CAPE ELIZABETH — Two residents who are new to politics are vying for the seat in House District 30 this November.
Voters in District 30, which represents nearly all of Cape Elizabeth, except for a sliver along the South Portland border that’s part of District 32, will on Nov. 6 chose between Republican candidate Charles “Peter” Rich and Democrat Anne Carney.
The seat will soon be vacated by Democratic state Rep. Kimberly Monaghan, who after eight years of service, will be termed out office in November.
If elected, Carney said the issues she’d like to focus on would include protecting the environment, in part by reducing reliance on fossil fuels; improving the state’s funding formula for education; growing Maine’s economy through job creation, and providing access to quality, affordable health care.
Carney said she’s in favor of Medicaid expansion, which was passed by voters through a statewide referendum last fall and ordered by the courts, but stonewalled by LePage.
“I think it’s an important step for Maine to take,” she said. “Our federal tax dollars are paying for Medicaid expansions in other states and I think it’s important for us to be on an even playing field with those other states and utilize the federal resources that are available.”
This, she said, would also bring resources to Maine to help treat substance use disorders. Additionally, she’d like to see the legislature implement programs to provide behavioral and medical care to combat the opioid crisis.
She added that the bill would help keep rural hospitals and health centers viable by providing a reimbursement mechanism for their patients.
Even with that in place, Carney said there’s much more to be done to insure quality, affordable health care to Mainers, specifically primary care to children to provide a “level playing field.”
“One thing I’d like to do is work on insuring children in Maine … (and) enact a program that would cover Maine children through high school graduation,” she said.
Carney said the administration under Governor Paul LePage has put up “roadblocks” to renewable energy, such as a surcharge on electric and hybrid vehicles.
“Not having those roadblocks in place promotes both environmental protection and growing Maine’s economy,” she said.
In terms of growing the economy, Carney said she’d also like to see the state develop a state-wide high-speed internet system and improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, which are the kinds of initiatives “on a basic level that will promote that growth.”
In addition to looking at the funding formula for state aid to education for K-12 grade, Carney would also like to explore restoring funding to Maine community colleges.
Carney said she is not in favor of Question 1 on this year’s statewide ballot, which would establish universal home care for the elderly and disabled by imposing a tax on those making at least $128,400 a year, because she doesn’t think it’s “appropriate” to take on major initiatives like that in a “piecemeal way without the benefit of the thoughtful process that the legislation goes through … that leads to good and effective lawmaking.”
A priority for the district and state, Carney said, is preventing gun violence.
“There are really important safety measures we can take,” Carney said, noting the “red flag law” which permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.
Both her volunteer and her professional experience – which she said has taken her to “every corner of the state,” representing municipalities, companies and individuals – would make her a valuable asset to the House of Representatives.
“In addition to my deep community knowledge, I also have a broad knowledge about the state,” she said. “That is a great perspective for legislative service.”
Rich said he decided to run for a seat in the House because he too feels his volunteer experience in and around Cape Elizabeth, as well as his 36 years with Bath Iron works, which took him around the country, would allow him to contribute informed opinions to the legislature.
“I loved my work and it made a difference,” Rich, who retired last year, said. “I’d like to continue to do something worth while.”
His top priority should he be elected, he said, would be strengthen Maine’s economy and improve the state’s equity.
Rich said he’d like to see the the state explore options to do so by “going to its strengths.” One “high-level” example he noted for how this could be done would be replacing plastic bags with “Maine-made paper bags.”
“It’s that sort of thinking we need to undertake,” Rich said. “(We need) to be creative.”
Rich also said school districts, municipalities and the state could be more efficient with their resources by pairing down administrative staff and representatives.
“We should consolidate the government in Maine and put money back into the general fund,” Rich said, noting that there are 151 districts in Maine.
Administrative positions, Rich said, could likely be minimized or merged in today’s technologically “wired world.”
He suggested large businesses in the area selecting an executive to teach at local high schools for eight months a year as a way for schools to save funding in staffing and give students “good outside perspective.”
Rich said funding for education is the biggest issue he sees facing the district, as well as many others in the state. He said it needs to be “made clear” two to three years in advance how much each municipality will be receiving in state aid, rather than a few months before their expected to adopt an annual budget. Recent district representatives, he added, have done a “poor job” advocating for that.
“You can’t run a business like that and you can’t run a school district like that,” Rich said.
In terms of the opioid crisis, Rich said he was happy the state passed a bill that allows pharmacists to prescribe and dispense naloxone to anyone of any age, but thinks the Legislature to now look further into what they can do to provide a more “hollistic” approach to treating those with substance abuse disorders through every step of recovery.
Other than access to treatment, Rich said the state and country, should take a hard look at controlling who and what substances are entering the country by increasing security at its borders.
Like Carney, Rich said he was not in favor of Question 1 on November’s statewide ballot because he would also like to see the initiative go through the normal legislative process, rather than a petition-driven referendum.
Further, he said there are more “innovative ways” to utilize state and federal tax dollars.
In health-care, Rich said, there should be low-cost free-market solutions that could be purchased across state lines.
He said he is not in favor of the Medicaid expansion, noting that there has been outstanding opposition to the question from major players in the health-care industry.
“There’s no (unity) on this from … health-care employees,” Rich said. “The goal is noble, but the idea is foolish.”
Residency: Angell Point Road, Cape Elizabeth
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Family: Married, three children
Occupation: Attorney at Norman, Hanson, & DeTroy, LLC, volunteer attorney with Pine Tree Legal Assistance
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Haverford College; J.D., University of Maine School of Law; Master of Theological Studies, Harvard University
Political/civic experience: Board member of Cape Elizabeth Land Trust; former member, Thomas Memorial Library Board of Trustees, Cape Elizabeth Personnel Appeals Board, Two Lights Road Bicycle Path Committee; former volunteer with Cape Girls Lacrosse and Coastal Maine Aquatics
Website/social media: www.anneformaine.com, Facebook , Instagram @anneformaine
Residency: Cottage Farms Road, Cape Elizabeth
Party Affiliation: Republican
Family: Married, two children
Occupation: Retired from Bath Iron Works
Education: University of Southern Maine School of Applied Science degree in Industrial Technology, apprentice graduate from the Bath Iron Works Apprentice School