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Senate District 8: Doyle challenges Portland incumbent Alfond

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Senate District 8: Doyle challenges Portland incumbent Alfond

PORTLAND — State Sen. Justin Alfond, a Democrat, is running for a second term representing District 8 in the Legislature against Republican Peter Doyle.

Both candidates are residents of Munjoy Hill. District 8 includes the peninsula, the islands, the University of Southern Maine neighborhood, and the western neighborhoods along Congress Street and Brighton Avenue to the Westbrook line.

Sen. Justin Alfond

Alfond, 35, lives on Sheridan Street with his wife, Rachael. He is a real estate and business entrepreneur and a partner in the recently opened Bayside Bowl.

During his first term, Alfond backed several education-related bills, including a so-called "virtual learning" bill to help create different avenues for education besides the traditional classroom approach, and a bill that creates a firm deadline by which 90 percent of high school students in Maine would have to graduate.

If re-elected, Alfond said he wants to continue working on education issues. He said he plans to propose a bill that would create a standard curriculum for every grade in the state's public schools and also a bill that would mandate standards for all pre-school programs in Maine.

Alfond said he'd also like to work on a state policy for on-line textbooks, so students could access current information, rather than "textbooks from 1983."

Outside of education, Alfond said he wants to see an easier and more efficient application process for opening businesses and renewing business and liquor licenses.

He said he would also like to work on increasing the amount of used oil that is recycled into biofuel.

Peter Doyle

Doyle, 46, lives on Cumberland Avenue and is a software developer. He ran unsuccessfully in state House District 120 in 2008.

Doyle said he would like to see Portland get more money back from the state, since the city is responsible for a large chunk of the state's revenue. He said he would propose a specific share to be returned to the city, for example one-fifth of the state sales tax that the city contributes.

"The state doesn't need to have control over all that," Doyle said, suggesting the city could use it to pay for education and to fund city services.

The state government should be forced to live within its means, Doyle said, and could follow the example of other states. For example, he said, Pennsylvania saved $14 million by putting out a single bid for office supplies for the state instead of the 2,000 separate contracts it had.

"We need to be creative," he said.

He also said state workers need to be forced to start contributing to funding their own pensions, in light of the $4.4 billion shortfall in state pensions Maine is currently facing.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net