On the Ballot: Richard Cebra vs. Janice Barter for House District 68

Rich Cebra

House District 68 — Incumbent Richard Cebra (R) against Janice Barter (D). D68 towns within the BN coverage area include: Baldwin, Naples and Sebago.

Candidate: Richard M. “Rich” Cebra, Incumbent

Age: Mid 50s

Political Party: Republican

Family: Married 27 years, two grown children and a daughter-in-law living in Naples, grandson in Naples

Education: BS in Theology, Liberty University (pending).

Occupation: Local business owner, legislator, student

Organizations: Church, Town of Naples, Republican Party, NRA life member, Gun Owners of Maine

Honors: Numerous awards and recognition for public service since 2004

Website: richcebra.com

Q.1 — What qualities would you bring to the position? Hard work, loyalty, consistency, important political relationships built over almost two decades in various offices serving our communities, and a wealth of varied experience combined with an ability to build relationships.

Q.2 — How do you plan to contact/keep constituents up to date on issues? The same way I have done over 10 years in the legislature, wrote 80-plus articles in The Bridgton News over the years, Facebook page, regular co-host on Portland morning radio news talk radio, newsletters, questionnaires, just being available all the time for people the way I always have been, attend a lot of meetings.

Q.3 — How can the state strengthen education? First, our education system in this state is way too administration heavy. More money needs to get into the classrooms. Second, we have to stop this nonsense idea that more money equals better educated kids. Clearly it does not, or the $18,357 cost per student we spend in Lake Region High School each year would get a much bigger bang for the buck. Third, we need to get back to supporting local control options. Fourth, we need more technical and trade schools. We are facing a huge shortage of people in the trades five to 10 years from now, that will have serious implications on all of our everyday lives.

Q.4 — What can be done to increase economic development at the state and local levels? Get government out of the way by reducing needless regulations so people can prosper, lower energy costs that are high due to bad existing deals our state regulators have made, lower our tax rates and gradually eliminate the income tax. It can and should be done. You want jobs, you have to make the state a place where people who want to start or grow a business will want to be.

Q.5 — There is increasing concern regarding access to healthcare. What is your concern, and what can be done at the state level? My concern is people confuse health care with health insurance costs and regulations. We have world-class healthcare in Maine. No one is turned away from the hospital if they show up and need medical care. In Maine, we had the answer here back in 2011/12 called Public Law 90, it corrected the marketplace problems and had started to really work until Obamacare came along and messed it back up again, kicking Public Law 90 to the curb along with all its great market reforms. We did it, then the Progressives crushed the solution in the bud and now here we are. Market reforms, not socialized medicine that never works anywhere that it's tried. That’s the answer.

Q.6 — What is your position on Question 1 regarding the use of tax dollars? To provide home care for seniors and the disabled? Absolutely no, it’s another out-of-state paid for, soak the rich to make progressives feel better referendum questions to advance their agenda. It’s a bad idea, we have no idea what it will really cost, and seriously, if all four of the candidates for governor, Republican, Democrat and the two Democrats running as independents, all agree it’s a bad idea, it means it’s a really bad idea. You have to wonder who keeps coming up with these horrible referendum question ideas and why.

Q.7 — What is your position on Medicaid expansion? Only when and if we can pay for it, and not have the state go back into huge debt to do it. We need to take care of the people who really need help, period.

Q.8 — What do you feel are the three main issues facing Maine today and what are your ideas/plans to address these issues if elected?

1.) Keep Maine moving in the pro economic direction started under Governor LePage. Solution, vote for Shawn Moody who will keep Maine heading in the right direction, and vote for me so I can work hand-in-hand with Governor Moody to keep our economy growing so Mainers don’t just get by, we can all get ahead.

2.) Redesigning how we pay for our infrastructure. Our infrastructure is aging and we need to keep up with the deterioration. What we’re doing is not going to work for too much longer because as costs rise we need to find a better way to fund it other than the gas tax and hoping the federal government gives us a handout. Solution, leaders who are more interested in solving the problem then appeasing the lobbyists in Augusta.

3.) Create incentives to keep young people here in Maine and attract more entrepreneurs from away who might invest here. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

Q.9 — With the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses continuing to rise in Maine, what do you feel can be done to address the opioid crisis? We need to actually get serious about it or nothing is going to change. Arrest and prosecute more dealers, they're everywhere, more treatment options for users. We need to do both.

