Friday, December 13, 2013
By DEBRA PLOWMAN
HAMPDEN - All six of us running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate here in Maine are fed up with Congress and with President Obama's failed policies. We advocate similar economic approaches: a balanced budget amendment, the repeal of ObamaCare, lower taxes and relief for small businesses.
But our views aren't entirely in sync: I -- for one -- will never vote to spend money the government doesn't have. My goal in Washington will be to lower spending until the federal government is entirely out of the red.
And our experience isn't the same either: Unlike the other candidates, I have 16 years of legislative experience here in Maine, both in the minority and leading the majority. I know how to overcome partisanship and push for important policies ranging from income tax reductions to a stronger crackdown on deadbeat moms and dads.
Pocketbook issues are my greatest concern, but they're not my only concern. And I think a lot of Mainers feel this way.
Your next senator could make or break the proposal for a national park in the North Woods. Of course this, too, is a pocketbook issue in many ways. Handing over a large tract of Maine forest to the National Park Service would only further decimate our logging and paper industries. Maine's economy needs less federal regulation, not more Park Service bureaucrats breathing down our necks.
In the same vein, the federal government should have very little role to play in education. Our children are educated by teachers, administrators and involved parents. It's difficult to envision a role for the federal Department of Education in this process, yet the department somehow spends more than 75 billion taxpayer dollars each year.
The fastest way to improve education in this country is by eliminating the ineffective and overfunded Department of Education and redirecting its budget to actual schools and teachers.
America's energy policy is also at a crossroads. If there's a lesson in today's gas prices, it's that foreign oil is not the answer. "Homegrown" fuels are cheaper, more sustainable and more environmentally friendly.
America is sitting on a 100-year supply of natural gas. Hydropower has vast untapped potential. And we are nowhere near realizing the promise of nuclear energy.
Unfortunately, our energy policies do nothing to promote domestic energy, and everything to discourage its use. Federal regulations remain the greatest barrier to American energy exploration and production.
The only domestic energy sources supported by President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are sources like solar and wind, sources that cost too much and produce too little, yet are heavily subsidized by Washington.
As Maine's senator I will work to tear down these regulations, eliminate subsidies, implement tax breaks for truly sustainable domestic energy sources and open the door to an energy policy that helps American companies, workers and consumers.
And what about social issues? Mainers haven't heard much about these in this campaign either, at least not from my opponents.
I've been pro-life for as long as I can remember. At the age of 15, I participated in my first Hands Around the Capitol Rally in Augusta. And through 16 years in the Maine Legislature, I have a consistent pro-life voting record.
Maine has never had a pro-life senator, and it's more important than ever to restore a culture of life to Washington, D.C. Because the Democrats are right about one thing: There is a war against women under way. And it's being waged by the left.
Women deserve better than abortion. It's our job to show them that pregnancy isn't the end, but the beginning. I've worked hard my entire life to provide assistance to young pregnant women so they don't have to choose between their schooling, their career and their unborn baby.
Compassion and life go hand in hand, and I'll continue to stand for both as Maine's U.S. senator.
So if you're looking to vote for a conservative, fiscally and socially, next Tuesday, then I'm your woman.
If you're looking for someone who is electable, well, then, I'm also your woman. I've won nine consecutive elections for state representative, then for state senator.
Republicans vote for me, but so do an overwhelming majority of independents in my district. They know that they can take me at face value, that I'm principled and that I will stop at nothing to do what is right for them.
Like Augusta, we have a lot to fight for in Washington. Stand with me on Tuesday, and on toward November, so we can continue this fight together.
Debra Plowman is assistant majority leader in the Maine Senate and a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.