Two Scarborough men running for the Legislature in House District 28 both have years of public service behind their bids.

Republican Linwood Higgins, a former longtime state legislator, faces Town Councilor Christopher Caiazzo, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 election. The pair are seeking to replace outgoing Rep. Heather Sirocki, R-Scarborough, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Higgins, 70, said the partisanship now seen in Augusta and Washington is very different from when he served as a representative from 1974 to 1990. Higgins described himself a moderate Republican.

“I would work on bipartisanship. There is no reason for it not to happen; people are drawing lines in the sand. You are elected to represent the people and accomplish something rather than holding a session over until Christmas,” he said.

In 1972, while in his early 20s, Higgins was elected to the Town Council. He served two terms on the council and set his sights on the State House, where he later served eight terms.

Higgins said he is proud of his record in the Legislature, including work to ban billboards from highways and ensuring companies paid excise taxes where vehicles were housed, not where the corporate office is located, which generated significant and ongoing revenue for Scarborough.

Higgins said there are many issues that deserve attention, but he hears from people most about the lack of progress in Augusta and Washington. “Everybody is so partisan. They have picked a side and nobody wants to compromise,” he said.

He said with citizen’s initiatives and referendums, there needs to be information on how policy through that mechanism will be funded. He said the issues voted in by referendum should have been addressed by the Legislature, which missed an opportunity to implement the law the right way.

Higgins’ campaign is privately financed and he has raised $3,015, according to the Maine Ethics Commission.

Caiazzo, 48, has served locally on the Board of Education and as a town councilor. Now he’s prepared to take a second crack at serving at the next level after falling short of ousting Sirocki, who was an incumbent in 2016.

Caiazzo said he is fiscally conservative and he does not take the Democratic Party’s platform as gospel, adding he can be independent when reviewing proposals.

While on local boards, Caiazzo served on the finance committees, where he said he garnered a good understanding of the budgeting process and the challenges that face Scarborough, both budgetary and social.

Caiazzo says his priorities are varied. “There are so many issues to focus on, a whole litany of things – opioid addiction, education, health care – it all affects the town and the state,” he said.

State funding of education at 55 percent is attainable, he said, but he said he is not in favor of a targeted tax to reach 55 percent, as he feels a fair tax code must be constructed for everybody and not target specific groups.

Caiazzo praised the Scarborough Police Department’s Operation HOPE addiction outreach program, but said tackling the issue is not the function of local law enforcement. He said education, treatment and better restrictions on prescribing habits are all needed to more effectively address the epidemic.

With Scarborough being one of the oldest communities in Maine, Caiazzo said he struggles with the economics of denying Medicaid expansion in the state. He said people who go without insurance or care are more of a burden in the long run, and said the savings warrants the investment in the program’s expansion.

Caiazzo has qualified as a clean elections candidate and had raised $6,235 as of Sept. 12, according to state campaign finance information.

Juliette Laaka can be contacted at 781-3661 ext. 106 or at:

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