Republican Rep. Matthew Harrington faces a challenge from Democrat Patricia Kidder in his bid for a fourth term representing House District 19.

Harrington has represented the district, which includes part of Sanford and Springvale, for the past five years. Kidder, who has not previously run for office, has advocated for social and economic justice issues in Augusta.

Matthew Harrington

Harrington, a police officer, serves on the Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business. He previously served two terms on State and Local Government.

In the last legislative session, he co-sponsored a bill that increased the penalty for unlawful passing of a school bus, which was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills. He said he is most proud of a bill he sponsored in the last session that reduces the risk of occupational cancer for fire investigators by getting them into a retirement system comparable to other first responders, allowing them to retire earlier.

Harrington has in the past focused on public safety issues, but says his focus will now be on the budget and economy as the state faces a projected $1.4 billion budget shortfall over the next three years from lost sales and income tax revenue. He is concerned that Medicaid expansion was passed without a sustainable funding source and believes legislators need to focus on prioritizing the most vulnerable Mainers, including those who are elderly or have disabilities.

“This year, the primary focus is getting Maine safely reopened and getting our economy going,” he said. “This budget is going to be really tough and we’re going to have to make tough calls. There are going to cuts or tax increases. Families can’t afford tax increases.”

Harrington has been in the minority party throughout his tenure in Augusta and says he has a proven himself to be a bipartisan legislator and problem solver.

“I have a proven track record of working across the aisle. During the last session, I passed three bills, which I couldn’t do without working across the aisle,” he said.

Kidder, 61, lives in Springvale and is a self-employed income tax preparer. She has been involved with the Maine Peoples Alliance for the past eight years and with the Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network. She has lobbied in Augusta for social and economic justice issues, she said.

Patricia Kidder

“I’ve been working on the outside fighting for social change, but it really should be done on the inside,” she said. “I want to run to have a Legislature that’s willing to work together to get the job done instead of making people do it by referendum.”

Kidder said she has advocated for expanding access to MaineCare, increasing minimum wage and requiring earned paid time off.

“Healthcare is a human right. Nobody should have to go bankrupt because of a health issue,” she said. “When it comes to minimum wage, anybody who works a 40-hour week should not need food stamps to get by. … You should make enough money to live.”

If elected, Kidder said she wants to work to expand access to affordable healthcare and to reduce the property tax burden by making sure revenue sharing for cities and towns is fully funded. She also supports replacing Central Maine Power with a consumer-owned utility, which she says would lower utility bills and put Maine in the position to expand broadband access across the state.

Kidder said that while she has not held public office previously, she is prepared to work hard and is familiar with the legislative process through her time advocating for bills.

Kidder’s endorsements include Maine Youth for Climate Justice, Maine AFL-CIO, Maine Peoples Alliance, Renew New England and Maine Education Association.

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