Present employment: Retired. I was a pastor for 26 years (principally serving the Ellsworth and Castine Unitarian Universalist churches), and before that I was a high school history teacher, and small business owner.
Highest level of education completed: Master of Education and Master of Divinity
Previous elected public office(s) held: None. I’m a political newcomer, not a politician.
Statement: I love the Ellsworth area and believe it is my civic duty to serve and give back to the community. I am retired and have the time and energy to serve, and plan to be a positive voice in the state Legislature. I believe that the role of government should be to make people’s lives better, and I will work from day one to help Mainers who are struggling to deal with the rising prices of so many different items. I am concerned about affordable housing and health care, and the price of food and fuel. I will fight for legislation and programs that will help us get through these times, and will help connect the people of Ellsworth, Waltham and Fletchers Landing to the resources they need. At the same time, as a former teacher, I support investments in our children’s future by supporting public education. I have also been a small business owner. I pledge to support small businesses and our local economy, education and workforce training for students of all ages, broadband access and clean energy and efficiency.
What are your thoughts on proposals to do away with Maine’s income taxes?
Our taxes pay for things we need, such as police and fire protection, roads, public schools and health care. We would still have to find a way to pay for these things, and so cutting one tax means you have to raise another tax. Eliminating the income tax would mean eliminating vital services — such as police and fire protection, or schools — or raising property taxes and sales taxes, hurting low and middle-income Mainers. That would be a very bad idea.
When it comes to the state budget, what do you see as top priorities for spending or cuts?
Because our children are our future, we need to keep our commitment to fully fund our public schools. We must keep our roads and bridges in good repair, and improve the broadband internet infrastructure, and properly fund treatment for the opioid addiction crisis. Promoting health, preventing disease and eliminating the causes of poor health are essential functions of government. Our veterans, servicemembers and their families must be treated with dignity and respect, by ensuring continuity of comprehensive health care during transitions from active/reserve status to veteran and civilian health service.
How can Maine best make health care affordable for its citizens?
The Legislature recently made some real progress on health care affordability for Mainers, increasing eligibility for children and pregnant women, expanded dental coverage, making it cheaper and easier to get insurance on the individual market, and improved prescription affordability. Under Gov. Mills, Maine now has a plan to improve health insurance for small businesses by implementing first-in-the-nation innovations to help increase coverage and hold down premium increases. Because health care costs remain high, we have to keep building on these and similar programs to keep prices down.
What policy changes would you support to protect the environment and respond to climate change?
We have only one planet. Climate change is a genuine threat to our society. Warming water in the Gulf of Maine is already beginning to affect the lobster industry. We must take advantage of new federal programs that help us improve our renewable energy infrastructure, such as subsidies for solar panels and electric vehicles. We need to be transitioning from gasoline to alternative fuels or electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar. We need to modernize our buildings and heating systems, with home weatherization and by installing heat pumps. Maine’s Climate Action Plan, “Maine Won’t Wait,” is a step in the right direction.
Would you vote to support a woman’s right to obtain an abortion?
Yes, absolutely. Women should be making their own reproductive decisions. Health care decisions regarding pregnancy, miscarriage, infertility, adoption, whether to parent or not, are personal and private decisions that shouldn’t be determined or controlled by big government. I’m pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-choice.
What changes would you like to see in the way police do their jobs in Maine?
We need more resources to support a healthy society. I disagree with calls to defund the police. Our police are dedicated to their commitment to serve and protect. We need to give our police the funding that is needed for the training and additional resources needed to deal compassionately and effectively with the wide range of issues our police agencies are dealing with. Too often, our officers are being expected to act as if they are social workers, dealing with mental health issues, for instance. We need to give our police officers the resources they need, and we should be doing a better job funding programs that address the challenges of homelessness, drug addiction treatment and mental health issues.