Mark Blier

BUXTON — Democrat Richard Fitzgerald and Republican Mark Blier are vying to become the next state representative for District 22 on Nov. 6 to replace two-term Republican Jonathan Kinney, who did not file to run for re-election in 2018.

District 22 is made up of part of Buxton, part of Limerick, Limington and part of Standish.

Blier lives in Buxton and currently owns a small real estate company. He has been a selectmen for the town of Buxton since 2016 and has served on the Buxton Planning Board for two years, and also was a member of the town’s budget committee for several years. He’s also the chair of Buxton’s comprehensive plan and a trustee of Bonny Eagle Park.

Fitzgerald is a referee and an accountant who has worked on several campaigns in the last 10 years. He ran for the House District 22 seat in 2016 against Kinney and received 43 percent of the vote in that election.

When asked if he believes that access to guns is a key component in school gun violence incidents and mass shootings and what could be done about it in Maine, Fitzgerald shared his thoughts about the topic.

“The Second Amendment is very important, however background checks need to be stronger,” he said.

Blier said that gun violence is disturbing, but can be solved.

“My heart goes out to all the men, women, and children that have been victims to these mass shootings,” Blier said. “In order to properly address this issue it is imperative that we spend the money and resources on the root causes of this issue which is mental health.”

In discussing health care, Fitzgerald said a solution exists right now that could help residents of Maine lower skyrocketing medical costs.

Richard Fitzgerald

“The Maine Allcare plans could provide great relief to this problem as a step forward to universal health care,” he said.

Blier said that there is no easy answer to fixing health care costs, but he’s optimistic something can be done in the future.

“The rise of health care cost(s) is a huge issue here in the state of Maine. I wish there was an easy answer, but it is a complex problem with many moving pieces,” Blier said. “I think people should further educate themselves on their insurance policies to better understand them fully and to look at different avenues. Some options could include higher deductible insurance plans, shopping different pharmacies for lower-cost prescription drugs, and seeking a primary care physician when we do get sick over emergency rooms visits would help to lower the cost of the rising health care costs.”

Blier said Maine can lure high paying jobs to the state and retain younger workers to work here.

“A few ways that Maine can attract higher paying jobs and retain the younger population would be to lower both our taxes and the price of energy,” he said. “Maine is a beautiful place to live. If we can create good jobs where the younger generation can thrive, I do believe they will remain in the state of Maine.”

According to Fitzgerald, his goals for the state economy are two-fold.

“Increase broadband access throughout the state and ensure a top-educated workforce for the modern climate and big business today,” Fitzgerald said.

Blier says lessons he learned growing up in modest surroundings has helped prepare him to serve District 22 as state representative.

Having grown up in Fort Kent with very humble beginnings my parents instilled in me the values of hard work, saving for a rainy day, and never giving up,” he said. “I took these values to southern Maine where I started a small business and faced some of the struggles we continue to face today. Serving as a selectmen for the town of Buxton and several other boards I’ve witnessed some of the challenges that municipalities face. I am a well-rounded individual who brings experience and knowledge to the table which makes me the right choice for the voters in this upcoming election.”

Fitzgerald said his ability to work with others makes him the best choice for District 22 representative.

“I am a referee and an accountant,” he said. “As a referee, I deal with players, coaches, and crowds successfully from 7 to 70 without difficulty. As an accountant, I can quickly assess a balance sheet, follow the losses and gains and evaluate possible strategies for future direction. Therefore, I work very well with both finance and people.”

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

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