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PORTLAND — Three candidates are competing to fill the House District 116 seat being vacated by Rep. Charlie Harlow, D-Portland, including Harlow’s daughter.
Republican Kenneth Capron, independent Frederick Kilfoil and Democrat Denise Harlow are on the Nov. 2 ballot.
District 116 represents Riverton, the Riverside and Warren Avenue areas, and Nason’s Corner.
Capron, 59, is a Forest Avenue resident and retired accountant. He runs the Maine Center for Constitutional Studies and has two adult sons. Capron was the unsuccessful Republican candidate in District 116 in 2008.
He said state government is not fiscally responsible, and if elected he will focus on economic development and education issues.
Capron said he supports a school voucher program so parents can choose whether their children attend public, private or charter schools.
Capron also said he has an interest in the creative side of government, and is particularly interested in advancing the work the Maine Technology Institute does with aquaculture.
“Aquaculture has huge potential in Maine,” said Capron, who is a University of Southern Maine alumnus.
He said Maine needs to do a better job selling itself to businesses, and pointed to the state of Connecticut’s ability to bring in manufacturing jobs over the past few years.
“If they can do it, why can’t we?,” Capron said. “We need to listen to what businesses want us to do, and then make it happen so they come here.”
Harlow, 40, lives on Broadway and is a track coach and pet sitter.
A life-long runner, Harlow said that if elected she would look into ways to address childhood obesity in Maine, possibly by developing programs that get kids moving and eating healthier foods.
“It’s important to make those programs fun, so the kids take something from it,” she said.
Harlow said adults should also be encouraged to get healthy, possibly through a free gym membership program.
Harlow, a Brandeis University graduate, said she is also interested in alternative and “green” transportation and would work on ways to increase the use of alternative transportation.
She wants to replace her father, a longtime legislator, because she said she has seen the difference he has made for the district and wants to continue doing so.
“I enjoy the policy part of it,” she said.
Kilfoil, 64, is a retired motel owner and lives on Walton Street. He is married and has two adult children and two grandchildren.
“I feel like I am the only one saying the state of Maine is broken,” Kilfoil said. He said the state pretends it has money that it does not have.
If elected, Kilfoil said he would work to improve schools by making sure teachers are qualified. He would also look to cut overspending in the schools.
For example, he said, Maine schools earlier this year sent thousands of students to a Portland Pirates hockey game during a school day. Kilfoil said he was told the purpose of the event was to teach kids about healthy nutrition and living.
“That’s not the place to learn about that stuff,” said Kilfoil, a University of Maine graduate. “Those schools had to pay for transportation, substitute teachers, all those costs.”
Kilfoil said government should not be involved with funding economic development, but should play a role in making sure bad development doesn’t happen.
He said the government needs to start paying its bills on time and cutting out needless spending. As an example of what could be cut, he cited the Maine Film Office.
Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org