Republican Jane Knapp said she wants to translate her experience as a nine-year Gorham town councilor and a nine-year Gorham School Committee member, into affecting change in Augusta in the House District 129 seat.

Knapp said she is particularly concerned with the Homestead Exemption didn’t reimburse towns 100 percent, instead cutting the reimbursement in half that forced Gorham to scramble to find the remaining money.

“I’m frustrated with what Augusta dumps on our laps,” Knapp said. “One example is the Homestead Exemption. In 2004 for the assesments in April 1 of 2005, instead of reimbursing 100 percent they’ve got it down to 50 percent, and all of a sudden Gorham has to make that up, and that has a direct effect on property taxes.”

Knapp, a retired teacher from Massabesic High School, has lived in Gorham for 25 years and has two children. Knapp, 60, has a master’s in education from the University of Maine and a certificate in social services from Southern Maine Community College.

Taxes are a concern to Knapp who said the recent economical woes and the high tax burden on Mainers is having a negative impact across the state.

“The biggest concern I hear from citizens is taxes,” she said. “They are very frustrated now with the economic crisis and one influences the other.”

A start to lowering taxes for Knapp is favoring a yes vote on question 1 that would repeal the new taxes on beer, wine and soda to help fund Dirigo Health, the state health insurance program that covers 18,000 people.

“I think we need to help the people without insurance,” she said, but she said she feels there is a better way to fund insurance programs than quickly raising taxes.

In terms of Dirigo, Knapp said it needs to be retooled.

“A lot of people who the state thought would sign up and get coverage haven’t signed up,” she said. “How to correct it, I don’t know, but I think there are people in Maine who have needs, and we need to help those people with legitimate needs, but in the present economy there isn’t an easy way to find appropriate funding.”

The casino vote for Oxford County is on Knapp’s mind as she says she is against gambling.

“I think Maine has a lot to offer for recreation, and there might be some ways we can spend some money to draw people to an area without harming the area,” she said. “We should put something in for recreation that isn’t going to harm the environment but still create jobs. I’m not for casinos.”

The issue of Scarborough potentially voting for a racino at Scarborough Downs needs to stay a local issue.

“I’m philosophically against racinos,” she said. “But it’s a local issue for local people to decide. I like to get issues as close to the people as you can.”

As an educator of more than 30 years, school consolidation is near to Knapp’s heart, she said.

“I think there’s going to need to be a lot of consolidation,” she said. “For educators to buy into it, it can’t be just a money issue. It has to have some educational value involved.”

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