I hope you all enjoyed part one of this series last week when we tackled four looming questions surrounding the 2020 elections including the importance of making a voting plan, how to use ranked-choice voting and why this is the most important election of our lives (spoiler alert: the answer to the last question is: “Because it’s the next one and they’re all important.”) This week I want to pick up where we left off by telling you how to get to know your local candidates.

Before we begin, since this is a politics discussion, I feel a need to put out the same disclaimer I included in last week’s column which is: Though I don’t think anything below is controversial enough to warrant this disclaimer, that the opinions expressed in this column are my own and are not reflective of the organization I work for.

How to Get to Know Your Candidates
Over the past two weeks we have offered interviews to each State House candidate in our region, filmed 16 of them and distributed them. It was hectic last week, but well worth it as we finished filming and managed to release them before early voting begins.

These videos are great ways to get to know your local candidates who will be representing you. The interviews are approximately 12-15 minutes apiece, and cover three main questions:
– Who are you?
– Why are you running?
– What are some of the big issues that are important to you and your constituents?

The interviews are very laid back, and I think really get to the heart of why these candidates are running for office. I had the pleasure of interviewing them, and found out interesting pieces about each of them. Do you know how many of them have been teachers? Which one worked at Apple? Which ones are business owners? Their backgrounds are fascinating.

We offered interviews to all candidates for both the Maine Senate and the Maine House for our 16 community chamber region (and there are two candidates we’re still hoping to interview, and if we do we will let you know). The candidates who completed interviews for are listed below along with what municipalities they’d represent in the legislature

Notes: The candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Each community has one House race and one Senate race to vote on. Brunswick is divided into three House races which is confusing and I’ve tried to lay out a general geography for those.:

Senate District 23 (All Sagadahoc County municipalities and Dresden)
Holly Kopp and Eloise Vitelli

Senate District #4 (Brunswick, Freeport, Harpswell, North Yarmouth & Pownal)
Mattie Daughtry and Brad Pattershall

House District 49 (Brunswick only: Maine Street west to I-295 including River Road)
Poppy Arford and Fred Horch

House District 50 (Brunswick only: Maine Street/Federal Street east to Harpswell and the Harpswell side of Bath Road including Brunswick Landing)
Mike Lawler

House District #1 (Harpswell, West Bath and small portion of Brunswick on the river side of Bath Road from Cook’s Corner to West Bath)
Stephen “Bubba” Davis and Joyce “Jay” McCreight

House District 52 (Bath only)
Christina Hughes and Sean Paulhus

House District 53 (Arrowsic, Dresden, Georgetown, Phippsburg, Woolwich and a small portion of Richmond from Route 24 east to the river)
Allison Hepler and Jeffrey Pierce

House District 54 (Topsham only)
Toni Bashinsky and Denise Tepler

House District 55 (Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, most of Richmond and Swan Island)
Seth Berry

There are three ways you can find these videos. They can be found on the SMMC homepage at www.midcoastmaine.com Or you can find them by searching for the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber on both YouTube and Facebook. The videos actually live on YouTube, but the SMMC website and SMMC Facebook page will redirect you to the videos. Please check these out, they are so good!

Senate Candidate Forum, This Friday, Oct. 9, at Noon
Our four Maine State Senate Candidates (Holly Kopp, Eloise Vitelli, Mattie Daughtry and Brad Pattershall) have agreed to do a forum with the chamber over Zoom this Friday! It starts at noon and you are invited to join us.

For those that haven’t used Zoom before, it’s a video meeting application that can be seen on your phone, tablet or computer. All you need is to click on the meeting link to join us (there is a passcode to enter but that’s it). The link and the passcode are listed on the SMMC Facebook page and the SMMC website (or e-mail me at [email protected])

For 60 minutes we will have a discussion and answer your questions. To submit a question e-mail them to me at the address above. Also, the forum will be taped and put out on our YouTube channel so if you miss it, you can watch that later too.

Lastly, we’re planning on forums for the House candidates, but with 14 of them we are in our second round of trying to book a date that works. We will let you know when we have them booked.

Do You Have Your Issue Priority List?
Issue Priority Lists are simply a list of the 3-5 things most important to you as a voter (I introduced this idea two months ago and have gotten questions about it). The best way to use them is to write your list and then research your candidates’ views on these items. Federal candidates will have websites, but local candidates will e-mail you back or may call you directly if you have questions (our videos have ways you can contact the local candidates or your town office knows). Make sure before you vote, you’re informed on where your candidates stand on the issues most important to you. These can be really helpful too when watching a debate or watching commercials, to remind yourself of what topics are truly important to you. More tips next week!

Cory R. King is the executive director of the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber.

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