In his fourth campaign for elected office, Paul “Benjamin” Schulz is again challenging state Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, in House District 48.

Gideon, 46, previously served on Freeport’s Town Council, is serving her third term in the district that represents Freeport and part of Pownal, and recently completed her first term as speaker of the House.

Schulz, a 48-year-old computer analyst, was the Republican candidate in the district in 2014 and 2016, and also ran unsuccessfully for the Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors this year.

Gideon is running for a fourth term, which would be her last because of term limits.

Gideon said her priority is “making sure the state is meeting its obligation and encouraging communities to meet their obligations,” in part by improving the state’s aid to education and revenue sharing.

She’d also like to continue promoting economic development and viability in the state, especially for small businesses. This includes infrastructure advances, such as reliable access to high-speed internet.

She said another top priority is helping municipalities combat the browntail moth epidemic in a “uniform and effective way.”

Gideon said increased access to naloxone for those struggling with opioid addiction has saved lives, but that more needs to be done to offer ongoing support and treatment, as well as education around the epidemic.

She is in favor of Medicaid expansion, which was approved by voters but has been stalled by the LePage administration. “We will finish this job and get it done, but it’s incredibly sad and frustrating that we are still even discussing it,” Gideon said.

Schulz said he’s running to represent the “40 percent of voters (who) don’t fall within the majority party (Democrats).”

Schulz’s top priority, he said, is “individual freedom” and the “right for people to choose for themselves.”

He said the state is spending money “frivolously” and taxing so “atrocious(ly)” that residents are forced to move out of the state. He also said the state imposes unnecessary regulations and “barriers” that make it hard to start and own a business, which, in turn, has a negative impact on the state’s economic viability.

In terms of the opioid crisis, Schulz said it should be up to the individual in crisis to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” and take advantage of the programs and resources already in place, rather than the Legislature implementing any more.

He did, however, say schools should start teaching students at a younger age “right from wrong,” referring to the negative impacts of drug use.

Schulz said he is not in favor of the Medicaid expansion because it will “bankrupt Maine.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 183 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: JocelynVanSaun

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