TOPSHAM — Two Republican candidates are competing in a June 10 primary in Maine House District 54.
Susan Dolan, of Barrows Drive, and Kim Talbot, of West Schoolhouse Crossing Road, are seeking the GOP nod in the district.
The seat is currently held by state Rep. Andrew Mason, D-Topsham, who is seeking a second term. Mason is unopposed in the primary, as is Daniel Stromgren, a Maine Green Independent.
This marks the first campaign for elected office for both Talbot and Dolan.
Talbot, 53, has lived in Topsham for about 28 years. She and her husband have two children, and run A&T Fuel, a home heating oil business. Talbot also works at the Great Impasta in Brunswick.
Dolan, who said she is in her 60s, is a semi-retired social worker who has been nationally certified as a community health educator. She has lived in Topsham for 17 years, and she and her husband have four sons.
Talbot said her inspiration to run “really came from the fact that we’ve always been involved. I’ve always had an interest there, and felt that possibly sometime I would run” for an elected office.
Dolan said she is running in part because she is tired of talking back to the TV or computer when she watches the news.
“I want to be a voice, and hopefully reset the direction the country’s leaning into,” she explained. “I believe in constitutional stability, not fluidity.”
Dolan said she is just getting her feet wet in the political realm, and that she sees getting involved in state politics as a good way to start.
Had she served in the most recent session of the Legislature, Dolan said she would have voted against more funding for Planned Parenthood, because the agency performs legal abortions. “It’s the murder of a fellow human being, and supporting that is not what the taxpayer money should be going for,” Dolan said.
According to the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England website, the organization receives both state and federal funding for its education programs and medical services. Nicole Clegg, the organization’s director of public affairs, said Wednesday that the funding does not pay for abortions.
“I think the biggest thing is just to bring a fresh perspective, and not bring the partisanship,” Talbot said. “At the state level, at the national level, I don’t know where we’ve gone wrong with all of that.”
She said she has liberal and conservative friends alike, and “in our core, we all want the same thing, and somehow we’ve got to get back to that, and really look at the different perspectives and try to solve the problems of the state of Maine, and make people feel good about government again.”
Both candidates said jobs are a major issue.
Dolan said she supports finding ways to encourage business start-ups, and favors Gov. Paul LePage’s “attitude that jobs are necessary,” and that people need to be looking for a job before they receive welfare.
“I’m faced with two kids that are in college,” Talbot said. “One’s graduating, and the mantra coming out of college maybe seven, eight years ago was ‘what job do you have?’ Now it’s ‘do you have a job?’ And I really want my kids to be able to stay in the state.”
Along with economic growth, government efficiency is also important for Talbot. “Cleaning up processes and getting rid of government waste,” she said. “That just … comes from running your own business, and always evaluating our costs … and trying to make things run more smoothly, and with less money going out.”
Fiscal responsibility is also important to Dolan, who emphasized the necessity of a balanced budget.
“No individual or family is going to be able to exist indefinitely without keeping their bills paid, and the government needs to act that way as well,” she explained. “We have to be prudent in how we handle the limited finances we have.”
Bear hunting is another issue that concerns Dolan, who opposes a statewide referendum that would outlaw the use of baiting, dogs and traps by bear hunters. “I support the position of the hunters who want to continue to properly manage the bear population in the state,” she said. “… I believe it’s been done fairly humanely.”
On why she makes a good candidate, Dolan said, “I’m pretty stable in my decision making. I’m seasoned as an individual and citizen.”
Talbot said she brings a fresh perspective, and too brings a lot of life experience to the table. Education and hard work have formed her core, she said, “and hopefully I’ll be able to bring that, and do some good things” in Augusta.