WELLS — Democrat Daniel Hobbs will meet Republican John William Howarth in the Nov. 6 election for the right to represent Maine House District 7 encompassing most of Wells.

The position is being vacated by Republican Robert Foley of Wells, who served two terms representing the district as is now a candidate for Maine Senate in District 34.

Howarth lives in Wells and is retired after a career with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is currently serving as a selectman for the town of Wells. Hobbs also lives in Wells and is retired.  Like Howarth, Hobbs also currently serves as a selectman for the town of Wells.

Daniel Hobbs

Candidates were asked if they believe that 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.

Howarth said that access to guns is not a factor in school gun violence.

“No. First of all I have supported NRA all my life and will continue to support the the Second Amendment which is found in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Howarth said. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  This summer I acquired my first rifle in over 40 years and even with Federal Clearance from the Department of Veterans Affairs process, it still took a week for my paperwork to clear and my rifle issued.”

He said he feels the state of mind of the perpetrator is the key component in school gun violence.

“As well as mass shootings, I feel once the ability to control emotion is lost it triggers the obsession and will fester until a process is determined,” Howarth said. “Whether the component be knife, gun, automobile or bomb. I feel once a mind is broken it will determine the component. As a selectmen in Wells we partnered with the School Department and Police in both Wells and Ogunquit. We asked the Town through town meeting to approve additional funding for  trained school resource officers to work in all three of the schools The additional officers have received training, additional cameras installed and all doors locked with sally ports. The schools participate in active shooting drills.”

Hobbs said he does believe access to guns is a factor is school gun violence.

John William Howarth

“Yes. I voted, along with the Wells Board of Selectmen, to authorize an additional Resource Officer following the recommendations of the Wells/Ogunquit Consolidated School System Board. We now have a total of three officers at the high school, junior high/middle school and the elementary school. Rather than using a blanket policy throughout the state, it is best to work closely with, and to provide assistance to, the school boards, the teachers and the Resource Officers to meet the unique needs of our communities and students.”

According to Hobbs, rising health care costs and its impact upon the state is a complex problem to resolve.

“This is a difficult issue the continues to cause hardship for many Maine families,” he said. I would work with any legislator or committee to further explore the costs and benefits of a single-payer system here in Maine.”

Howarth said he worked in a hospital for 35 years and saw first-hand many issues which drive up the cost of healthcare.

“Yearly we had to track and trend services to prepare for rising costs without reducing services. I would support legislation which helps Maine opening up borders allowing health care insurance companies to provide services in all states,” Howarth said. “I would support programs that identify fraudulent health claims, I would also support programs that help Mainers find the best service at the best hospitals with the best price.”

Howarth said he is deeply concerned about the effort to lure high-paying jobs to Maine and retain younger workers to fill positions here in the state.

“I have read reports and they worry me, Once elected, I would support legislation which reduces the cost of post-graduate work in the state of Maine,” he said. “Too many young folks have spoken to me about going out of state for education meeting folks and developing relationships in communities outside of Maine. If we could develop programs which entice them to train here, accept scholarships here in state and draw new student Social Security numbers to Maine, we may provide a opportunity to start bring numbers. We need to work with our little towns to offer tax incentives to draw quality job opportunities. I do see great companies starting to develop in Southern Maine and when elected I will be happy to serve on and promote these programs.”

Hobbs said bringing great jobs to Maine and keeping younger workers here is a two-part question with a two-part answer.

“First, to entice companies to come to Maine, we should look seriously at meaningful tax incentives,” he said. “This should include attractive agreements for companies to come and stay in Maine. “Second, our younger citizens need affordability and access to our universities and community colleges to prepare themselves for jobs here in the state of Maine. We can assist our students by re-introducing LD-1834 to provide for student loan debt relief.”

Howarth said that he’s the right choice to serve as state representative because he is deeply invested in the town of Wells.

“I have been active in community programs  for over 30 years. As a selectmen I, was co-negotiator for all four of the Town Municipal Contracts,” Howarth said. “I have experience with the School System, Fire Department, Emergency Management, Parks and Recreation and  the Harbor Committee.”

Hobbs said voters should choose him to become the next state representative for a number of reasons.

“My focuses have been the issues of the environment and education,” he said. Wells has the second-largest marsh system in the state behind Scarborough. Protecting the ocean, the marshes and the eco-system behind the marshes is very important toi the town of Wells, its tourism and working harbor. We also have the privilege of York County Community College. I will work for and support issues that assist community colleges, universities and most importantly, our students.”

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

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