Q.10 — Complete the following, “The reasons I am the best candidate for the job is…” Read all of the above answered questions. I have a principled set of core values, and a worldview based on a deep respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. I believe in limited government because it works, and have a deep respect for the value of each individual. I also have the experience and drive to do the job well based on my 10-year record of doing it.

Janice Barter

Candidate: Janice Barter. Challenger

Age: 59

Political Party: Democratic

Family: Married, husband Stephen Barter, sons – Craig and Trent Barter

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Tufts University

Occupation: Medical office manager for 34 years, owner of Naples Fitness Center for five years

Organizations: SAD #61 School Board since 1998

Q.1 — What qualities would you bring to the position? I am a hard worker. I am conscientious. I have the ability to work across party lines. The School Board is elected without any party designation. As I do on the School Board, I want to hear all views and make decisions based on what’s best for the town of Naples, the district and the State of Maine.

Q.2 — How do you plan to contact/keep constituents up to date on issues? I will do a regular comment section in the local papers. I will also send out mailers four times a year to keep constituents up to date. As I’ve campaigned in the area, I’ve made contact with citizens that I intend to reach out to for their opinions before making key decisions. I feel it’s important for different viewpoints to be explored to get “all sides” involved in the process.

Q.3 — How can the state strengthen education? The state funding formula needs to be changed to allow for radical differences between the land values and the income level of year-round residents. Teacher pay should be subsidized the same in all cities and towns in Maine. There needs to be clear and consistent goals from the state. They can’t keep changing their minds as to what standards need to be met by each student.

Q.4 — What can be done to increase economic development at the state and local levels? There needs to be more money put into our highways and roads so that travel is easier into our rural communities. Broadband access needs to have broader coverage so that working from home is a more viable option. There needs to be more worker training programs so that when companies come searching for highly-skilled workers, there is a readily available pool from which to draw.

Q.5 —  There is increasing concern regarding access to healthcare. What is your concern, and what can be done at the state level? I am concerned that big business has taken over providing healthcare. It has now become about the bottom line instead of about taking care of patients. Premiums are expensive even with high deductible policies. The state can decrease the number of mandated services that health insurance must cover. New Hampshire has half of the requirements of Maine. Healthcare corporations and insurance companies have joined forces to allow patients to only see certain healthcare providers. Many patients have been forced to change doctors so that their bills can be covered. The state can stop insurance companies from forming these narrow networks.

Q.6 — What is your position on Question 1 regarding the use of tax dollars to provide home care for seniors and the disabled? While it’s a great idea, the current proposal allows for too much money to be spent on the administration of the program instead of to the caregivers. I don’t believe a whole new agency needs to be set up to provide these services.

Q.7 — What is your position on Medicaid expansion? Medicaid expansion helps everyone. Every time a hospital doesn’t get paid for their services, they pass those costs on to patients that do pay. As they raise their costs, insurance companies are now paying more and they increase our premiums. And, working in the medical field for 34 years, I’ve seen too many people delay treatment because they don’t have insurance. They get sicker and their treatment costs much more — both in dollars and lives that could have been prolonged with earlier medical help.

Q.8 — What do you feel are the three main issues facing Maine today and what are your ideas/plans to address these issues if elected? Broadband Internet access needs to be expanded so that businesses and workers are able to compete with urban areas. Currently, 0.25% of in-state phone bill charges are allocated to the ConnectMe Fund to increase internet access. I think a change in this rate needs to be reviewed.

Education funding needs to be revamped. More weight needs to be placed on income level instead of property taxes.

Maintaining and modernizing our roadways needs to be addressed. Currently, the Maine Turnpike keeps all of the toll revenue. There are 46,000 miles of roadway in Maine. Only 300 miles are controlled by the Turnpike Authority. All of those cars exit onto our local roads. I think the toll money should be shared with local communities.

Q.9 — With the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses continuing to rise in Maine, what do you feel can be done to address the opioid crisis? Expanding Medicaid will allow for more availability for funds to address the crisis. More patients could have access to counseling and treatment to treat their opioid addiction.

Q.10 — Complete the following, “The reasons I am the best candidate for the job is…” I bring a new and fresh perspective to the position. I am excited to advocate for the Lake Region and Sacopee Valley communities. I will be a reliable and able voice to address the needs of healthcare, education and infrastructure development in conjunction with other elected officials in our towns.

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