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House District 121: Lusk challenges Dill in Cape Elizabeth

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House District 121: Lusk challenges Dill in Cape Elizabeth

CAPE ELIZABETH — Incumbent Democratic state Rep. Cynthia Dill is challenged by Republican Eric B. Lusk in the House District 121 election.

Dill has represented Cape Elizabeth for four years. Lusk ran unsuccessfully against Sen. Justin Alfond in 2008 in the state Senate District 8 race in Portland. He is a replacement candidate for Lauren M. Chatmas, who moved to Washington, D.C.

Cynthia Dill

Dill, 45, of Shore Road, is married and has two children. She is a civil rights lawyer, is working as the director of the Common Cause Digital Democracy Project in Washington, D.C., and is an adjunct instructor at Southern Maine Community College.

She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont and her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.

Dill serves on the Legislature's Judiciary and Ethics committees. She is the chairwoman of the Broadband Strategy Council and said she would like to continue to work to bring a green data mill to Maine that would use the Three-Ring Binder Project, a network of 1,100 miles of fiber optic cable that will deliver high-speed Internet around the state.

Dill has managed budgets while serving on the Cape Elizabeth Town Council and in her private law practice and said her priority is to protect and support the state's businesses, schools and natural resources as well as the elderly, disabled and children.

She said while the concept of the state's Essential Programs and Services funding formula is fair, it needs to be examined to ensure all students have the resources they need to learn.

"I am committed to improving the education funding formula and more importantly making needed reforms to education as a whole," she said.

Dill voted to support gay marriage in the last legislative session and said she would "happily and without reservation" support it if the issue comes up again.

She has drafted legislation that exempted Cape Elizabeth and other high-performing and efficient school districts from mandatory consolidation, and has supported more than $35 million in investment to Maine's broadband network.

"I am running again because I want government to work smarter to provide people, businesses and communities the opportunity to succeed," she said. "I want to help make our government accountable, responsible, and capable of providing effective oversight without excess bureaucracy."

Eric B. Lusk

Lusk, 46, of Reef Road, is a financial adviser with Harborview Investments in Portland. He was born in New York and received his bachelor's degree in economics at Georgetown University. He has lived in Cape Elizabeth since January, 2009.

He has been a Rotarian since 2004, was a member of the Yarmouth Economic Development Advisory Committee in 2002, and the Children's Museum of Maine Development Committee from 2004 to 2007. He currently is a member of the Cape Elizabeth Water Extrication Team.

Lusk said he is committed to helping people understand how their money is being spent. The state budget, he said, needs an audit to prevent continued duplication of services.

He said if the goal is for the state to fund 55 percent of school budgets, there needs to be a review of what expenses will be covered by that 55 percent.

"As written, the state's school funding formula looks extremely unfair to towns that are sending a lot of income taxes to Augusta," he said.

He said regardless of a same-sex marriage bill decision in California, reintroducing a bill that was already overturned in Maine won't be productive.

"What I do believe would be productive is addressing how assets are transferred to people after someone's death and providing benefits such as health care," he said.

As a legislator, Lusk said he would try to improve the job and business environment, and in the process reduce the state's dependence on Cape Elizabeth taxpayers.

"Unless we get more taxpayers (people working) we are going to put people on fixed incomes out of their homes," he said. "Cape Elizabeth needs a legislator whose first duty is sticking up for Cape Elizabeth."

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net