At the Polls: House District 101
House District 101: Casco, Naples and parts of Poland.
The Candidates: With incumbent Rich Cebra reaching his term limit, the candidates for House District 101 are Republican Laurie Mondville and Democrat Christine Powers.
Their Positions: The News asked the candidates the following questions (answers arranged alphabetically):
Q. Gridlock is a problem, so how do you propose to overcome partisan politics?
Mondville: I disagree with the notion that there is gridlock in Augusta, with Republican leadership and with overwhelming bipartisan votes, in the last two years major reforms have been passed — welfare reform, health insurance market reform, tax reform, the Maine Turnpike and Maine State Housing have been reformed after decades of mismanagement and corruption under Democrat control.
My opponent talks about “restoring balance” in Augusta, under Republican leadership nearly four decades of Democrat mismanagement are finally beginning to be balanced with common sense free market solutions, returning balance to Maine state government for the people of Maine. I want to continue that work of giving control of Maine back to the people and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and Maine. My opponent won’t do that.
Powers: I am currently serving in my 11th year on the town of Naples Board of Selectmen. In those years, I have gained a great deal of experience regarding municipal and state law. Our board has worked together very well to find the best solutions for the citizens of Naples despite our differing political affiliations.
In this political climate, it is crucial to have elected officials who are willing to listen to ideas from all sides and find the best solution to move forward for all constituents, not just those who voted for them.
Q. What characteristics would you bring to the position that would make you an effective politician?
Mondville: I am a passionate and honest person that can effectively get my point across. I am a terrific negotiator and a creative thinker. I am able to quickly re-plan as needed and I always try to have a contingent plan available. I am reliable and I will be there when I am needed. I do very well under pressure and stress. I thrive in this type of environment. I can be an “out of the box” kind of thinker and I work well as a team. I am also a leader and I am able to move people along with me. I am an independent thinker and I am detail orientated.
I will not vote for something I do not understand. If I do not understand it, I will ask questions, get more details and admit I need more time or help. I am not afraid to say I don’t know, but I will find out. I am open and willing to take calls from all of my constituents when they need to contact me. I am able to look at the big picture of what is going on and I am able to see flaws or anticipate outcomes.
I am the leader that District 101 needs; one that is honest, one that is passionate about what she believes, one that is informed before making the final judgment and one that will work tirelessly for you.
Powers: I have been honored to serve the people of Naples for over 10 years. I have worked and volunteered in this community for over 18 years and hope to have the opportunity to bring that work ethic, knowledge and experience to Augusta for the next two years.
Q. What do you believe are the three major issues facing the state, and how would you propose to address them?
Mondville: Of course, the economy is one of the major issues. We are improving, but more needs to be done. Maine needs to reduce regulation, reduce taxes and move out of the way for small business to thrive and hire new employees. Maine needs to put our citizens back to work.
My constituents have voiced that the high personal income tax in Maine is causing undue burden upon them. Some have even stated that they have to maintain residency in other states because of this. Reducing the state’s income tax rate is very important to them and many Maine residents.
The size of state government has grown out of control in the last two decades and we must continue to reduce the size of government. We can do this if we create a better business climate to encourage economic growth. We are constitutionally bound to balance budget and we should never accept budget tricks or gimmicks to achieve a balanced budget. The best way to raise these revenues is by getting more business into Maine. This does not mean increasing the taxes on these businesses or on any Mainer! Quite the contrary, if a solid pro-business plan is implemented, we can do more with less and attract more businesses, which will naturally bring more revenue. This can only be done with leadership and vision. We need to be willing to think outside the box and continue the good work of fiscal responsibility that Maine has seen in Augusta in the last two years.
Another very important issue is how to attract small business back to our state and how to help Maine residents start up new businesses. We need to move toward making our state a more business friendly community. Bringing more small business into Maine will help boost the tax base to allow the personal income tax reduction. Attracting small business is important to our state’s success for the future.
We need consistency in our policies. We need to do this by reducing the onerous regulations, increasing the incentives to come to Maine, getting government out of our existing businesses way and decreasing the tax burden. Attracting more small business will bring more residents to the state eager to find good paying jobs. In addition, this improved climate can increase the tourism industry that Maine depends on and will provide more opportunities for our local young people to stay here in Maine.
Powers: Finding a way to improve the economic position for the middle class is an issue that must be addressed immediately. This can be addressed with overall tax relief and attracting more jobs to the state. We can start by improving infrastructure with our roads and moving to a stronger digital infrastructure with broadband Internet access.
Improving the public education of our children is crucial at this juncture. We need to return our focus on choosing to fight for our public schools. We must work together for solutions on improving the education of our children, as well as supporting our teachers. Healthy and productive public schools are crucial to the health and productivity of our community.
Maine is in many ways “the way life should be” because of our environment. I will work to protect the precious balance of Maine’s ecosystem by ensuring that the standards set in place already for that protection are upheld.
Q. What will you do to better serve your constituents in western Maine?
Mondville: I will have many ways for my constituents to contact me including Facebook, e-mail, telephone, a web page, and surveys. I will be readily available to discuss issues and do everything I can to better serve (the public). I encourage suggestions for helping me to smooth the way for easy access. I want to serve all of my constituents and be their voice in Augusta.
Powers: Over the past several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from the members of this community across party lines. So many people, whether they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents have expressed their appreciation of the work that I have done as a public official and have said that they will support me on Nov. 6 with their vote. I will work to represent their best interests and ensure that we have made steps forward in restoring balance and that the state’s economic growth is moving in the right direction.
Q. How do we balance the needs of people (such as health care, education, etc.) while trying to balance the state’s budget?
Mondville: We balance this need by reducing the size of government and heavy regulation. We pass good reforms that protect our citizens. We continue the hard work the 125th Legislature did. We increase revenue by bringing more businesses to Maine and putting Maine citizens back to work.
Powers: Maine’s middle class is paying too much. Restoring balance in Augusta is first and foremost to restoring balance to the needs of the people. Working together to review what programs can be trimmed down and what programs need more support is crucial. Out-of-state corporations are given huge tax breaks while the middle class is asked to pick up the slack. We need to review our business tax breaks and revisit the idea of all wage earners paying their fair share of the tax burden.