South Portland Republican leaves the talking to incumbent House Democrat

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SOUTH PORTLAND — After one term, state Rep. Lois Galgay Reckitt, D-South Portland, said she is seeking re-election in House District 31 to pursue proposals on domestic violence and acts to help immigrants.

Her Republican challenger, Kenneth Decatur of South Portland, declined to be interviewed.

District 31 is the city’s northeast section, including the Knightville and Willard Beach neighborhoods.

Reckitt is a traditionally funded candidate and said her largest supporter is her 98-year-old uncle, Russell, who lives in North Carolina. She raised $9,600 according to the most recent data from the Maine Ethics Commission.

Reckitt, now retired, was the director of Family Crisis Services, now called Through These Doors, for 37 years, working to provide resources for individuals experiencing domestic violence.

With her background, Reckitt said she has secured a reputation as an expert in House on domestic violence. A bill she submitted to amend domestic violence laws died on the appropriations table, she said. The bill would have provided stricter sanctions for repeat offenses of violating a protection order, and created the crime of domestic violence aggravated assault, if the assault is on a pregnant person and the victim is a family or household member.

Apart from work on domestic violence issues, Reckitt said she is interested in researching methods to assist new Americans.

“We need them here, we need their energy, their skills, their demographic,” she said.

Reckitt said she is working with fellow Democratic candidate of South Portland, Victoria Morales, and an immigrant cultural program in Lewiston to learn how to be more proactively welcoming. She said providing education and English language learning for new residents is important.

She said she wants to work on curriculum development with local educational institutions to fast-track some certifications for immigrants who have professional degrees or are skilled in trades and unable to work in their previous field.

Reckitt supported the so-called red flag bill, that would have allowed a judge to order an individual’s firearms to be temporarily confiscated if the person is deemed to be a threat to themselves or another person. The act passed in both chambers, but was vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage. Reckitt said she also supports universal background checks.

She said people are hurting from property tax increases, including her own household, which has seen a 10 percent increase. She said she will seek methods to increase relief for senior citizens.

Reckitt said she is undecided about how she will vote on referendum Question 1, which would create a Universal Home Care Program to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, funded by a 3.8 percent tax on individuals and families with adjusted gross incomes above $128,400.

If the measure is approved at the polls, she added, the Legislature will likely amend the measure.

Juliette Laaka can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or at jlaaka@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JulietteLaaka. 

Age: 73

Residence: South Portland

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Family: Married

Occupation: Retired

Education: Bacehelor’s degree, Brandeis University; master’s degree in marine biology, Boston University

Political/civic experience: One term in House District 31. Served on statewide commissions for women, diversity, and on a compensation authority working to provide compensation for victims of sexual abuse at the Baxter School.

Website: https://legislature.maine.gov/housedems/reckittl/index.html

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