Two Old Orchard Beach residents are competing to replace retiring Democratic Rep. George Hogan in the Maine House District 13 seat.

Lori Gramlich

Newcomer Lori Gramlich is running on the Democratic side, while former Republican state Rep. Sharri MacDonald is looking to regain the seat that she lost to Hogan four years ago.

Gramlich served on the Portland School Committee from 2005 to 2008 and was also the special assistant and communications director for former Maine Senate President Beverly Daggett. She owns Rise Up Cafe in Old Orchard Beach, and also works as executive director of the Maine chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and is an adjunct professor of social work at the University of Southern Maine.

Sharri MacDonald

Gramlich pushed for the expansion of Medicaid, which Gov. Paul LePage has blocked, and said the state needs to do more to reduce health care and prescription costs.

Gramlich said young Mainers should be urged to consider trades as well as traditional four-year institutions as a way to connect them with jobs and keep them in Maine.

“Programs that encourage training and entrepreneurship could not only save money for our young people, it would also give them access to marketable skills at a younger age,” she said.

Tax incentives could also be a factor in keeping Maine’s young people home, according to Gramlich.

MacDonald served one term in the State House and was an Old Orchard Beach town councilor for eight years before that. She owns and operates MacDonald’s Garage in downtown Old Orchard Beach.

MacDonald said she understands the need to fix the current health care system, but that there is no quick remedy. She said one approach could be to allow insurance to be sold across state lines. “I would love to dive into this debate and try to work and find a solution,” she said.

MacDonald says the state should start pushing students to consider trades.

“Maine is loaded with positions for high-tech machinists, welders and other trades. These are good-paying jobs with fantastic benefits that can make great wages for young families,” MacDonald said. “Perhaps we can keep some of our younger workers here if we start to show them the value of these types of trades.”

The former state representative also believes the state should invest in its community colleges.

Pat McDonald can be contacted at 780-9017 or at:

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