Two Biddeford residents are competing for the Senate District 32 seat in northern York County.

Sen. Susan Deschambault, who was first elected earlier this year to fill a vacancy, faces a challenge from Matthew Stone, who has been active in political campaigns but has not held elected office.

Senate District 32 covers Biddeford, Alfred, Arundel, Dayton, Kennebunkport and Lyman.

Deschambault won a special election in March to fill the vacancy left after Sen. David Dutremble resigned in January. After her election, Gov. Paul LePage initially refused to swear Deschambault into office in response to Democrats’ stance on his nominee to the Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission.

Deschambault is a former two-term Biddeford city councilor who now serves as chairman of the Biddeford Planning Board.

During her short stint in Augusta this year, Deschambault, 68, served on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. She said she wants to return to Augusta to continue the work she began.

District 32 is unique in its diversity, and she enjoys meeting constituents from all towns and helping them, she said. “Each area has a unique need for advocacy on the state level and I will continue to address and promote their individuality,” she said. “I will focus on maintaining the sustainability of our farming communities, helping to determine the best location for the county courthouse, protecting the beauty and diversity of our coastal areas, and continuing to focus on economic growth, public health and education.”

Stone, 28, is returning to politics after previously working for Peter Mills’ gubernatorial campaign in 2010 and as associate finance director for Angus King’s 2012 U.S. Senate campaign. Stone, who is openly bisexual, also helped raise money for Maine’s same-sex marriage initiative in 2011 and 2012. Stone left the Republican Party a few years ago because of the way the party handles immigration issues, but decided to rejoin because of presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Stone, who says he is a “proud American Nationalist,” grew up in Litchfield as the son of a Lewiston police officer. He said globalization has “stolen away all of our manufacturing jobs and sent them overseas.”

“I saw firsthand what Third World immigration can do to our communities,” he said, referring to “the Somalian refugee crisis” in Lewiston. “For me personally and for many others in that area, when we drive down Liston Street it feels like we’re in a foreign country. That’s a very alienating experience. It concerns me that it could impact Biddeford one day. Biddeford has enough problems already.”

Deschambault and Stone agree that more needs to be done to address the state’s opioid epidemic, but differ on their approach. Deschambault said the $3.7 million allocated by the Legislature to address the problem is “insufficient to implement the statewide multi-pronged approach we need to address the crisis.” She said the focus needs to be on prevention, education and law enforcement, as well as addressing reimbursement for detox and recovery centers.

Stone said opioid abusers need a strict regime of “tough love” that includes drying them out, not weaning them onto other substances. He also believes it is time to deploy the Maine National Guard’s military police unit along state borders to help identify and catch out-of-state drug dealers.

“These criminals will think twice before coming to Maine when they hear of roving squads of armed soldiers patrolling York County,” he said.

Deschambault supports background checks on privately sold guns, supports raising the minimum wage and opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use, though she does support the medical use of cannabis. Stone opposes background checks on gun sales and calls the marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot flawed, though he does generally support a pathway to legalization. He would like to see the minimum wage increased, but not through a “one size fits all” referendum.

Deschambault is a publicly funded candidate under Maine’s Clean Election Act, which limits private contributions and provides state matching funds to legislative candidates. She had received just under $30,000 in Clean Election funding and had just under $1,400 remaining as of Oct. 28, according to campaign finance reports.

Stone is running a privately financed campaign and had reported roughly $1,700 in contributions as of Oct. 28. He had $321 remaining, according to campaign finance reports.


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