Two New Gloucester women and business owners are hoping to fill an open seat representing District 65 in the Maine House of Representatives.

Republican Amy Arata and Democrat Misty Coolidge both own small businesses and both are married with three children. The winner on Nov. 6 will replace Rep. Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, in a seat that represents New Gloucester and part of Poland.

Arata, 45, is a member of the School Administrative District 15 board and the Maine State Board of Education, and has served on the New Gloucester Budget Committee and Planning Board, among other positions. She and her husband own Range Pond Apartments in Poland.

Arata said she’s heard a lot of concerns about Maine’s battle with opioid addiction. “I think we need to throw everything at it we’ve got – from law enforcement, to counseling, to intervention, prevention,” Arata said.

She said she would support Medicaid expansion if it were to come back before the Legislature in some manner.

“I would support it, but we have to pay for it. We’re going to have to get the money somewhere. And we might have to sacrifice something else in order to expand it,” Arata said. Coolidge, 43, runs two small businesses: Coolidge Family Farm, a wedding and event space, and a mobile bar service called the Maine Mixologist. She is also in the midst of her one-year reign as Mrs. Maine International, having won the statewide pageant this year.

Coolidge said she thinks Maine needs a state-run recovery facility to help address Maine’s opioid addiction crisis. “I really think the state should have state funding to open a place – safe haven – where people can go” for recovery services, Coolidge said.

She said the state should expand Medicaid in keeping with the will of voters.

“The people already voted to expand that, and I definitely support it for our seniors and people that need that,” Coolidge said.

Arata is a traditionally funded candidate and has raised $6,635, according to the Maine ethics commission campaign finance website.

Coolidge is running as a publicly-financed candidate under Maine’s Clean Elections Act and has raised $8,280, according to the commission.

Matt Junker can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 123, or at:

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