District #13: Ordway and Hastings

Laura Ordway of Bridgton is challenging incumbent Dave Hastings of Fryeburg for the District #13 State Senate seat.

Answers are arranged alphabetically.

Q.  Why did you decide to run for office and what strengths would you bring to the position?

Dave Hastings

Hastings: I continue to run for office because I love Western Maine and want to help create an economy with decent jobs that will allow our children to stay and raise their own families in this beautiful place.

I bring six years of solid experience working for my district and rural Maine. My agreement with the Commissioner of Education was instrumental in keeping our local school districts intact. My work on the Judiciary Committee to preserve access to justice in rural Maine prevented the threatened closure of the Bridgton District Court. I fought in the Senate against the 102 new sales taxes the Democratic majority passed this spring, which fortunately were defeated at the ballot in June.  My focus will be on new jobs – not new taxes.

Ordway: I was raised in a family which always valued public service, but before the honor of being asked to run, I never entertained the idea of becoming a candidate for Maine’s District 13. As a mother with young daughters, I hesitated before ultimately deciding that I did want to help create a better future for my children and all of the children of Maine by running for the State Senate. The connection I have with this community and with western Maine will be my strength as a legislator. People want to be heard and I plan to listen and work for them, not party interests. People want elected officials to stop arguing and get things done.

Q. How do you feel about the emotional climate (primarily discontent) that presently exists amongst the populace toward politics, and how would you make a difference?

Hastings: I am hearing this discontent as I campaign.  Hard working people, often with more than one job, are fearful and angry with our state government, long controlled by Democrats, which seems more interested in raising taxes to fuel ever expanding entitlement programs rather than working to create jobs to get people back to work.

As a Republican I will work to change this focus, but I do not believe in confrontational politics.  I believe I have earned the reputation in Augusta as a Senator who listens, who can work across the aisle and who treats everyone with respect and courtesy.

Ordway: I am also frustrated with the current state of politics, though I tend to be more optimistic then angry. Raised by a Republican father and independent mother, I chose to become a Democrat, which means I’ve been learning my whole life how to negotiate with the “other side”. Strict partisanship does not represent this district well. I will listen to the people and represent their community interests, especially when that means working across the aisle in the State House.

Laura Ordway

Q. What do you feel are the three major issues facing the state at this time, and what would you do, if elected, to address these areas?

Hastings: There is one overriding issue and that is improving Maine’s economy and getting people back to work. The three most important things that I will work on to do this are:

First, to attract economic investment we need to reform our regulatory environment. I will work, not to get rid of good regulations, but make it simpler and faster to navigate the process. It’s a question of a change in attitude to create regulatory road maps, not roadblocks.

Second, we need to reduce Maine’s high tax status. I will support using future surpluses, when they come, to buy down our income tax rate, and will oppose any new tax increases as I have in the past.

Third, to make it possible to reduce our tax burden, but still protect those in need, I will support reforms in our welfare system, to create a residency waiting period for benefits, and to create a tiered system of benefits so that people getting back to work are phased off their benefits gradually while they get back on their feet. We should be giving a hand up, not a handout.

Ordway: The rural, yet populated parts of Maine, such as the Lakes Region and Oxford Hills areas often get overlooked in the State’s big picture. The major issues facing District 13 are: small business growth, the iniquity of the EPS Education Funding system and bulk groundwater extraction. Recovery from this recession will not be from the government, it will be from the growth of small businesses. I will work for lower taxes and better access to credit for small businesses. The EPS Education Funding system was based on a model for large urban or suburban schools. The smaller and rural nature of the schools in District 13 have been adversely affected by this funding model. The EPS funding model is currently under review and I plan to ensure any modification recommendations from the Department of Education include tax relief for District 13. Our access to fresh drinking water for the people of Maine for generations to come and the accountability of large companies which sell hundreds of millions of gallons of our groundwater is one of my main concerns. The people of Maine, not foreign companies, need to be setting the guidelines in order to maintain the health of our aquifers and setting the price for the extraction of our groundwater from our state.

Q. Is the proposed casino a good idea or bad idea for Maine?

Hastings: I support the proposed Casino in Oxford County.  It would not be my first choice for economic development, but it is the one choice we have right now.  With unemployment at 10% in Oxford Hills, we need the jobs a casino will bring now.  It will still be up to local voters to approve any casino in their town.  I am also encouraged that Bangor has not experienced any serious problems, and received positive benefits, as the home of Hollywood Slots.

Ordway: While I am not enthusiastic about the idea of a casino in Oxford County, I have talked to hundreds of unemployed people in the district who have overwhelmingly asked me to support this particular project due to the jobs it will provide. To represent the voice of the district I have to set aside my personal preference on this issue and move forward with what I am hearing directly from the voters. I would like to see where the developers plan to build and who would be the operator if approved. What is good for Maine are projects that provide many unemployed and under-employed people with hope for a better future.

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