SOUTH PORTLAND — A two-time state representative and a first-time political candidate are unopposed on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Lois Galgay Reckitt, a 71-year-old Democrat and political newcomer, is unopposed for the District 31 seat in the House of Representatives. Rep. Scott Hamann, D-South Portland, is unopposed for re-election in District 32.
Galgay Reckitt was the executive director of Family Crisis Services for 36 years before retiring last year, and has been active in issues related to domestic violence, women’s rights and the LGBT communities.
Regarding any possible action the Legislature could take against Gov. Paul LePage based on his past behavior, including most recently leaving a threatening voicemail for state Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, Galgay Reckitt said, “I was outraged (and) distressed that the current legislators were blocked from dealing with the (issue). But, what action should or could be legally taken remains to be fully understood.”
In dealing with the opioid crisis facing the state, Galgay Reckitt said “the response needs to be threefold – criminal justice, prevention and treatment based. Of those three, the most critical, to me, is to support and create treatment alternatives. Their lack is inexcusable.”
When it comes to the No. 1 problem facing the Legislature, she said, it’s “finding ways to create jobs for Maine workers capable of supporting families.”
In this year’s presidential election, Galgay Reckitt is backing Democrat Hillary Clinton, whom she said she “strongly supports.”
There are six statewide referendum questions on the ballot this fall and Galgay Reckitt said she’s in favor of most of the questions, as well as a bond, which would invest in infrastructure and research and development.
In terms of legalizing marijuana for recreational use by those 21 and older, she said, “I am conflicted and am considering the concerns of law enforcement and educators carefully before making my (final) decision” on how to vote.
When she gets to Augusta, Galgay Reckitt said her primary concerns would be related to criminal justice issues, as well as the marine environment.
Hamann, 35, has a master’s degree in business from the University of Southern Maine and works as a project manager at the Good Shepherd Food Bank.
He has served on the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee, and the Health and Human Services Committee.
Addressing whether the Legislature could or should take action against Gov. Paul LePage, Hamann said he would fully support anything the governing body could do “to hold the governor accountable for his erratic and disturbing behavior.”
But he went even further and said LePage “ought to resign, and if he is unwilling, I will support efforts to compel him to vacate the office and begin the healing process for the state of Maine.”
Hamann said opioids are “killing Mainers and destroying lives. Not only are people getting addicted at an increasing rate, overdose deaths are increasing along with rates of drug affected births.”
Meanwhile, he argued, “two primary tools to deal with these issues have been opposed by some who don’t understand that addiction is a disease.”
Hamann said he would support increasing access to naloxone, which is often used to counteract a drug overdose, and he would also work toward increasing access to treatment.
When it comes to the No. 1 issue facing the Legislature, he said it’s “clearly dysfunction, but I’m more interested in focusing on the No. 1 problem facing the state of Maine – food insecurity. We have the highest rate of hunger in New England (and) food insecurity touches all aspects of our society and our economy.
“Sadly, child hunger has risen year after year since 2010 when Gov. LePage took office. Yet hunger is preventable. It’s a choice our state makes through its policies.”
Hamann added, “This is solvable. I have worked on this issue in depth during my time in the Legislature (and) next session I am supporting partnerships between the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture to fully meet the needs of food insecure families and communities.”
In this year’s presidential election, Hamann said he was an early supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont. But, he said, “I am enthusiastically voting for (Hillary) Clinton in November. She is the most qualified person to ever seek the presidency, and she will make a tremendous commander-in-chief.”
Hamann said he supports all six statewide referendum questions.
When he gets back to Augusta, Hamann said, one of his priorities would be “advancing solar energy legislation, something that our forward-thinking city (of South Portland) has been on the cutting edge of for years.”