House 70 Primary: Richardson, Burnett seek Democratic bid

Warren Richardson

Warren Richardson, a local small businessman and community advocate, has announced that he is a candidate in the Democratic primary for election to the Maine House of Representatives for District #70, which includes Fryeburg, Brownfield, Lovell (most), Porter and Hiram.

Richardson has lived in House District #70 for 31 years, including 13 years in Lovell and the past 18 years in Fryeburg. During that time, he has served on the Lovell Planning Board, the board of directors of the United Way of Oxford County and as a trustee of the Fryeburg Water District. He currently sits on the Fryeburg Conservation Committee.

“The primary reason I am seeking election to the Maine State House is that I am concerned about the vast amounts of water that Nestlé Waters North America, under its Poland Spring brand, is taking from our aquifers,” Richardson said. “In addition to questions of sustainability and water quality, I am disturbed by both the low price that Nestlé pays for our water and by the conflicts of interest that have arisen as Nestlé expands its influence in our state.”

Richardson also supports Medicaid expansion in Maine: “The referendum question on whether to expand Medicare in Maine passed by large margins in the state and in every town in our district,” he notes. “It is time to honor the clearly expressed will of the people and to fund this expansion now, especially as our rural hospitals need the extra revenue to remain healthy.”

As a small businessman with over four decades of experience in the miniatures industry, Richardson sees his background as an asset in the effort to spur economic development in western Maine.

“Every year, 400 to 500 small and organic farms open in Maine, including many in our district. I know from experience the difficulties that many of these operations face when it comes to accessing credit and markets. We need to support these wholesome small businesses through appropriate legislation,” he said.

Richardson supports promoting cross-laminated timber (CLT, or high-tech timber) production as a way to bring sustainable manufacturing to the region and new markets for loggers. He notes that high tech timber production releases only 15% of the greenhouse gas emissions as compared to traditional construction materials such as concrete and steel.

Richardson is running as a Maine Clean Elections Act candidate, which means that his campaign is funded under the provisions of the Act and that he cannot accept any private or special interest money.

“The corrosive power of big money in politics now means that our state legislatures are all too often at the mercy of the highest bidder. This has serious implications for our country and its ability to remain a truly representative democracy where every person counts, no matter how humble,” he added.

Nate Burnett

Nate Burnett of Hiram, a Democrat, is running for the Maine House of Representative’s District 70 seat, which includes Brownfield, Fryeburg, Hiram, Lovell (part) and Porter.

He is a teacher at Sacopee Valley High School.

“I am running for office to become more involved in education policy at the state level. I regard education as critical for the wellbeing of both Maine’s youth and our collective future,” he said. “I want to prepare students for a future that’s already here, so they have the skills we know they’re going to need. I teach math and computer science; my current classes are making me more aware of the changing nature of work in our state and society. We need to have serious discussion at the state (and national) level about the societal disruptions we are sure to see as automation becomes more cost effective and widespread.”

Burnett graduated from Presque Isle High School and then the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

According to his website, in 2012, Burnett began teaching math at Sacopee Valley High School and last year bought a home in the district.

“I am proud to call Hiram home. I consider myself a lifelong learner and try to instill that mentality in the students I am lucky enough to teach. This last fall, in the evenings after school, but before beginning this campaign, I traveled in to Portland twice a week to learn about Complex Analysis and expand my mathematical skill set,” he said.

Why run for state representative?

“The main reason I’m running is to be more involved in education statewide. I feel that the roll out of standards-based education has been a mess with unclear expectations, too few guidelines and very little accountability. Basically, all the problems of a bad standards-based assignment have been present in the implementation of the process. In the effort to adopt common graduation standards across the state every district is doing something different and there is nothing common about the outcome,” he said. “I also want to hold the legislature accountable for not honoring the will of the voters last term with Question 2 (3% tax on the 1% to fund schools to 55% as per state law since 2004) and for not enacting ranked choice voting from this last election.”

Lastly, and on a slightly larger scale, “I am concerned about the future of work in our society with respect to automation and the efficiencies that brings. I teach AP Computer Science Principles and would like to see more requirements for our students to be made aware of the possibilities in their future. Everyone should be learning to code,” he said.

For more information, check his website at nrlburnett.com. The primary is June 12.

Burnett plans to meet with District 70 residents on April 21 at the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell.

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