CAPE ELIZABETH — Democratic Rep. Kimberly Monaghan-Derrig, who is seeking a third term in House District 30, is being challenged by Republican Pauline Wilcox.
This is Wilcox’s first campaign for elected office, although she has worked on other political campaigns.
Election Day is Nov. 4.
Monaghan-Derrig has lived in Cape Elizabeth most of her life. She is a marketing analyst for an online news service and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Maine.
Monaghan-Derrig served one term on the School Board and ran unsuccessfully for Town Council in 2009, before being elected to the first of her two terms in the House.
“I love my job,” Monaghan-Derrig said. “I love representing Cape Elizabeth as well as the state of Maine.”
She said something she wants to work toward is continuing to provide strong education, from elementary schools through college.
“Bottom line is they need more help recruiting students and retaining students,” Monaghan-Derrig said.
She said there needs to be a close examination of what the actual costs are in the university system. She said there’s always room for improvement, and universities should be doing more to show students what kinds of jobs are available.
“The key to jobs and the economy is making sure we are matching the skills in education,” Monaghan-Derrig said.
She said universities need more doctoral graduates and more graduates in engineering.
“These are the areas that are dying for Maine candidates,” Monaghan-Derrig said.
She also said Maine needs to stop trying to bring in large companies, and should work on maintaining smaller, local businesses.
“We have to stop some of these ambitions of attracting big companies to Maine,” she said. “We need to focus on growing smaller companies.”
Monaghan-Derrig said she supports increasing the minimum wage.
“I don’t buy the notion that businesses will close because they can’t manage their operating costs,” she said.
She said she also wants to work on protecting the elderly and making living more affordable for them.
“We have an elderly population in Cape, and rising property taxes are of concern to them,” Monaghan-Derrig said.
She said more affordable housing needs to be created and there needs to be more in-home care available. She said there will be specific legislation to help the elderly with these issues, called Keep ME Home.
Monaghan-Derrig said she also wants to work on issues that are affecting others in the population.
“I think it’s important for people to open their eyes and see that Maine has issues of poverty, drug abuse, and domestic violence,” she said.
She said these issues are “like one big circle” that keep affecting younger people and that she wants to help stop this circle.
Monaghan-Derrig said the environment is also of concern to her.
“The environment is very important to Cape,” she said. “We need to make sure we’re protecting the interests of Cape residents.”
Wilcox has lived in Cape Elizabeth since 2000 and works at Comfort Keepers, a senior home care company. Her background is in the medical field, where she used to work with children with cancer, and in social work.
Wilcox said she was an active volunteer in Cape schools and now volunteers with Mended Hearts, a program where people counsel heart surgery patients before and after surgery.
Wilcox said she has worked on many political campaigns as a volunteer and 20 years ago helped her friend run for Congress.
She said her work background would be helpful if she is elected.
“I think I can be a very different kind of legislator,” Wilcox said. “A social worker is trained to look at both sides of the issue, not just one. Some people don’t look at both sides.”
She said she’s able to stay neutral when working through problems.
“I think I have a different way of looking at problems so we don’t have to get into a downright fight,” she said.
Wilcox said an issue she wants to work on is protecting tax dollars.
“I’m concerned about spending and accountability with taxpayers’ money,” she said.
She said she also wants to look at government spending.
“I think we need to find ways to not allow for misuse, at times, of government funds,” Wilcox said.
She said her background would allow her to think about spending in a new way.
“I think it’s compassionate to look at the costs and the needs and I think my background allows me to do that,” she said.
Wilcox said many people are considering leaving Maine for a state with different taxes and she thinks something can be done to change this.
“If we could manage the money we had more responsibly with safety net provisions and accountability then we could decrease our taxes,” she said.
She said right now the state can’t attract new businesses because of taxes. She said if something doesn’t change, the tax problem will get worse.
“If we don’t lower taxes so people will stay, who will pay for everything?” Wilcox said.
Wilcox said she also cares about protecting the elderly.
“Alzheimer’s is a very expensive disease and it’s growing and we need to work at it,” she said. “Maine is going to have a very expensive problem.”
Wilcox said she also wants education to think more about teaching children about different cultures and preparing them to become citizens of the world. She said she likes the work Cape has done so far, but would like to see more of it.