GRAY — Seven-time incumbent Sue Austin, a Republican, is facing challengers Democrat Susan Accardi and Independent Mark Grover in the race for House District 67 on Nov. 3.

District 67 includes Frye Island and parts of Casco, Gray and Raymond.

All three candidates are traditionally funded through individual contributions and political action committees.

If reelected, Austin will serve in her eighth, non-consecutive term in the House.

Accardi

In her first run for the Legislature, Accardi said her focus if elected is to “get us through this crisis right now” and to “continue to rebuild the infrastructure that was destroyed in the last eight years.”

Accardi said she will work with Republicans to help her community recover and ensure that federal aid “goes to the right places to help out the people that need it.”

She added that she believes the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is doing a “phenomenal job” and she looks forward to continuing their efforts, as well as those of the local “medical communities.”

Locally, Accardi said she is most concerned with the RSU 14 withdrawal effort.

“It would not be good for the town at all … It’ll impact our community in terms of taxes. The whole conversation is tearing the community apart,” she said.

Austin

If reelected, Austin is prepared to return to a “tremendously challenging financial forecast” that will affect Mainers over the next couple of years.

“That will be a tremendous challenge to allocate, make priorities and those priorities are different with each individual person I’m representing,” Austin said in an interview last week.

She said she has been working with individual constituents since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to connect them to resources, particularly in the Department of Labor. One of the biggest challenges, Austin said, is determining the state of the state because “we’ve been so isolated.”

Prior to the 2013 House District reapportionment, Austin served as the legislator from District 109, which included parts of Gray, Pownal and North Yarmouth.

The only election Austin has lost in her nearly 20 years in the House was in 2012 to Democratic incumbent Anne Graham in the District 109 race.

Austin did not run for the House seat in 2010.

“My goal is to always be the best conduit (for constituents),” Austin said of her time working in different districts. “(It’s) really about the people of Maine, to give them my time, attention, information … that, over individual bills are the biggest priority.”

Grover

In his first run in the House, Grover said that as an Independent and a moderate, he believes he can serve as a “mediator.”

“I don’t owe anything to any political party or platform or leaders, so I can stay away from the emotions,” Grover said.

Grover previously served as the Cumberland County commissioner for District 3 from 2013-2014. He was defeated by Republican Stephen Gorden in the 2011 race.

In addition to maintaining “science-based decision making” related to COVID-19, Grover said in an interview last week that he hopes to continue offering loans and grants “to those most affected.”

The pandemic has also caused budget shortfalls and “as a fiscal conservative, I want to put everything on the table” when looking at where to decrease spending.

“During all of this we need to keep aware of the most vulnerable Mainers affected by this pandemic,” he added.

Besides tackling the budget, Grover said that the educational system, which he called the “basis for our future economy,” is of vital importance.

“I believe that educational institutions should shift emphasis to increase their capacity to produce teachers and workers (for) … health care, science, engineering and math – in other words, the future jobs of Maine,” he said.

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