Incumbent Republican State Sen. David Woodsome of Waterboro is challenged by Sanford City Councilor and former state legislator, Democrat John Tuttle, to represent Senate District 33, which includes the towns Cornish, Limerick, Newfield, Parsonsfield, and Shapleigh, and Waterboro, and the city of Sanford.

It is the second match-up for the pair; the first was in 2014, where Woodsome emerged the victor in his first run for state office by about 2,700 votes. Both candidates carried their hometowns in that race, but Woodsome took the rest.

David Woodsome

Woodsome, a retired school teacher and former Waterboro selectman, is seeking his third  term in the Maine Senate, where he chairs the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.

Tuttle is a retired emergency medical technician who served 28 years in the Maine Legislature, chairing Labor, Veterans and Legal Affairs and Marine Resources committees during his tenure.

Both candidates were asked if they believed access to guns is a key component in school gun violence incidents and mass shootings and if so, what should be done about it in Maine.

“Our culture has become so adversarial, and we have become nasty with each other, refusing to find common ground,” Woodsome said. “This culture perpetuates anger, aggression and isolation, which I believe play a central role in school shootings and other violence. In short, we need a national and individual attitude adjustment.”

Woodsome said owners have a moral responsibility to ensure their guns are inaccessible to children and believes anyone in a gun-owning household  should receive safety training to learn what responsibility gun ownership entails.

“A ban on new sales might make some feel better, but it won’t stop school shootings,” he said.

He said bullying, lack of positive parental involvement, and limited access to quality mental health care options are taking a “terrible toll” on children. Mainers need to parent their children, he said, mentor them, and said families and schools must have access to mental health services.

“And because all of this takes time, and won’t prevent every instance of violence, I’m also willing to look at additional resource officers and metal detectors in schools,” said Woodsome.

John Tuttle

“Yes, I do believe access plays a role in school gun violence,” said Tuttle. “However, I was a member of the National Rifle Association for many years. I am a lifelong sportsman and hunter who strongly believes in the second amendment. Having served in the military, I am aware of the destructive capacity of high-powered weapons. As a result, I feel that it is time for common sense legislation on gun violence to promote safety in our schools, Maine and America.”

Candidates talked about how they propose that Maine address rising health care costs and how those costs affect the state.

“Having been an EMT for 42 years, I have come to recognize the importance of good health for all Mainers,” said Tuttle. “ I would begin by proposing that Maine expand its Medicaid program, which the voters have approved twice. Without the Medicaid expansion Maine hospitals will suffer greatly, especially in rural areas. The expansion will also help keep stability for workers in the health care industry. Maine is facing a shortage now of nurses, we need to fill those jobs.”

“I supported Medicare expansion in Maine and believe it is an important factor in ensuring folks are insured and getting adequate preventative care to help contain costs, “ Woodsome said, adding that Maine needs to be more proactive, rather than relying solely on the federal government for answers. He said Maine needs to look at community nursing and ways to keep seniors in their homes, and independent. Maine needs health care advocates to to help seniors and others navigate the extremely complex health care system, Woodsome added. He said that many seniors have shared with him the confusion and frustration they felt in trying to get  treatment and billing issues properly addressed.

Candidates were asked their plan to lure high paying jobs to Maine and retain younger workers.

“We have an excess of lower-wage, lower-skilled jobs and not enough citizens,” said Woodsome. “We have high-skilled, high-wage jobs that go unfulfilled because our workers lack the technical skills to fill them, making it hard to sustain a business in Maine.”

“I believe trade and technology education is central to building a skilled workforce, which we need to attract new businesses, entrepreneurs and jobs to Maine,” Woodsome continued.  “I have pushed for vocational-technical classes in all schools, not just the regional voc-tech centers. This concept was supported half-heartedly in the Legislature this session, resulting in a watered-down bill. However, I will continue to push for comprehensive voc-tech and life-skills classes in every school in Maine.”

“I call on the next administration to establish a conference of local, state and national leaders to create an ongoing action plan with regards to economics, business, industry and education,” to develop a long term approach, Woodsome said. “And, as with generations before, immigrants have an important role to play and bring to Maine a diversity of skills and experiences from which we can benefit.”

“Having been a Sanford city councilor for the last few years, I have worked to promote high-speed internet for the municipality of Sanford in hopes of attracting new industries to the area,” said Tuttle, pointing out that approach could be expanded to all of Senate District 33.

“Sanford is in the process of building one of the largest solar arrays in the country which will create millions of dollars in new revenue and 200-plus new jobs,” said Tuttle. “ I believe that we can go to every town in Senate District 33 and find something that is unique to that community for the purpose of economic development and job growth for that town. We need to increase our efforts to assist the family farm so that young people can come back and continue farming as their families have done for generations. At one time, Maine was the bread basket of the country, I feel that we can become that again with proper leadership.”

We asked candidates what they believe makes them the right choice for voters on Election Day, Nov. 6.

“My greatest assets are common sense and my ability to work with people from all political backgrounds,” said Woodsome. “While in the Senate, I have made significant gains for bipartisanship by reaching across the aisle to work on issues, not politics.

“I have earned the support of diverse groups across the political spectrum, including veterans, environmental groups for my work on solar energy, community health care , community banking and outdoors men and women,” Woodsome continued. “And, I have posted a 100 percent voting record during all four years of my service in the Senate. This means I have been present at each and every vote, doing my very best to represent the people of District 33.”

“I feel that I am the right choice because I have a history of proven leadership and achievement,” said Tuttle. “Some examples include sponsoring legislation to create the Southern Maine Veteran’s Cemetery in Springvale as well as legislation to recognize Maine Army National Guard members who were exposed to Agent Orange. I worked to rewrite the state liquor contract to repay hospitals as the former Chair of Veterans and Legal Affairs. I have a proven ability to bring bipartisan leadership to the Senate as indicated by my chairing of the Labor Committee, which produced over 100 unanimous votes  I feel that my proven record, my enthusiasm for public service and my drive to help the people of Senate District 33 make me the right choice for this election.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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