At 69, Peter Reynolds is attempting his first run for elective office.

Reynolds, who works in the home-heating business, faces incumbent Democrat Rep. Jane Eberle in the race for House District 123.

Reynolds, a Republican, has lived in South Portland for 50 years. Reynolds said that friends encouraged him to run for office.

“I said it would be worth a try,” Reynolds said. “I’m somewhat opinionated.”

Reynolds is pledging to use good, old-fashioned “common sense” in policy making.

“I’m not always going to follow party lines,” he said. “If I don’t think it’s right, I won’t vote for it.”

Although Reynolds does not have a specific agenda, he listed several issues that he described as “bugaboos.” Taxes, schools, roads and infrastructure are high on the list.

“Taxes are always important, and they’re too high,” Reynolds noted. “Schools have always been a bugaboo, too, and so has been getting money for roads in Maine. Some of them are in sad shape.”

Reynolds said the key for the Legislature is to balance the needs of residents with the costs of getting work done.

Reynolds said he supports school consolidation in rural areas, where it makes the most sense to have a single larger school, where several towns can send their children.

He does not support consolidation for South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, which have well-established, larger school departments. He says it’s not practical.

Reynolds wants to lower taxes. In particular, he sees corporate taxes as discouraging employers from locating in Maine. He describes property taxes as “scary, but a necessary evil.”

Reynolds would like to repeal the beverage tax, which helps fund the Dirigo health plan. He says Dirigo was a good idea but not working well.

Reynolds said he is familiar with the challenges of small businesses, after working for home heating companies as a technician and salesman.

Reynolds says he thinks the state should probably do more to provide heating assistance to the needy. “In my line of business, I’ve seen the horror stories of people making the decision on whether to buy food or heat the house,” he said.

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