Poppy Arford Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Poppy Arford has done everything she can “outside of a legislative solution” to try to improve the health care system for Mainers, and now she plans to take it to the next step, with a bid for the Maine House of Representatives District 49.    

The seat is being vacated by long time Rep. Mattie Daughtry, who is being termed out of the house and is running for state senate. 

Kathy Wilson, an at-large Brunswick Town Councilor announced her Democratic campaign for District 49 last month and Fred Horch, a local business owner, will run as a Green Independent.

Arford, a Brunswick resident for 35 years, said she has a “deep and abiding passion for people,” and is dedicated to “working in whatever ways I can to promote health and well-being for … not just my friends and family, but also my community.” 

To Arford, in order for a community to achieve health and well-being, members first need to be able to access health care. For that to happen, it needs to be affordable, she said, something she has been working toward for more than a decade. 

In 2008, her husband was diagnosed with early stage colon cancer, and he developed a serious blood clot during a procedure, landing him in the hospital for more than a month. 

Arford’s family had good insurance and she knew that no matter what happened, they would be ok, but it struck her “like a lightning bolt” that other families dealing with illness or injuries had to place their financial well-being on the line to get treatment. 

“That’s not OK,” she said. “The money is there, it’s just a matter of how we’re allocating it.” 

After that, “my passion became affordability,” she said. 

Aford has worked as a substance abuse counselor, program director for the SHAREcenter in Auburn and was even a Brunswick Town Councilor from 1988 to 1991, but since 2009 she has worked as a patient advocate, advisor and leader.

She has worked representing patients and healthcare consumers through Right Care Alliance, MaineHealth Data Organization, the New England Patient and Family Advisory Council and Quality Counts, a regional health improvement company now merged with national healthcare consultants Qualidigm. She was also a founding member of Maine AllCare, an organization supporting the establishment of publicly funded healthcare coverage. She is currently a mediator with the Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Program. 

“I think we … are poised to do significant things in Augusta to help affordable health care,” Arford said, adding that both the delivery and payment systems need to be changed. “I want to be a part of that.”

Health care isn’t her only concern. 

Arford said she cares about “safe, thriving communities,” and that includes all aspects of health, from the environment and education, to access to housing, food and transportation.

Between now and the June primary, she plans to go door to door in town, “to see Brunswick through the eyes of the people in District 49.” 

“I see myself as having had the training and experience, and I’m willing to do the hard work (to) improve the lives of Mainers,” she said.

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