A retired insurance underwriter is challenging the incumbent for the District 32 House seat.

Tammy Walter, R-Cape Elizabeth, is challenging State Rep. Christopher Kessler, D-South Portland, who is running for reelection to his seat, which covers part of South Portland and part of Cape Elizabeth. Kessler is serving his first term.

Both candidates responded differently when asked about the coronavirus pandemic. Kessler focused on managing the pandemic, pointing to the need for increased rapid testing, support for children and families involved in remote classroom learning, and a “social safety net” to provide food, housing and health care for people impacted economically.

“We must stay the course with public health protocols,” he said.

Walter, by contrast, focused on how to recover from the shutdowns caused by the pandemic, criticizing the heavy-handedness of some of the statewide pandemic-related orders.

“The initial shutdown was wise,” she said. “After that, we could have identified and protected our at-risk populations without taking such a blanket approach to our coronavirus response.”

Beyond the pandemic, Kessler said he wants to boost funding for weatherization, noting that state lawmakers and officials set a goal back in 2009 to have all Maine homes weatherized by 2030, but he doesn’t believe the state will be even halfway toward that goal by the deadline.

“It is a cause that has broad bipartisan support, but there has been no will from politicians to put their money where their mouth is,” he said.

Walter said she wishes to focus on public safety. She said Maine is “the safest state in the country,” and she wants to work with law enforcement to keep it that way.

“I want my work to strengthen the ties between the many agencies of law enforcement and the communities they serve,” she said.

Sean Murphy 780-9094

Email: [email protected]

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