PLACE OF RESIDENCY: Topsham

PARTY AFFILIATION: Democrat

PREVIOUS ELECTED EXPERIENCE: 2 terms MSAD 75 School Board; currently serving in Maine House, District 54.

What is the biggest need your constituents are expressing as you speak with them while campaigning and how can the Legislature address this?

Jobs for young people and economic development in every corner of Maine. The biggest concern Topsham residents have expressed to me is about jobs for their children and economic development in the whole state. People want there to be jobs with decent salaries to enable their kids to come home. Many are concerned that even if there are some jobs in Maine — they don’t pay enough to cover student loans (another major issue). The Legislature can help create a viable, strategically thought-out plan for economic development statewide. We need more than a patchwork approach involving a variety of tax credits, which may or may not serve as incentives. I am working on a bill to create a Blue Ribbon Commission to develop just such a plan. It will need to be regionally focused, as different areas of the state have different traditional industries and differing needs. The goal would be to determine what conditions government can create to encourage more business development in all areas of Maine.

Are there areas to cut money from the state budget without cutting services to people who need them, and if so, where would you start cutting?

As a member of the Taxation Committee, I learned this Legislative term about a document called “the red book.” This inch-thick book holds the key to what may be the biggest waste of our tax dollars and most people are unaware of it. It details for the Tax Committee all of the taxes that state has foregone by providing tax credits of many, many types. Some of these credits date back years. Giving tax credits is the same as spending, and the money represented by the tax credits in the red book is greater than the current state budget as a whole.

We have just begun, as a result of a new law, to review these many tax credits and to determine if they continue to serve a good purpose for the state. There are quite a few tax credits we give that may no longer serve a particular purpose. Eliminating or limiting some of them would increase funds available and in essence, cut spending without cutting much needed services.

What makes you the best candidate to serve in this office?

I am an extremely responsive State Representative for our town, and I am available to help. It is my entire focus, (other than my family, of course), and I am able to be available to help residents who contact me with their concerns. I have repeatedly helped my constituents, regardless of party, and have earned a reputation for getting to most town events so that I can listen, learn and respond when needed. Most legislation I sponsored was the direct result of conversations with constituents. I have never missed a voting day at the Legislature, cosponsored nine bipartisan bills that became law and am dedicated to working well with my colleagues, regardless of party.

Working in the Legislature has a steep learning curve, and I believe Topsham would be well-served to send me back to use the knowledge I have gained — about your priorities as we’ve spoken at your doors, and about how the Legislature works best. Bills I will submit include: a gradual increase in Revenue Sharing to return it to 5 percent (this could reduce property taxes), a sales tax exemption for diapers, and the previously mentioned bill to create a Statewide, Regionally Focused, Economic Development plan.


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