Election 2016: House District 117
House District 117
Towns: Andover, Bethel, Byron, Eustis, Gilead, Greenwood, Hanover, Lovell (parts of), Newry, Rangeley, Stoneham, Stow, Upton, Plantations of Coplin, Dallas, Lincoln, Magalloway and Rangeley, plus the unorganized territories of North Franklin, North Oxford, South Oxford (including Albany and Mason Townships), and West Central Franklin.
Incumbent: Frances Head (R)
Challenger: Sidney Pew (D)
Member, Bethel Town Budget Committee
Director, Oxford County Soil and Water
District president, Bethel Seniors Group Founder, Crescent Park Reading Program
Former Bethel Comprehensive Planning Committee
Seniors Plus Advisory Board,
Gilead Board of Selectmen
Oxford County Budget Committee
Personal information: Married; hobbies include reading, cooking, spending time with family.
Clean Election candidate
Committee assignment: It has been an honor to serve on the Health and Human Services Committee for my first term. This opportunity has allowed me to see firsthand how important it is to ensure that our limited state funds are going to those who truly need the help.
Sidney Pew is a small business owner and a former member of the Andover Educational Fund and the SAD 44 School Board (representing Andover for nearly 20 years).
In 2013, Sidney was the recipient of the Department of Education’s Commissioner’s Recognition Award for his commitment to the importance of the SAD 44 Dropout Prevention Committee. He chaired the Finance and Negotiations Committees for many years and led the board as its chairman during his final years of service.
Sidney and his wife Eileen raised two children, Esther and Elek, in the home they built on Farmers Hill in East Andover.
Sidney is the owner of King Kong Services Inc., a window cleaning company that specializes in Veteran Administration Medical Centers, local hospitals, residences, and businesses.
Q1. Why did you decide to run for office/why did you decide to become involved in politics?
Head: One of the biggest problems I see in Augusta is the power and control that wealthy special interests have over the lawmaking process. There is a need for a candidate that understands real life problems and how to deal with them in a manner that results in positive outcomes. With my life experiences, I know it takes a very strong person to be able to listen and assist in people’s concerns.
Pew: I decided to run for office and become involved in politics because many politicians today are actually anti-politic people, who refuse compromise and block the legislative process. I believe that finding common ground and compromise begins with the mutual understanding of differences. I am committed to working through individual differences and coming to an agreement regarding the issues. This process improves chances for success, where each person is satisfied with the costs and benefits of the results.
Q2. What strengths do you feel you bring to the position?
Head: My strengths are quite simple — I listen to my constituents’ concerns, due the necessary diligence and give a direction for the constituent to pursue. I plan to follow up with any people that I have assisted. I am a very approachable person and very often put others’ needs above my own. Representing working families in Oxford and Franklin Counties have been and will continue to be my top priority.
Pew: I have always been willing to listen and never afraid to act. Before I speak on a subject, I do my homework and find out the facts.
Q3. How do you plan to make a difference?
Head: I pledge to do whatever it takes to control state spending, reform welfare, protect senior citizen services, and improve education for all Maine people.
Pew: I plan on making a difference by acknowledging that a good idea is a good idea no matter where it originates.
Give your position on the following referendum questions:
Q4. Marijuana legalization?
Head: “No” on Question 1. I worry about the access of any drug, and we need to learn more from other states that have legalized marijuana.
Q5. Taxes on incomes over $200,000 for public education?
Head: If this referendum is passed, the poorest school districts in Maine wouldn’t see any benefit, and the richest districts would continue to expand. We should be focused on the funding formula to reform public education, instead of this massive new tax proposal. “No” on Question 2.
Q6. Background checks on gun sales?
Head: “No.” You shouldn’t need to be subjected to paperwork and fees if you let a friend or family member borrow a firearm. I proudly cosponsored LD 652, the Constitutional Carry Bill, because I pledged to my constituents two years ago that Maine is an example of a state with a high rate of gun ownership, and a low rate of gun violence. As a state representative, I support policies that will keep things this way, without burdensome hassles.
Pew: Against. I support the need for background checks, but Question 3 leaves the question of temporarily loaning a gun to a non-family member open to debate as to the implications.
Q7. Increase in the minimum wage?
Head: Make no mistake on Question 4. I feel that if this passes, mandating the minimum wage would devastate local businesses throughout the entire state, especially in the hospitality, tourism and manufacturing industries. We can grow Maine’s economy by making it easier for employers to increase jobs, not decrease them. “No” on Question 4.
Q8. Choice voting initiative?
Head: “No.” Imagine how much more elections would cost if the State of Maine mandated this unconstitutional experiment. Elections are expensive enough as it is, and making up a new way of counting votes, where the losing candidate’s supporters get to vote twice, isn’t consistent with our one person, one vote system of electing our leaders
Q9. Transportation bond?
Head: No response provided.
Q10. What do you feel are the three most important issues facing the state, and how should these matters be addressed?
Head: We have to keep the focus on encouraging more job growth for rural Maine. This is why I supported $13,500,000 for Maine’s Pulp and Paper Industry to make sure that our pulp trucks keep rolling and our mills stay open. We can do so much more to support small businesses.
Pew: Food Insecurity — According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in Maine 25% of children and almost 6% of seniors are food insecure. Food insecurity is linked to economic insecurity. Increase availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in SNAP benefits and the National School Lunch Program. Also, investing in agricultural research to increase local food production could help address this issue.
Integrating social services with medical treatment. Spending on social services such as nutrition and shelter that improve health, decreases more expensive medical treatment and care.
We are in need of more training for medical professionals. Outpatient treatment centers need to be accepted and created or more incarceration and hospitalization will occur. It costs up to $50,000 to incarcerate and less then $5,000 for outpatient treatment.