FALMOUTH — Incumbent state Rep. Mary Nelson, D-Falmouth, is up against Republican candidate Mark Richard of Falmouth in the House District 112 election.
The district represents citizens in Falmouth Foreside, north and west Falmouth as well as Mackworth and Clapboard islands.
Nelson, 67, is a community volunteer who has served on many art, music and library boards and in the state House of Representatives since 2008.
Before that, she spent six years as a town councilor, was the president of the Maine Municipal Association and spent 14 years on the state Board of Property Tax Review. Nelson has a master’s degree in public policy from the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine and she and her husband, Kenneth, have three sons and five grandchildren.
Nelson emphasized the importance of supporting education, particularly higher and elementary educational programs.
“These investments will pay large dividends in the future in the earning capacity of our citizens, in their ability to succeed in school and in their overall quality of life,” she said.
Nelson said she was pleased the state balanced the biennial budget without tax increases, but is concerned about the impact on local property taxes to support education, health care and services for the elderly.
Nelson said the state must consider all options when seeking a solution to the pension crisis.
“I believe the state has a continuing commitment to fund the unfunded liability with regular payments,” she said, adding that the state will need to re-amortize the debt and recalculate the unfunded actuarial liability using realistic figures.
Nelson supported the equal marriage bill and said she supports equal rights for all Maine citizens, including another bill that would legalize gay marriage.
Nelson said she worked with other legislators to get funding for home weatherization and rebates for those investing in renewable energy in their homes. She noted her bill to enable Falmouth to join the METRO bus system was passed unanimously.
“I want to work collaboratively to create an environment where businesses can prosper and where we can attract new industries, businesses and jobs to Maine,” she said.
Republican candidate Richard, 46, is a lead executive and Realtor at Keller Williams Realty, as well as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America.
Richard is a University of Southern Maine graduate and a military veteran. He and his wife Tammy, who is also a Realtor, have two adult children and a grandchild.
Richard said his experience as an executive for nonprofit and for-profit businesses taught him to identify revenue available for spending and to stay within that amount.
“Funds should only be borrowed if there is a common-sense doable plan in place for repayment,” Richard said, adding that what is sensible may not be popular.
He said he would support a full audit of all state departments and seeks to reduce the size of government, improve the business environment, create partnerships with the private sector, reform welfare and support education.
Richard said he would listen to Falmouth citizens’ views about the existing state debt before crafting any type of solution to the pension crisis.
“Every day Mainers are facing and solving debt, insurance and retirement issues in their homes and businesses. It is time to learn about their ideas and incorporate them into a clear strategy aimed to fix the problem,” he said.
On the topic of legalizing gay marriage, Richard said it was an issue that should be handled by a citizens’ referendum as it had been in the past.
Richard said his experience as an Eagle Scout taught him to be prepared and he would advocate common sense in the Legislature, while being a bridge to connect ideas with positive results.
Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org