BRUNSWICK — Democrat Poppy Arford and Green Independent Fred Horch are vying for voters for the House 49 seat, currently held by Matthea Daughtry, who is in turn running for a state Senate seat.

Both candidates for the Brunswick seat look at recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and universal health care statewide as priorities if elected come Nov. 3.

Poppy Arford

Arford said that she supports Gov. Janet Mill’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus, but continued work is needed to make testing free and viable for “every Mainer.”

“I want to make sure our public health system remains based in science (not) on economics,” Arford said. “The good news is the state economically was in a good place heading in, so I want to continue that with strong budgeting.”

Arford said continued support of economic relief programs are important for those choosing between “doctors visits and putting food on the table,” and will support programs helping people financially affected by the pandemic.

Arford, who’s husband went through aggressive cancer treatments, also is “too aware,” of the hardships families go through financially when dealing with life-threatening illnesses, and because of that, she, as well as her opponent, are in support of universal health care in the state.

“I am looking at universal, publicly funded health care in Maine, ” she said. “I am willing to cooperate and work with anyone, so if there are other ideas I am certainly all ears, but this seems like the best shot.”

“As a patient, leader, advocate there are no half measures here,” Arford said. “We have to get the job done by passing universal healthcare coverage for everyone in the state, and having it be publicly funded is the way.”

Fred Horch

Horch also supports universal health coverage in the state.

“It’s incredibly important, with this pandemic, that we recover,” Horch said “People will need insurance and we need an insurance pool that covers everyone. The healthcare system its needlessly wasteful, we waste time and money, people are nervous because if they lose their job they lose insurance, we need to bring sanity to our insurance.”

Horch hopes to advocate for public education if elected by fighting for more funding from the state.

“We had a referendum where we wanted to split funding for schools state and locally at 55 to 45 percent, and legislature never got around to doing it,” Horch said. “I will make sure we prioritize education and making sure to set priorities in our budgets.”

Horch hopes that his independence from a political party will allow him to build partnerships across partisan aisles while maintaining the Green title lets voters know his focus aligns with most Green Party efforts.

“I am also a small business owner, and  I think, what do we need to do? I want a stronger and more sustainable economy while protecting our environment. My other focus is economic and sustainable growth,” he said.

“We need to get away from burning fossil fuel, it is making us weak and polluting our air,” Horch said. “I support solar panel programs and other things, there is a way to become more sustainable and there is a role for state government to help make that happen.”

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