A veteran legislator is running for re-election against a former town councilor to represent Old Orchard Beach in the State House.

George Hogan, 74, a Democrat, has served 10 years in the Maine House representing District 13. His opponent, Republican Michael Coleman, 56, says Hogan has not done enough to address the state’s heroin crisis or increase state aid for the district.

Coleman is a business owner and member of the Maine Republican State Committee. He was elected to the Old Orchard Beach Town Council in 2011 but was recalled from office along with most of the councilors in 2013. Two years ago he ran unsuccessfully for a Maine Senate seat.

Coleman said his No. 1 issue is the state’s heroin addiction crisis. “My opponent has been in Augusta for … 10 out of 12 years and he has done absolutely nothing to address the problem,” Coleman said.

He would like the Legislature to reinstate felony charges for possession of small amounts of opiates to make a disincentive for drug use. If elected he would propose felony possession, but give people a chance to reduce the charge if they complete treatment. He also supports law enforcement programs like Operation: Hope in Scarborough that get addicts into treatment instead of jail.

Old Orchard Beach is disadvantaged by the state’s education funding formula, which puts the burden on local taxpayers with little state aid, Coleman said. Even though millions of dollars in taxes are created in Old Orchard Beach, it only gets back a fraction from state revenue sharing, he added. Both systems should be reformed, Coleman said.


Coleman would like to lower the income tax but not eliminate it, and expand the sales tax. He is opposed to this year’s ballot referendums to require background checks for private firearm sales and raise the minimum wage. He said he has mixed feelings about legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana but believes the ballot question will pass.

Hogan, a former local business owner, was a school board member, high school baseball and football coach and town councilor. He served in the Legislature from 2004-2012, and was elected again in 2014. Hogan said he was involved in legislative bills in the last session to deal with the heroin crisis, despite Coleman’s claims. The Legislature passed bills about penalties, added drug agents, treatment and education and started a pilot program for law enforcement to get drug users into treatment, Hogan said. Coleman “doesn’t know what he is talking about,” Hogan stated.

Hogan said the state needs to amend its revenue sharing and education funding programs so communities like Old Orchard Beach will get their fair share. The town has to pay for the extra strain of tens of thousands of summer tourists – such as by hiring extra police officers – that isn’t addressed with the current state funding models, Hogan said.

Hogan is against eliminating the income tax or legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana. He supports raising the minimum wage and requiring background checks for private gun sales.

Coleman and Hogan are publicly funded candidates through the Maine Clean Election Act. Coleman raised $5,850 as of Oct. 25, and Hogan raised $7,272 during the same period, according to recent finance reports.


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