BRUNSWICK — Incumbent House District 49 Rep. Matthea “Mattie” Daughtry, D-Brunswick, is being challenged by Republican candidate Michael Stevens for the third time this November.
The district covers West Brunswick and includes most of Brunswick’s downtown.
Daughtry was elected to the Legislature in 2012. Stevens, also a Brunswick resident, lost to Daughtry in both 2014 and 2016.
In her run for a fourth term, Daughtry said there is a “multitude” of reasons why she is pursuing the seat again.
Coming out of what she called “one of the most stressful sessions” Maine politics and the Legislature has ever seen, she said she still loves getting the opportunity to work on policy.
“I can look back on my three terms – I’m very proud of the work I’ve done and the laws I’ve been able to pass – but we still didn’t get to the finish line on many of my policies that I’ve been working on for six years,” she said.
One of those issues is student debt, which Daughtry said she had hoped both the state and the country would be “a little further ahead” on by now, as it was one of the reasons she decided to run in 2012.
In her third term, Daughtry acted as a returning member of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. She has also served as House chair of the Maine Commission on College Affordability and College Completion.
Going forward, she would like to continue her work on sustainable agriculture, saying Maine is going to have “a lot of issues affecting the state economically” due to what she called the “demographic winter” it faces now.
With a low statewide unemployment rate, Daughtry said part of combatting the issue should include attracting new workers from out of state.
The Opportunity Maine Tax Credit program, which reimburses student loan payments for college graduates living and working in Maine, is another initiative she supports.
In regards to the opioid crisis, Daughtry said it is a problem that affects everyone, and there is no “easy crystal ball solution.”
“We can’t arrest our way to the end of this epidemic; we need to have a wide- ranging approach,” she said, adding the state needs to “do a lot more,” but also needs a level of funding it does not have yet.
Daughtry supports the concept behind state referendum Question 1, although she has concerns about its wording.
The question asks voters to support a Universal Home Care Program to help seniors and people with disabilities, regardless of income. It would be funded by a new 3.8 percent tax on individuals and families “with Maine wage and adjusted gross income” above the amount subject to Social Security taxes.
Daughtry said she would like to see a “more progressive tax structure,” and Mainers need to do everything they can to help seniors aging at home.
“We have an aging state,” she said. “This is something that is going to turn into a dire need.”
Stevens said his reason for running during this election cycle is the same as in previous years.
“I know the Republican population in Brunswick is very small,” he said. “Yet I want people to be aware that there is someone that’s trying to do something to represent them.”
He also said as someone who holds a degree in criminal justice, he is “very law- oriented.”
In the same vein, two key issues that matter to him are squelching illegal immigration and pushing to ban the enactment of Sharia law “in any area where it violates the United States Constitution.”
“I am firmly against illegal immigration and I want to do whatever I can to eliminate sanctuary cities, because you are violating federal law to do that,” Stevens said.
He is also against Question 1 on the state ballot.
He said the question is “badly written,” and the government should be removed from “anything and everything possible,” barring matters like border security, the military, nationwide infrastructure and space exploration.
In regards to the opioid crisis, Stevens said though he knows it is “obviously a problem” he is only “superficially aware” of the issue.
“I’m on board with whatever we can come up with to get rid of this, to quash it in whatever way we can,” he said.
Stevens also said if he is elected, clamping down on animal abuse and neglect in Maine is an important issue to him.
He also believes the more taxes go up, the less older and wealthier citizens of Maine will want to continue living here.
“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot every time we raise a tax or expand government,” Stevens said.
Party Affiliation: Republican
Family: Married, two sons
Occupation: Assistant controller at the Brunswick Comfort Inn
Education: Bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, management/accounting
Political/civic experience: None
Website/social media: None
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Smith College
Political/civic experience: Three terms in the Maine Legislature
Website/social media: www.facebook.com/mattieformaine