Elections 2022

Election Coverage and Results from Hancock, Knox and Waldo Counties, Maine

Heather “Betsy” Garrold

State House District 38

Age: 67

Residence: Knox

Party: Green Independent

Present employment: Semi-retired

Highest level of education completed: Master’s degree in nursing

Previous elected public office(s) held: None

Statement: I have worked in the Legislature for the last 12 years, as both a citizen and paid lobbyist, on issues regarding farming, local food and sustainability. The need to protect and expand our local food system was the original impetus for my House campaign.

Knocking on the doors of my future constituents has shifted my focus. I believe that the title “Representative” is a job description. You cannot represent the people of a district unless you have been out hearing their concerns. Constituents’ services are a vital part of a Representative’s job.

The people of District 38 are concerned about high food prices and a fragile supply chain, PFAs contamination, roads that become unpassable during mud season, the rural housing shortage, the need for better internet coverage, endemic Lyme disease, a robust public education system, the EMS volunteer shortage and a host of other issues. All, or at least most, of these concerns can be addressed legislatively.

The list in my notebook of potential bills to be introduced grows every day. I am always open to hearing from the people of Unity, Thorndike, Knox, Brooks, Jackson, Waldo, Monroe, Swanville, and western Frankfort.

What are your thoughts on proposals to do away with Maine’s income taxes?

Income tax is a progressive rather than a regressive tax, which means that it does not fall more heavily on working class families as do taxes on gas and clothing for example. We need taxes to support our shared infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools etc. Therefore, I would oppose abolishing the income tax.

When it comes to the state budget, what do you see as top priorities for spending or cuts? 

The state budget is a thoroughly thought-out, researched and hashed-over document. As a first-time legislator I would not presume that I know better how to spend the people’s tax money than the dedicated legislators who have worked hard to create this framework for governance. Ask me again when I am running for reelection.

How can Maine best make health care affordable for its citizens?

Medicare for all.

What policy changes would you support to protect the environment and respond to climate change?

We are at a point in our climate crisis that even if we slam on the brakes of our carbon-dependent economy we will still be riding the wave of our past mistakes for a while. Yes, I think we should emphasize and encourage conservation measures, but we need to be realistic about dealing with the current impacts that climate change is having on our infrastructure, agriculture, migration patterns and the health and well-being of our people. I would support any policies that seek to increase conservation practices, mitigate the effects of climate change on our infrastructure and protect the health of our most vulnerable populations.

Would you vote to support a woman’s right to obtain an abortion?

I am a believer in bodily autonomy. No one should be forced to carry a pregnancy that they do not wish to carry. No one should be mandated to get a medical treatment they do not wish to have. It is all the same basic principle.

As a retired nurse midwife, I see pregnancy termination as one of the medical procedures in the toolbox of anyone offering medical care to women of childbearing age. We are fortunate here in Maine to have the good sense to leave this decision between the woman and her care provider. It should stay that way.

What changes would you like to see in the way police do their jobs in Maine?

I think we are enormously fortunate here in Waldo County to have a Sheriff’s Department that emphasizes rehabilitation and re-entry for the incarcerated population. Restorative justice is a system that is a win-win for the victims of the crime and the perpetrators. There are models of policing that include the dispatching of mental health workers alongside law enforcement which are showing real promise. All of these approaches are a way forward for the criminal justice system.

Other Candidate(s) in Race