James R. Bourque believes the Maine Legislature needs more people with “a business perspective.” Ann E. Peoples wants to return to the State House to wrap up some unfinished business, mainly dealing with transportation.

Both are running for the open House District 35 seat, which represents most of Westbrook.

It had been held for the last two terms by Dillon Bates, who resigned in August after being accused of inappropriate relationships with students while a teacher at Maine Girls’ Academy.

Both Peoples, a Democrat, and Bourque, a Republican, were unopposed in their parties’ primaries.

Peoples previously served in the Legislature for four terms from 2008 to 2014 before she won a seat on the Westbrook City Council. She said that if she returns to the Legislature, she wants to pick up where she left off on infrastructure issues while also “taking care of people when they can’t take care of themselves.” “There are all kinds of things to grow the economy and make the state more attractive,” Peoples said, including maintaining roads, bridges and port facilities, beefing up mass transit and expanding high-speed internet service throughout the state.

Peoples also said that, with support from the state, Maine “could be a real powerhouse” in new technology, such as biomanufacturing and other high-tech businesses. The state should also support proposals to invest in research and development of new products that might come from the state’s forest products industries, she said.

“There’s so much to do and I’m really excited to get back and work and see us making progress,” she said.

Bourque, who ran unsuccessfully against Bates two years ago, said he wants to provide a business perspective on legislation, but he also hopes to provide a moderate voice in the State House. He was vice president of human resources at Nappi Distributors before retiring.

Bourque said Maine should cut its tax rates to attract more people to the state and he wants to make sure efforts to fight the epidemic of opioid addiction are supported.

Too much of the state’s agenda is being addressed through referendums, Bourque said, and he wants to see changes in how signatures are collected to put issues on the ballot. He said often the required number of signatures are gathered in more heavily populated southern Maine, and a change to require more geographic balance might make sense.

“The goal is equal representation,” he said, adding that legislation adopted by lawmakers faces a more thorough vetting and public review process than referendum questions.

Bourque also favors a work requirement for those receiving welfare benefits, and wants to explore proposals to encourage college graduates to stay in Maine after they receive their diplomas.

“We’re the oldest state in the nation and we’re losing folks,” he said.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]