NEW GLOUCESTER — Democrat Misty Coolidge is challenging incumbent Republican Amy Arata for the second time for the House District 65 seat.

In 2018, Arata won 54% of the vote to defeat Coolidge in the race to represent New Gloucester and part of Poland in the state House of Representatives.

Both candidates are publicly funded under the Maine Clean Election Act.

Arata

Now in her second term, Arata said she knows the government is going to have to prioritize budget items “in some way that doesn’t impact my constituents’ lives.”

“I will not advocate any cuts to the social safety net that protects our most vulnerable people. I will not advocate any health cuts, especially as (it’s) related to COVID-19; people just can’t afford it. I cannot advocate any cuts to foster care,” Arata said in an interview last week.

The “lack of goals in the administration” has made the work of recovering from COVID-19 even more difficult, she said.

With her background as a scientist, she said, she brings a “moderate point of view to this conversation.”

“I can see both side of the issue and I can help bring people together,” she said.

Arata said she has a strong record of working across the aisle.

“(I am) trying to get a reputation as someone who is reasonable and will work across the aisle to do whatever is best to help my constituents. It’s about helping people, not the part or ambition or me.”

Coolidge

Coolidge said her biggest concern when it comes to COVID-19 is access to testing. Testing shouldn’t be limited to only those who are showing symptoms, she said. As the owner of a wedding venue in New Gloucester, she said that in addition to following CDC protocols she gets tested after each event to be extra careful.

“People should have easy access to testing should they want (it). People want to protect their families,” Coolidge said in an interview this week.

As a small business owner, Coolidge said she also understands the burden that high federal taxes places on individuals.

“I pay a lot of taxes and I don’t think it helps our bottom line as small business owners in Maine. Something should be done to keep more of our money than paying Uncle Sam.”

She’s also passionate about fighting food insecurity and the opioid crisis in Maine.

With so many Mainers out of work due to COVID-19, food insecurity in Maine has skyrocketed, she said.

“People shouldn’t have to choose between paying their oil bill and putting food on the table,” said Coolidge, who regularly volunteers at the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn.

Coolidge said her first-hand experience witnessing her ex-husband battle an opioid use disorder showed her the need for affordable treatment options.

“We needed help and we couldn’t afford help for him,” she said.

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