Republican Michael Pardue and Democrat Joseph Rafferty are running for an open seat in Maine Senate District 34, which includes Acton, Kennebunk, Lebanon, North Berwick, Wells and part of Berwick.

Pardue is the Kennebunk town manager. Rafferty is a football coach and retired teacher.

Here are their responses to a series of questions.

Pardue

Are you satisfied with the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, why? If not, what do you think should be done instead?
Managing a pandemic requires transparency and collaboration. In Kennebunk, I established a nonpartisan Community Reengagement Task Force which effectively aided in the successful reopening process.

As the state tries to balance its upcoming budget in light of the reduction in tax revenue because of the pandemic, how would you decrease expenses or increase revenues?
My years of municipal budgeting experience finds that prioritizing expenses is requisite to sound budgeting. Decreased spending, while maintaining quality essential services, should be the objective.

How does serving as a local politician in your respective party align to the larger goals of that party?
As town manager, I work with all people. My priority is serving the people that elected me. Though I am running as a Republican, I will do what is in the best interest of my District 34 constituents.

What do you think is the most pressing matter that pertains to the next generation of Mainers who may be voting for the first time?
Aligning education to the needs of employers is critical. A prime example of this is the relationship between York County Community College and Pratt & Whitney, and all vocational pathways for a skilled labor force.

Are you frustrated by the political sniping, exaggeration and even lies between the parties and their supporters that have threatened progress usually reached through respect and reasoned compromise? If so, what will you personally do to make the situation better?
I’m disappointed with the disrespect between political parties. In my professional career, I have been very successful bringing people together for positive outcomes. As a senator, I will do the same.

If you are elected, is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish? And briefly, why?
Support local businesses to reengage during COVID, improve Maine’s health care system, support education, vocational training and college programs to grow skilled workforce, all for betterment of Maine

Rafferty

Are you satisfied with the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, why? If not, what do you think should be done instead?
Yes, I think the response was made keeping the health and welfare of all Mainers in mind. It is important that we assist families and businesses with their full recovery.

As the state tries to balance its upcoming budget in light of the reduction in tax revenue because of the pandemic, how would you decrease expenses or increase revenues?
A billion dollar plus shortfall requires a critical review of current expenditures and the value of what they support. We must protect programs that relate to public health and safety.

How does serving as a local politician in your respective party align with the larger goals of that party?
My goals of access to affordable health care, retaining young people for our workforce, economy and future of our state are well aligned with my party goals.

What do you think is the most pressing matter that pertains to the next generation of Mainers who may be voting for the first time?
The next generation will be pressed to access affordable health care and jobs paying a competitive salary allowing them to stay in Maine. We need to make a continued investment in renewable energy.

Are you frustrated by the political sniping, exaggeration and even lies between the parties and their supporters that have threatened progress usually reached through respect and reasoned compromise? If so, what will you personally do to make the situation better?
Yes, who isn’t? People are frustrated at all levels yet, the most common question I get day to day is “what party?” Voters will contribute to the problem until they vote for the best person.

If you are elected, is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish? And briefly, why?
I’m running to restore faith in politics. I believe you need someone in Augusta you can trust so that when you go to bed at night, you can rest easier knowing I’ve got your back.