarantee that every amount of money that is spent is accounted for, down to the most granular detail we can possibly get to.''
Amborn said the Legislature should consider raising more money by imposing a tax on bottled water and eliminating or revising some corporate tax breaks.
''I do think we need more revenue,'' she said. ''I think we need to look at ways to do that that don't burden low- and middle-income people.''
Amborn said she would be a strong advocate for a single-payer health insurance system and for state efforts to promote clean energy and help residents cope with high home heating oil prices by subsidizing weatherization and setting tougher energy efficiency standards for buildings.
Russell-Natera said economic development is a top priority to help Maine cope with the loss of manufacturing jobs. She said the state should scrutinize the tax breaks it offers businesses to make sure companies that receive tax benefits provide jobs that pay well.
She also strongly defended the Dirigo Health program and the proposed tax on soda, wine and beer that would help fund the program. ''This is a values question,'' she said. ''It needs to be framed that way, and it hasn't been.''
Doyle said he opposes the Dirigo tax because the Legislature rushed it through without sufficient debate. He also questioned its effectiveness, noting it had only reached 10 to 15 percent of the uninsured in Maine. He said the Legislature should search for ways to make the private market work more effectively.
''Both my opponents advocate a single-payer system, but it hasn't worked in states that have tried it,'' he said.
Staff Writer Dieter Bradbury can be reached at 791-6329 or at:
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