Residence: Bar Harbor
Present employment: Partner, Coston McIsaac & Shea Financial Advisors; owner/co-owner, eight different hotels/motels/B&Bs in Bar Harbor
Highest level of education completed: Four-year degree in business and financial management from Husson University
Previous elected public office(s) held: Bar Harbor Town Council
Statement: I am a practical individual seeking to address practical problems that negatively impact Mainers’ day-to-day lives. In 2022, the Tax Foundation found that Maine residents endure the nation’s tenth highest state and local tax burden and ranked us 33 in their state business tax climate index. Maine’s onerous tax climate presents a challenge in attracting/retaining residents and business investment alike. As a result, Maine has the single oldest median population of any state in the USA. We need to provide better opportunities for small businesses as well as our youth, who find little reason to stick around. I want to make it easier and more affordable for people to live and work in Maine by getting government less involved in our day-to-day lives. I grew up here in Downeast Maine and have built several businesses here, so I understand how to get things done, and I want to help others do the same. I am not running to advance any headline issue, nor do I aspire to a career in politics. I would simply like to help get the government out of your way so that you and your family can freely pursue your goals here in Maine.
What are your thoughts on proposals to do away with Maine’s income taxes?
While I fully recognize the practical complexity of eliminating such a significant extant tax, I generally support reduction/elimination of Maine’s income taxes. …Maine needs to be more competitive to attract and retain residents and business investment and increase economic opportunities for all. The income tax is inefficient in its collection and punishes productivity. Sales tax is far more efficient and less punitive and relatively simple measures can be taken to ensure it is not regressive.
When it comes to the state budget, what do you see as top priorities for spending or cuts?
Government is generally an inefficient allocator of capital, and presently the State of Maine is spending too much money. I would look at the budget from a zero-based perspective and I would expect every dollar spent to be justified by its merits, not merely by its precedent. My background is in business and finance, and I have experience in dealing with public budgets from the term I served on Bar Harbor’s Town Council.
How can Maine best make health care affordable for its citizens?
Get the government out of health care spending to the greatest degree possible. Government will never allocate capital as efficiently as private operations because of the differing incentive/constraint systems. When looking at the costs of goods/services that have increased the most dramatically and consistently over the past several decades, it is all the areas where government spends significant sums — health care, education, housing, child care, and food. This is not a coincidence.
What policy changes would you support to protect the environment and respond to climate change?
I believe private individuals making their own choices free of artificial constraints imposed by government will produce the most optimal overall outcomes. Government spending/planning/regulation/subsidization will create harmful inefficiencies, will produce artificial financial windfalls and losses, and will not produce optimal outcomes. Programs called “green” cannot simply be defined in their expected outcomes by their hoped-for results; we need to hold our policy makers to a higher standard of sincerity in this regard.
Would you vote to support a woman’s right to obtain an abortion?
I am in support of Maine’s current abortion legislation, which does not restrict a woman’s exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability. I do not support any effort to further restrict a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.
What changes would you like to see in the way police do their jobs in Maine?
I value and appreciate the difficult and vital role that law enforcement plays in keeping Maine communities safe for residents and visitors. I believe our police are generally worthy of our support, and I do not believe poor policing is a critical issue in Maine. I believe we should be grateful for those who take it upon themselves to serve our communities in a capacity of such incredible risk and responsibility as is inherent in law enforcement.