Town: Bar Harbor
Present employment: Self-employed attorney, owner of a small seasonal business, Harborside Books, and member of the Maine State House of Representatives.
Highest level of education completed: Ph.D.
Previous elected public office(s) held: Maine House, 2020-2022
Statement: I am running for re-election to the Maine House so that I can continue the work I have been doing, supporting not only the communities in my district, but communities throughout the state. My priorities include improving and increasing the availability and accessibility of public transportation in our region and throughout the state. To this end, I hope to continue my work as a member of the House Transportation Committee. I will also work tirelessly to protect Frenchman Bay, as well as water bodies throughout the state, from inappropriate development, including massive in-water salmon farms. Continuing to refine and improve Maine’s medical cannabis program in ways that support small cannabis business owners, as well as their customers, is a goal. While in my first term I limited my work to a few select issues, as noted above, if re-elected, I intend to direct time and energy towards the establishment of an Office of Public Defender, to provide attorneys to indigent defendants, given that we are the only state in the nation without such an office. Lastly, I will continue to be accessible to all my constituents and will always welcome ideas and suggestions from everyone.
What are your thoughts on proposals to do away with Maine’s income taxes?
All states need income to run the state. While it may seem appealing to have no income taxes, they are at least graduated, and the state will get the money elsewhere. For example, while New Hampshire has no income tax, the mill rate for property taxes is significantly higher than Maine’s mill rate. In the absence of income taxes, that might be increased, or perhaps the sales tax will increase, or both. It is my opinion that the current tax situation is the fair way to go.
When it comes to the state budget, what do you see as top priorities for spending or cuts?
I believe that Maine needs to make a concerted effort to budget funds for the creation of affordable, year-round housing throughout the state, not just in Southern Maine. Partnering with developers and non-profits that are creating such housing, thereby injecting more funding into these efforts, is very necessary. In terms of decreasing the budget, it is too late now, but I would have imposed an income cap on those receiving the $850 payments this spring. And while I am sure that there are certain efficiencies that would lower the budget, I cannot comment on those at this time.
How can Maine best make health care affordable for its citizens?
I have been a years-long supporter of universal health care. Nothing short of this will make health care affordable for all Mainers.
What policy changes would you support to protect the environment and respond to climate change?
I believe that this work should be ground up, and not dictated by state government. In my district, A Climate to Thrive is doing an exceptional job in addressing issues around climate change and environmental justice. All towns and regions should have such an effective group of activists and the state’s role should be training rather than directives.
Would you vote to support a woman’s right to obtain an abortion?
What changes would you like to see in the way police do their jobs in Maine?
Overall, I think the police in Maine do a good job. However, given the current high number of Mainers suffering with mental illness, sometimes related to drug use, but sometimes not, I think that we need to train dispatchers to identify when a call involves an individual who would be best served by a response team that involves a mental health professional rather than just police officers. There is a movement statewide to achieve this goal and local police departments should be trained on this topic.