YARMOUTH — Republican Anne Fleming and Democrat Art Bell are vying this fall for the state House District 47 seat occupied by Rep. Janice Cooper, who is termed out after eight years in Augusta.

Both candidates for the seat – which includes Yarmouth, Chebeague Island and Long Island – discussed Maine’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as other issues they would like to tackle if elected. Election Day is Nov. 3.

Arthur “Art” Bell

Bell said he is “100% on board” with Governor Janet Mills’ science-based response to COVID-19, “and not allowing the economic forces to sway her and keep her from maintaining the safety of the public.”

But noting the “rough shape” of the economy, Bell expressed support for the state’s economic recovery plan, the hiring freeze put in place and delayed technological upgrades. He pointed out that Mills is “making spending cuts to offset the revenue losses due to the pandemic” and calling for each department to come up with spending reductions of 10%, but is not making deep program cuts or laying off state employees.

Climate change is another key concern for Bell.

“We have not been good stewards of the Earth and we need to do a better job,” he said.

“We’ve done an okay job over the last 50 years,” since the first Earth Day, Bell added. “We’ve cleaned up the water, we’ve cleaned up the air, but we haven’t done enough. … There’s more work to do, and I’m ready to do that work.”

Anne Fleming

The state must support its small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, said Fleming, who hails from a small business family. She calls herself “a very moderate person” and noted that “lawmakers are going to have to work together to provide the support to all the hardworking Mainers as we move toward recovery.”

Education is another area of great importance to Fleming.

“I would plan to bring my local expertise, of my years and experience on the School Committee here, to the state level,” she said.

She said she wants to “continue to make sure that the state funding is available for local communities that rely on that for their schools.”

Fleming supports tax reform, adding that “I believe in responsible government spending of public funds. We live in a world of unlimited wants and needs, and limited resources, and I do feel (that) responsible budgeting of those resources is the most effective way for … all government to provide the most efficient and successful services for the community.”

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