Melanie Sachs Photographer: Ingrid Hatton

FREEPORT — Democrat and former Freeport Town Councilor Melanie Sachs will represent Freeport and part of  Pownal in the Maine House District 48 seat.

Sachs defeated Republican Jay Finegan at the polls on Tuesday, 4,203-2,146, giving her two-thirds of the vote, according to results released early Wednesday morning. 

Sachs will replace Speaker Sara Gideon, who was prevented from running for re-election due to term limits and was running against Sen. Susan Collins for her U.S. Senate seat. Gideon conceded that race Wednesday afternoon.  

“I’m so honored to have the overwhelming support” of the voters of District 48, Sachs said Wednesday. “I’m really looking forward to working hard for the entire district in the new political session.” 

Sachs said Wednesday that after placing more than 1,500 calls in the district, the issues voters care about remain firm across the board — education, health care and access to affordable health care and the environment. 

The economy and business recovery are a close fourth, she said, adding that now, all the issues are viewed through a COVID-19 lens. 

Access to affordable health care is “the No. 1 one issue that people are talking about,” Sachs told the Forecaster, “whether it’s affording prescriptions, having care that’s not just catastrophic if you’re an employer trying to offer health care for your employees and finding a good plan.”

“It hits absolutely every aspect of people’s lives,” she said.

She told the Forecaster that she has been encouraged by the state’s coronavirus response 

COVID-19’s impact could resonate during the next few sessions, as lawmakers decide the “best and highest use of funding,” something Sachs was tasked with amid decreased revenues while she served on the Freeport Town Council, she said.

Sachs thanked the election workers and volunteers in Pownal and Freeport for making voters (who were all wearing masks and social distancing) feel safe and comfortable. 

Voter turnout was high— roughly 80% in Pownal— and she said she was encouraged by the “enthusiasm and voter engagement” at the polls, especially from people who had to wait in line at 7 a.m. 

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.

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