Name: Peter Kent Age: 61 Occupation: builder, form maker, sculptor Education: bachelor of arts, liberal arts, Cornell University, Acadia University. Political experience: two terms, House District 65

Name: Peter Kent Age: 61 Occupation: builder, form maker, sculptor Education: bachelor of arts, liberal arts, Cornell University, Acadia University. Political experience: two terms, House District 65

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series of articles previewing local races for the Maine Legislature. Election Day is Nov. 6.

WOOLWICH

Cutbacks in state funding to municipalities, health insurance costs and an “attack” on organized labor are harming the very middle class that drives the economy, Democrat Peter Kent warns.

Name: Jason Warnke Age: 45 Occupation: U.S. Navy Reserves Education: associate’s degree, general studies, Maryland Community College; military schools. Political experience: none

Name: Jason Warnke Age: 45 Occupation: U.S. Navy Reserves Education: associate’s degree, general studies, Maryland Community College; military schools. Political experience: none

Jason Warnke, his Republican opponent, is worried the state is not preparing its young people for the jobs that are available. The result: an ongoing “brain drain.”

 

 

Kent, a two-term incumbent, is opposed by Warnke on the Nov. 6 ballot for House District 65 covering Woolwich and parts of Bath, Brunswick, Topsham and West Bath.

Kent seeks a balancing act between encouraging entrepreneurs and keeping “what makes Maine.”

“I think the state really needs to figure out how it can increase its revenue stream,” he said. “Tourism is our biggest business. We have to be careful that in the mad rush to become businessfriendly, we don’t ruin the biggest business that there is.”

Kent voiced concern that municipalities are bearing the burden of state budget cutbacks, and that property taxes will increase as a result.

State government has attacked organized labor, and is undercutting pension plans, he said.

“Ease up on organized labor,” he said. “The taking down of the mural at the State House and calling it socialist is absurd. Don’t coddle the wealthy with tax cuts. It’s the working man who’s under attack.”

State government should assist the public in the lowering of health insurance costs, Kent said.

Warnke, who has two daughters — one in college, one in high school — worries about young people who can’t find work in the state.

“They’re super smart girls who can do anything they want,” Warnke said of his daughters. “It’s just that they probably can’t do it in Maine.”

Warnke, who has run small businesses, said many business owners need young people who are educated in the trades.

“I don’t think the demand for that is going to go away anytime soon,” he said. “We need to find a way to push it more, instead of insisting that a four-year college is for everybody.”

Business owners, Warnke said, need to feel confident they’re making a sound investment.

“One-time state assistance in startup costs is not enough if you get soaked with regulations and taxes,” he said. “We need to convince folks that, hey, Maine might be a good place to do something.”

Meanwhile, Warnke points out, the state is losing people. Young people are leaving, and bringing their children up elsewhere.

“We’re going into a demographic winter right now,” Warnke said. “There are more folks dying right now in our state than who are being born in our state.”

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