Two experienced politicians are running for Maine’s Senate District 34 seat, which includes Acton, Kennebunk, Lebanon, North Berwick, Wells and part of Berwick.

Robert Foley

The seat is now held by Republican Ronald Collins of Wells, who cannot run because of term limits.

Republican Robert Foley of Wells, an insurance salesman and former Wells selectman who is serving his second term as a state representative, is running against Democrat Thomas J. Wright of Berwick, a retired construction worker who served two terms in the state House and is serving his seventh year on the Berwick Board of Selectmen.

While both candidates believe more should be done to prevent gun violence, they each have different approaches to deal with the problem.

Thomas Wright

“I do not believe that access to guns is the key component to gun violence,” Foley said. “I believe that mental health issues are at the root cause of these terrible incidents. We need to do more to require reporting of individuals who exhibit these mental health issues. We need to require treatment and limit those individuals from acquiring or possessing guns until cleared by a mental health professional.”

“Gun violence is a growing problem and what we have now has not been working,” Wright said. “I am a gun owner and realize the enormous responsibility that comes with that right. A full background check is the first place to start. Far too many people can get easy access to guns that should not have them. Proper training in fire arm use and care should be required.”

The rising health care cost of health care is an issue that affects most Mainers.

Wright said the state should follow the will of Maine voters and expand Medicaid coverage to 70,000 people, which would bring in millions of dollars for struggling hospitals.

“We also need to make it easier for people to see a primary care doctor for regular check ups and treatments,” he said.

Foley said each state should be allowed to design its own health care system, “including health care coverage for all.” He said the state should contain the costs of pharmaceuticals and unnecessary duplicative testing. “A simplified universal reporting system for all claims and a standardized health insurance policy used by all would eliminate unneeded administrative costs.’

Both candidates said Maine needs to lure high-paying jobs and retain young workers.

“We need to reintroduce technical training courses at the high school and community college level,” Foley said. “Expanding nursing programs within the university and college system needs immediate attention.”

Maine could attract companies, and high paying jobs, in sectors such as wood composites, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, Wright said. “The state also needs to upgrade our infrastructure so businesses can connect to the global market. Internet and communication connections are vital to all businesses but especially the smaller ones in the rural areas.”

Foley is running a traditionally financed campaign and has raised $52,800, according to the latest report posted by the Maine Ethics Commission.

Wright is a publicly financed candidate under the Maine Clean Elections Act and has raised $33,150, according to the ethics commission.

Associate Editor Dina Mendros can be contacted at 780-9014 or at:

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