KENNEBUNK — Incumbent Democrat Christopher W. Babbidge will be challenged for the Maine House District 8 seat on Nov. 6 by Republican Bradley S. Ducharme in a repeat of the 2016 election.

House District 8 represents part of Kennebunk.

Christopher Babbidge

Babbidge is a retired teacher and trolley guide who has served as an advisor to the annual Youth in Government Model State Legislature for 36 years. He is a member of the Kennebunk Comprehensive Plan Committee, the Kennebunk Charter Commission and was a state representative from 2004 to 2008 and was elected again in 2014 and 2016. In Augusta, Babbidge serves on the Energy, Utilities & Technology, Environment & Natural Resources, State & Local Government, Judiciary and the Right to Know Advisory Committees.

Ducharme lives in Kennebunk and is the owner/operator of Shorelands Guest Resort. He also is the chief engineer, United States Merchant Marines with Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and is an elected trustee for Kennebunk Light and Power.

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

“The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not in jeopardy, even with common sense gun laws that protect society. People who are determined to hurt others, for whatever reason or in whatever state of mind, will do so with what is easiest and most lethal,” Babbidge said. “Guns are readily available and are used in the killings of 12,000 Americans annually, (and in the suicides of 21,000 more).  Consequences are too great not to make practical regulations to protect the community. But we should use common sense. I believe we took a step backward to reduce restrictions for concealed carry. I believe large magazines are unnecessary for target practice and hunting, the sportsman’s activities for which I support the Second Amendment. And, above all, I believe in background checks to purchase a firearm, all purchases. The slight inconvenience of these actions will save lives.”

Ducharme said  that he does not believe that access to guns is a key component in school gun violence incidents and mass shootings.

Bradley Ducharme

Regarding how to best deal with rising health care costs and how it affects Maine, Babbidge said that everyone in Maine should have a doctor.

“Yes, emergency rooms can no longer refuse patients by ability to pay, but medical costs can bring hardworking families to their financial knees. Too many Mainers avoid care until the problem is acute. The ultimate solution will happen through national legislation,” Babbidge said. “Dismantling the ACA is a mistake. Our state actions must be measured. Implementing Medicaid expansion, like more than 30 red and blue states across the nation have done for their residents, is essential. Using technology to facilitate care between urban and rural hospitals is important, and maintaining regional health care access is not only essential for long-time Mainers, but important to the young families and retirees we want to attract to every part of our state.”

According to Ducharme, Maine’s population is growing older and he said this will affect our health institutions and taxes greatly in the future.

“The Legislature needs to pass bills to keep health care cost down. To pay for these increasing costs, Maine should start taxing each bottle of water exporting from Maine,” Ducharme said. “Water is one of Maine’s greatest natural resource’s  just like oil is to Alaska. The taxed money could be used to fund the health care costs in our state.”

Babbidge said the solution to luring high paying jobs to Maine and retaining younger workers to work here is can be found right in front of us.

“Maine already has incredible natural beauty that wows our visitors. But those who consider living here are also looking for quality education, quality health care, good-paying jobs, and a vibrant social community. To that effect, we must adequately fund K-12 education and higher education, a lifelong feeder system to our business community,” he said. “We can provide financial incentives, with accountability, for expansion in industries that promise growth and have societal benefits, including renewable energy and biotech. We can plan for aging Mainers to remain active contributors through smart housing and transportation planning. We can attract young professionals by alleviating their educational debt in return for a residency commitment in areas of need. And we can provide help to entrepreneurs willing to invest in Maine’s future.”

Ducharme said education is paramount to resolving this problem.

“Education and training is the key, by educating our younger workers in robotic technology and giving them the skills to operate, maintain, and repair automation used in manufacturing,” he said. “This will lure manufacturing back to Maine because of our youthful skilled and hard working labor.  Robots do not repair robots. This will also keep our children and grandchildren in Maine.”

Babbidge said that his experience and ability to work with others makes him the right choice for voters in the election.

“I believe I have the attitude, knowledge and common sense to collaborate effectively and make informed decisions. I think years in the classroom in Kennebunk have helped me to ask the right questions at the right time in Augusta,” Babbidge said. “I have been an active voice in committee, in caucus, and on the floor of the House. The 129th Legislature will have many new faces working with a new governor, and I hope my experience will help us all to achieve good government.”

He said he understands that all Mainers, young and old, rich and poor, have worries and concerns, and want the best for their loved ones.

“As representative, I work to do what is responsible to make their lives better,” Babbidge said. “I love Kennebunk, its people, and this wonderful state of Maine, and I will work for a better future for all Mainers.”

Ducharme said he grasps what drives Maine and his approach to serving as a legislator will guide him well if voters elect him to represent their interests in Augusta

“As a native (ancestors since 1690), I understand what makes our state economy work, a vibrant tourist economy, good jobs, good roads, and low taxes,” he said. “As a small business owner of a local resort, I understand the troubles that business owners face across Kennebunk and across Maine. As your legislator, I will bring pro-business and pro-jobs legislation to Augusta that will help our local economies and Kennebunk families. My experience as a world traveling chief engineer, hospitality businessman, trustee of a local municipality (KLPD), father, grandfather, and great-grandfather have well prepared me to fight for the Kennebunks community in Augusta.”

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 or by email at [email protected]

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