Three Democratic candidates are running for State Senate District 29, which encompasses South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and a part of Scarborough: Sari Greene, Eben Rose and Anne Carney.

The primary election is on July 14, but many residents are voting via absentee ballots this year.

Eben Rose Courtesy photo of Eben Rose

A resident of South Portland, Eben Rose served on the city council between 2015 and 2018, he said. He is a climate activist and geologist.

Rose’s three biggest issues are climate justice, the economy and healthcare, he said. During his time as a city councilor, Rose influenced the rejection of a propane terminal project in Rigby Yard and advocated for increased insurance for the cleanup of contaminated industrial sites for petroleum tank farms with a closure requirement after 10 years of being idle.

For the issue of climate justice, Rose is specifically focused on environmental and ecological degradation, he said.

“I don’t think most people have any sense of the scale and reach for this problem,” he said. “It will change everything we hold dear, everything that has been shaken by this pandemic. This sense of normalcy will not last long after this pandemic. We have 30 years or less where we will reach some sort of tipping point. We have to think about that world of 30 years from now and it has to be very different. We will either plan for that world and make changes or it will just happen.”

Where the economy is concerned, Rose believes that the way society thinks about the word economy needs to change, he said.

“The economy should be built to work for us,” he said. “It is a human invention and we decide what we want to emphasize. So far I see dialogues where it is unquestioned as to what it is. Growth by GDP is strongly tilted toward consumption. As long as we have GDP as our measure of economic success, we’re going to lose.”

A governing state needs to have moral priorities in order to grow, Rose said.

“All of these little expectations and our scope for what world we need to create are going to be hand strung at the beginning by those expectation,” he said. “Until we open that up and educating ourselves about economics and what it means we wont get ahead of the problem.”

Rose said that he is a firm believer that public healthcare is a human right and is inflexible. If elected, he would propose a bill that would force healthcare providers to include what the medicare cost of a charge, so patients could see the prospective medicare payment.

“Where it might not be feasible to propose a program with an expenditure, one thing the legislature can do that doesn’t involve money is that legislature has a right to regulate billing practices,” he said.

These kinds of bills would be like “stepping stones across a raging river,” which would help the public navigate through issues like affordable healthcare, Rose said.

“These stones will set us up to do the next thing,” he said. “For example, having a bill that lists the items — it may get people saying, ‘Oh, this bill is $700, but if it were medicare, it would be $150.’ That won’t cost the state anything. It won’t be dead on arrival for budget costs. It will show the immorality of medical billing. It’s track-able and sets us up for the next thing.”

A Clean Elections candidate, Rose said in an email that he believes taking on the “cult of the CEO” and “its profligate and wasteful consumption preferences” should be a priority.

“I do not owe allegiance to big donors’ pet projects and priorities, and to me what we as legislators don’t attend to is as important as what we do attend to,” he said.

More information about Rose is located at www.ebenrose.com.

 

Rep. Anne Carney Courtesy photo of Anne Carney

Rep. Anne Carney currently serves on the Maine House of Representatives and is on the Labor and Housing Committee. She said that she has lived in Cape Elizabeth for the past 30 years.

With a background in law, Carney was in private practice for 17 years and was a volunteer with Pine Tree Legal Assistance for eight years, she said.

One of Carney’s proudest achievements on the House of Representatives has been the work she said she’s done with a bill she sponsored, “An Act to Protect Pregnant Workers,” LD 666 — to protect pregnant workers and give them accommodation in the workplace.

“I reached out to Republican and Democratic business owners in the senate, and I asked them to co-sponsor the bill,” she said. “A bunch of business owners of both parties sponsored the bill. I loved that support of working parents of the state. There was no opposition when the bill came to house and senate.”

In the future Carney said she would like to amend the employment law so that it is “more effective in preventing and remedying” workplace harassment based on racism.

“I’m going to continue doing the same type of work in the House of Representatives in employee healthcare and protecting the environment,” she said. “It’s challenging now because the situation was so different than when any of the three candidates decided to run for office. We’re dealing with the challenges surrounding the pandemic, racial justice and mitigating climate change. Those are the pressing things we need to work on now.”

Healthcare access for children is also one of Carney’s biggest issues, she said. The way that employer-based health insurance works right now means that if parents lose their jobs, their children lose health insurance.

“I’m looking to extend public health insurance to children and to extend the duration of maternal healthcare,” Carney said. “Those are issues that impact Maine women and children in rural parts of our state. It impacts communities of color and doing that work to improve will help a lot of people with regards to bringing about racial justice and seeing us through the pandemic.”

Carney has been successful in passing two environmental bills that deal with cleaning up fossil fuels and eliminating plastic foam containers, she said. She wants to continue working with others on environmental issues, finding common ground, and making significant progress.

One of her strengths is her experience, Carney said. As a legislator who has been working in the legislative capacity during the pandemic, she understands what the work of the next two years will entail.

“I don’t think it’s a time for someone unfamiliar in place,” she said. “I have been exceptionally successful — I don’t like to brag abut myself, but that’s what my colleagues say. I can deliver for our community in a way that others can’t. And I’ve been doing it in a pandemic.”

Carney’s website is www.anneformaine.com.

Sari Greene Courtesy photo of Sari Greene

 

In 2002, Sari Greene created a now nationally recognized cyber security company and has co-founded a cyber training center that focuses on the workforce.

This is Greene’s first time running for elected office, she said.

A resident of South Portland for the past 25 years, Greene has been involved in community activism and has leadership experience, she said. She can often be found volunteering at the South Portland Food Cupboard.

Greene suspended her campaign when the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Portland, creating a Facebook group called the South Portland Community of Kindness, which she said now has 1,800 members.

The future that everyone is facing will be more different than previously planned for, Greene said.

“We need to re-imagine how our workplaces, schools, healthcare system, government services and our social safety net will operate and what they need to succeed,” she said. “Technology is going to play a significant role. It is going to be critical we have statewide accessible, reliable, and affordable internet access.”

Maine’s two greatest challenges — public health and economic disruption — are intertwined, Greene said.

“As we move through this pandemic, we need to prepare for additional waves and do what we must to save lives,” she said. “At the same time we need to focus on stabilizing and rebuilding our economy. We need to encourage innovation and investment and remove barriers and roadblocks to success.”

Another one of Greene’s top priorities is public education, she said.

“We need to rethink how we deliver public education, be open to change, and make sure that teachers and support staff have the resources that they need,” Greene said. “And we need to offer a variety of pathways to success including traditional public schools, public charter schools, trade apprenticeships and non-traditional programs.”

She serves on the board of directors for the Bangor Savings Bank, Maine’s oldest community bank. She was previously on the board of trustees for the Maine Jewish Museum.

With her business and community leadership experience combined with workforce development, innovation, and technology expertise Greene said she believes she has what it takes to serve District 29.

“We have an opportunity to rebuild our state in ways that will benefit everyone,” she said.

More information about Greene is located at www.sari2020.com.

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