A former longtime state legislator and a Sanford resident who works in the nonprofit sector are squaring off in the House District 18 race in York County.

Democrat John Tuttle and Republican Pamela Buck both say they want to bring civility to the State House and help legislators bridge divides to help working Mainers.

The winner of the race will fill the seat being vacated by Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio, a Democrat who is termed out of office and is now running for mayor of Sanford. House District 18 includes part of Sanford-Springvale.

Tuttle and Buck are both Clean Elections candidates, with campaign expenses financed by Maine taxpayers. Tuttle reported $12,112 in contributions and has spent $11,863. Buck reported contributions of $8,150 and has spent $5,591, according to campaign finance reports.

Tuttle, 69, was first elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1978 and has served a total of 28 years as a state representative or state senator. He represented Sanford in the House from 1978-1984, 1988-2002, and 2004-2012. He represented part of York County in the state Senate from 1984-1988 and 2012-2014.

John Tuttle

Tuttle was a Sanford selectmen for 10 years. He currently is serving his fifth consecutive term on the Sanford City Council, a role he said he will continue if elected to represent District 18 in Augusta. He said he has successfully balanced simultaneous municipal and state roles in the past while also working as an EMT, and has more time now that he is retired.

“I’m running to bring some civility back to the Legislature,” he said. “My experience is not something many folks have.”

During his previous time in the State House, Tuttle said, he championed efforts to repay hospitals through his role as chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee and sponsored legislation to create the Southern Maine Veterans Cemetery in Springvale. When he served as chairman of the Labor Committee, the committee delivered 100 unanimous reports, he said.

“I’ve always been a bipartisan problem solver,” he said. “I have a history of that in the Legislature.”

If elected to represent Sanford, Tuttle said he will look to secure funds for the Sanford Municipal Airport and lower health care and prescription drug costs. He also wants to bring broadband to all Maine homes and businesses, and says he will fight to make sure the state pays 55 percent of education costs as promised.

“I’ve always tried to level the playing field for regular people. My doors will always be open,” Tuttle said. “We have big problems to solve, but I’ll keep working for working class families to get ahead.”

Buck, 56, served on the Caribou School Board before moving to Sanford and is now the human resources manager and volunteer coordinator at York County Shelter Programs. A board member for several organizations who raised her two children in Maine, Buck said she would bring to the Legislature the needed perspective of someone who is still in the workforce and understands the struggle of obtaining good jobs and staying current.

Pamela Buck

“I believe I have the right background of diverse work experiences and life experiences,” she said. “I want to work for my community and be the voice of working people.”

Buck said she is concerned that the state budget is facing a large shortfall over the next three years.

“We have to fix this without raising taxes on our working families,” she said, adding that she wants to find a better balance because too much of the tax burden falls on property owners.

“Currently property owners are the most burdened,” she said. “I would promote a more balanced overall tax structure to reduce the burden on property taxes.”

Buck, who previously worked at Loring Job Corps in Limestone, said she will advocate to ensure Mainers have access to the training and education they need to match the jobs employers are hiring for.

Buck also believes there is a need for more workforce housing in Maine. There is a lot of reliance on government assistance for housing, but that assistance has been exhausted and comes with limitations, she said.

“Tax incentives to value our working family members need to be put in place for home ownership. When the cost of rent is higher than a home mortgage, something is wrong,” she said. “Home ownership not only creates more income and sales tax, it builds a strong community.”

Buck, who describes herself as a person with integrity and a strong work ethic, said it is important to her to work to bridge the “great divide” she sees in Maine and elsewhere.

“It’s not only hurting all of us, it’s hurting our community and our state,” she said. “We need to come together and work together. Until that’s done, nothing is going to be solved.”


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