Election 2016: State Senate 26
State Senate District 26
Towns: Baldwin, Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, Standish, Windham
Incumbent: William Diamond (D)
Challenger: Ryan McDonald (R)
Master’s degree Education
American Legion Legislator of the Year Award
Former teacher, principal and superintendent of schools, Windham and Raymond
Small business owner 36 years
Former Maine Secretary of State, eight years
Co-founder and president Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors, buying fuel assistance for the needy
Author, The Evil and the Innocent, book about protecting and rescuing sexually-abused children.
Q1. Why did you decide to run for office/why did you decide to become involved in politics?
Diamond: There is so much to do in our state and I’m confident that I can help. I find it especially rewarding to help solve problems that my constituents bring to me. I’m eager to start working on the issues important to Maine, like more and better jobs, promoting small business and supporting education.
McDonald: Neither I, nor many others in my community, are represented in Augusta. I believe in our Constitution. I believe in property rights, the right to bear arms and the right to enjoy the fruits of your own labor. I don’t believe in highly centralized government or a powerful and unaccountable bureaucracy.
Q2. What strengths do you feel you bring to the position?
Diamond: As a small business owner, I fully understand the issues that are important for the success of businesses. As a former educator, I appreciate and understand the importance of education in our state and my experience in government will be a significant benefit to my senate district.
McDonald: I am steadfast in my beliefs. I am a friend to no party, interest group or lobby. I have no desire for power or to build a legacy. I only wish to do the work that needs to be done and return to my normal life.
Q3. How do you plan to make a difference?
Diamond: Using my experience, energy and desire to support my constituents will play a key role in making a difference as a state senator.
McDonald: I will be aggressive in my efforts to stop, minimize and repeal new regulation or legislation that further burdens or inhibits the right of our citizens.
Give your position on the following referendum questions:
Q4. Marijuana legalization?
Diamond: We are not ready as a state to deal with the necessary law enforcement that would accompany legalization. We do not yet have a threshold of operating under the influence due to marijuana consumption such as we do with alcohol (.08). Due to the massive drug problem we are now experiencing, for us to now legalize a drug that has been illegal seems contradictory. Legalization in Maine does not change the reality that it will still be a violation of federal law. I’ll vote “no.”
McDonald: This referendum question is misleading and poorly drafted. I am not a proponent of recreational marijuana use, however, that is not why I will be voting “no” on this question. This supports and funds an expansion of governmental control and the thing that concerns me the most is that the “tax and regulate” position doesn’t even address the potential dangers but instead says it is worth the risk because of the potential influx of tax revenue.
I am in favor of an individual’s privacy and the right to do what they want on their own property so long as it doesn’t put others in danger or encroach on the rights of others. This is a prime example of how the people referendum can be hijacked, which is why it is so important for voters to make sure they educate themselves.
Q5. Taxes on incomes over $200,000 for public education?
Diamond: There are serious problems with this referendum starting with the negative impact on small business owners, who file as Subchapter S businesses.
Also, I’m concerned the voters will be deceived because there’s no guarantee that the new income (from higher income taxes) will go to funding education as the bill states. In fact, the additional state income could very well follow in the same path as that of the previous referendum that required the state to pay 55% of local education costs — it didn’t happen.
No doubt some of the funds will be used elsewhere in the budget. Supporting education is important and so I will vote to give this option a chance.
McDonald: No, this is not about improving education, it is about wealth redistribution and if you read the proposal, you will see that the money being stolen from those who earned it isn’t even going to those districts that are most in need. This is a typical maneuver that exploits our children in order to fool voters into approving state sponsored theft. Our education system is broken in many ways, but this does nothing to improve it.
Q6. Background checks on gun sales?
Diamond: This referendum has serious problems especially in the area of loaning firearms to friends that would require unnecessary background checks.
Background checks are for the most part well intended and important, however, I will be voting “no” because this referendum is written contrary to our Maine hunting culture and our tradition of our sportsman heritage.
McDonald: No, laws like this don’t stop criminals from getting guns, it only affects law-abiding citizens. They aren’t the problem. This is a typical liberal approach to governing, never blame the perpetrators of crime, instead blame everyone else and punish them. The supporters of this ballot question don’t care about our right to defend ourselves from criminals that their liberal criminal justice reforms have turned loose on our streets.
Q7. Increase in the minimum wage?
Diamond: The bill will also need amending if passed. First, the tip credit, eliminating free tipping for food servers will significantly disadvantage food servers who work very hard for their income. I will vote for increasing the minimum wage because it’s time that was done, but will work to amend the tip credit section.
Also, state caps on paying for home care will need to be increased when the minimum wage reaches $12 per hour, otherwise home care agencies will not be able to afford to stay in business.
McDonald: No, this is a job killer. Minimum wage is not, nor was it ever meant to be a living wage. It is a starting place; you have to earn your way up from there. Free Market Capitalism is the surest path to prosperity for all.
Q8. Choice voting initiative?
Diamond: I oppose Rank Choice voting. I have evaluated this issue as the former Maine chief election official for eight years when I was Secretary of State. I have witnessed the election process from the smallest towns to the largest, from the top of the state to the bottom. I understand how the complete voting process works and I know that if Rank Choice voting is implemented, it will be extremely costly, much more than this is being stated. Candidates will be more likely to ask for recounts and if there is a statewide recount with multiple candidates, such as for governor, it could be a massive logistic nightmare.
McDonald: No, one person one vote, it is that simple.
Q9. Transportation bond?
Diamond: Our economy depends on a sound infrastructure.
McDonald: No, we need to stop the “bleeding.” Every time an issue like this comes up it seems to be approved because we all know that roads and bridges are important, but we need a better plan for infrastructure improvements. We need to stop just throwing money at it with few measurable results.
Q10. What do you feel are the three most important issues facing the state, and how should these matters be addressed?
Diamond: 1.) The increased cost of health care for businesses and their employees is going to be a huge problem and one that will require attention.
2.) Bringing new jobs to our area and the state is a high priority and that means focusing of ways to attract new businesses to come here.
3.) Taxes will need to be addressed with a special focus on finding ways to reduce local property taxes. Property taxes can be devastating especially if they are increased.
McDonald: Reassert state’s rights — The federal government has weaseled its way into every aspect of our lives. The EPA, Department of Education, IRS, USDA, Department of Justice and countless other unaccountable federal agencies are all over-stepping their bounds and interfering in our business. It’s time we pushed back and regain the power of self-determination.
Economy — In order to foster growth in Maine’s economy we need to make Maine more attractive to business and residents alike by reducing unnecessary, ineffective and redundant regulation, implementing a fair, consistent and streamlined taxation policy, reduce unnecessary and ineffective programs, mandate cost-saving measures across all state-funded programs, protect property rights and return to our citizens their rightful liberty and freedoms.
Final comment: Your opportunity to make any final comment or pitch to voters.
Diamond: We have witnessed an unprecedented toxic campaign season starting at the national level and coming down through to local political races. The members of the next legislature need to avoid bitterness and the temptation to exert revenge tactics held over from the campaigns. We must focus on solving the many problems facing Maine and work together as Democrats and Republicans we can do just that.
McDonald: If you like how things are going and feel that your senator is doing a superb job, then reelect him. If you are more interested in protecting your rights, your property and putting limitation on the role of government in your life, then it is time to try a different approach and send me to Augusta to fight the good fight on your behalf. I’m not a “photo-op” kind of guy. You won’t see me shaking hands and kissing babies, instead you will see me doing what truly needs to be done.