House District 118: Incumbent Portland Democrat faces Green challenger

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PORTLAND — Two-term Democratic Rep. Jon Hinck is seeking re-election in House District 118 against political neophyte Carney Brewer, a Green Independent, and a Republican placeholder candidate.

District 118 represents the West End and Libbytown.

Hinck said he is seeking re-election to continue working on efforts to increase energy efficiency of homes and buildings, extend preschool opportunities throughout the state and implement and evaluate the recently enacted federal health-care reform.

Brewer is a full-time college student with two children, one of whom is home-schooled. Improving education would be her top Legislative priority, she said.

Thomas Elliman, chairman of the Portland Republican City Committee, said Republican Mark Carpentier is a placeholder candidate and is not actively seeking office. Carpentier, of Woodmont Street, did not return telephone calls or an e-mail seeking comment.

Carney Brewer

Brewer, 31, is a licensed message therapist and full-time liberal arts student at the University of Southern Maine. She has two children, one home-schooled and the other in public school, and lives with her domestic partner. She has lived in Portland for eight years.

Brewer, of Spring Street, volunteered from 2004-2005 for Americorps Vista, which is now the Hour Exchange Portland, and mentors for Youth Building Alternatives for Portland-based LearningWorks. 

Brewer said supporting education would be her top priority, as well as improving the economy.

“Don’t ask me what my idea is to fix that, because I don’t know,” she said of the economy.

Brewer said she would seek solutions to the state’s education and economic problems through collaborative brain-storming. She said she would support changing the state’s education funding formula, but offered no specifics.

The state’s projected budget shortfall should be solved through tax increases and spending cuts, she said.

Meanwhile, the state should “energetically and economically” support both land-based and off-shore wind farms, she said.

Brewer said she was asked by the Green Independent party to run as a placeholder and has not had time to research the issues or mount a campaign.

“I’m a mom,” she said. “I never thought about being a politician.”

If elected, Brewer said she would have to suspend her college education, but her children will always be her top priority.

“(If elected) I will accept the responsibility and bust my butt to pull it off in a good, honest and ethical way,” she said.

Rep. Jon Hinck

Hinck, 56, is an attorney who has lived in Portland for 14 years. He is married to Juliet Browne and has a 13-year-old daughter. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English history from the University of Pennsylvania and law degree from the University of California at Berkley.

Hinck, of Pine Street, is a member of the West End Neighborhood Association, a voting member of Greenpeace and has served on the board of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine.

If elected to a third term, Hinck said he would continue to try to implement programs that provide incentives for weatherization upgrades to homes and buildings that improve energy efficiency. He said he also supports the development of wind, ocean, solar and geothermal energy.

“Developing renewable energy is a far lower priority than maximizing efficiency, which is too frequently glossed over,” Hinck said, noting that buildings need to be “hyper-efficient.”

When it comes to education, Hinck said he supports good neighborhood schools, whenever possible.

He said he would also seek to expand preschool programs throughout the state, by reallocating current education funding.

Hinck said the projected state budget shortfall should be solved by cutting spending and increasing some taxes and fees. When it comes to cuts, the Legislature’s previous efforts should serve as a model, he said.

To increase revenues, Hinck said the state should consider some proposals included in the tax reform package repealed by voters in June.

Specifically, Hinck said the sales tax should be expanded and/or increased on luxury and discretionary items, while the income tax for low-wage earners should be reduced.

Meanwhile, the state should consider increases to the lodging tax and add a one-cent tax for every gallon of water pulled by bottling companies, which could net $6 million, he said.

“Bottled water does well, in part, because of the Maine brand and how we protect the resource,” he said.

Hinck said he supports changing the state education funding formula to account for pressures of service-center and immigrant-heavy communities.

He said he also supports requiring impact studies of how big-box stores would affect local businesses before allowing them open.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]

Sidebar Elements

Green-Independent Carney Brewer

Democratic incumbent Rep. Jon Hinck