On the Ballot: Senate District 18, Lisa Keim vs. James Wilfong

Senate District 18 Incumbent Lisa Keim (R) against James Wilfong (D). D18 towns within the BN coverage area include: Lovell, Stoneham, Stow, Sweden and Waterford.

Lisa Keim

Name: Lisa Keim

Age: 45

Political Party: Republican, Senate District 18

Family: Married, three adult children

Education: Marketing & Leadership, BS, University of Southern Maine

Occupation: Homemaker, homeschooler

Organizations: Chairman of the Working Group to Improve the Provision of Indigent Legal Services, chairman of the Right to Know Advisory Commission, member of the Citizen Trade Policy Commission; Executive board member of the New England Board of Higher Education.

Honors: Robert J. Thompson Eastern Leadership Academy, CSG Henry Toll Fellowship

Website: Connect with me on Facebook @SenatorLisaKeim

Q.1 — What qualities would you bring to the position? One of the most important qualities to finding solutions and building consensus, is the ability to listen and be thoughtfully considerate of all options. Nothing is accomplished single-handedly.

Q.2 — How do you plan to contact/keep constituents up to date on issues? I am available by e-mail, by phone at the State House or my home and I meet regularly in district with constituents. My Facebook page is updated frequently, and I send out twice-monthly newsletter e-mails. I also write a newspaper column, almost monthly.

Q.3 — How can the state strengthen education? The methods of strengthening education are likely numerous. However, one that I believe is key is to encourage more diversity. Children come in all varieties; we can’t expect them to fit in the same mold and excel. We must be willing to help small contingents explore education options, and learn from them what works. The state is not nimble enough to be innovative, but the public education system must be willing to change, and in a cost-efficient manner. Society demands it and is creating alternative education methods all around us.

Q.4 — What can be done to increase economic development at the state and local levels? Of critical importance is that the state recognize the vital importance of families. All policies need to be sifted through this lens. Strong families create productive members of society and healthy, vibrant communities.

Secondly, we need our young people to stay in Maine, and we also need to attract more to our great state. Maine’s increasing lack of workforce will bring about economic stagnation. We need more research to know which policies will effectively address this issue, however, marketing to young families who have connections to Maine, and offering enticing incentives is a good place to start.

Q.5 — There is increasing concern regarding access to healthcare. What is your concern, and what can be done at the state level?

Everyone needs healthcare. We need to find a way to ensure Mainers have access to it, but government-run healthcare is not the way to go. Access can be improved through the numerous emerging telehealth options. (Of course, this also requires better connectivity than most of the rural Maine communities now have.) Controlling healthcare costs should be a focus; greater transparency, a goal which we can affect on the state level to a worthwhile degree, will help us find solutions.

Q.6 — What is your position on Question 1 regarding the use of tax dollars to provide home care for seniors and the disabled? Vote No! All four gubernatorial candidates and the Chamber of Commerce, among many others, all recognize this is bad for Maine. It’s a scam. There is plenty of Q. 1 information in print and online.

Q.7 — What is your position on Medicaid expansion? As previously stated, everyone needs healthcare. We need to find a way to ensure Mainers have access to it, but government-run healthcare is not the way to go. Maine expanded Medicaid already, and it took years to pay off the hospitals because the state simply did not have the money to keep up with the costs. That dynamic has not changed. The legislature needs to find and designate a stable source of income to pay for this, before expansion moves forward. Additionally, there should be sensible measures put in place to safeguard the healthcare system. For instance, most doctors and dentists feel it is essential that some amount of co-pay be required of every person.

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?

It is hard to choose three, as so many are pressing, and each seems most important in its own way. Our citizen referendum process is whipsawing Maine as outside money seeks to control our state. For starters, we can require a minimum number of signatures from each Congressional district.

Declining population is a looming problem and solutions are mentioned already in this questionnaire.

Also, as previously mentioned, access to healthcare, we can increase transparency to address costs.

I must also add that Maine remains one of the very highest taxed states in the nation, we can’t continue increasing taxes and expect to grow, keep our young people and attract more. Elderly on fixed incomes are anxious about how they are going to keep living in their homes. This is not the way Maine should be. The solution is to live within our means, and to measure each increase by the effect on our elderly and working families.

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? The newly increased funding for treatment and additional drug agents are good steps in the right direction, though it is too soon to gauge effectiveness. I believe more effort toward mentoring is essential; supportive relationships are key to people seeing hope in their future.

Q.10 — Complete the following, “The reasons I am the best candidate for the job is that…” I am accessible and involved with the people and the concerns of my district; I understand the unique perspective of our communities. I have, and will continue, to use this position to further your interests in, and outside of, Augusta, by promoting our area to outside organizations and by connecting Western Maine people, businesses, schools, and towns with the resources they need.

James Wilfong

Challenger: James Wilfong

Name: James Wilfong

Age: 71

Party: Democratic

Family: Married 43 years, two children and one grandchild

Education: Some college

Occupation: Marketing consultant, teacher and American Tree Farmer

Organizations: Town of Stow representative to the Greater Lovell Land Trust, chairman of H2O for ME, Veterans’ Entrepreneurship Task Force and The White House Task Force on Veterans Business Development

Honors: Maine 2005 Veterans Business Advocate; Entrepreneur in Residence at The Kauffman Foundation; 2005 Fryeburg Academy Distinguished Alumni Award; 2017 honoree of the Fryeburg Academy Hall of Excellence

Website: Jim Wilfong Senate Campaign Facebook page

Q.1 — What qualities would you bring to the position? Personal energy; business development, small/medium-sized enterprise [SME] international trade development experience; public policy experience: member of the 107th and 108th Maine Legislature, assistant administrator of the International Trade Office of the U.S. SBA for the Clinton administration, SME trade advisor to the U.S. Export/Import Bank for the Bush administration and Veterans Business Development Task Force member for the Obama administration; 45 years of conservation advocacy; educational experience: entrepreneurial education teacher at USM, Fryeburg and Lincoln Academies, and co-chairman of the school consolidation committee for SAD 61, 72 and 55; Christmas tree grower and American Tree Farmer; former Marine; and Town of Stow moderator.

Q.2 — How do you plan to contact/keep constituents up to date on issues? Write a column as I did when I was last a legislator and be visible and accessible in the various communities.

Q.3 — How can the state strengthen education? Place social service support in the schools so that teachers can teach. Fund the state share of the cost of education at 55% as the people voted at referendum into law.

Q.4 — What can be done to increase economic development at the state and local levels? By 2040, 49% of the working age population will be self-employed. We must start teaching some form of business development education, beginning in the middle school. Build a high-speed Internet system to every Maine community that will provide access to education, markets and capital. Reward long-term capital investment for SMEs by capping long-term capital gain taxation. Intentionally, create an entrepreneurial culture at the grassroots. Realize, that in this century, our citizens are our most important and valuable resource. We should place people and their ideas at the center of economic and community development.

Q.5 — There is increasing concern regarding access to healthcare. What is your concern, and what can be done at the state level? In the future, healthcare will not be provided by American employers. We need to figure this issue out before the current system dissolves. In a 21st century economy, healthcare has to be much simpler and efficient with less administrative overhead. We must foster wellness programs beginning at an early age. In the end, sick children will have a hard time learning and injured and sick employees aren't likely to be ready and able to work. I think we should all be concerned about small rural hospitals staying in business. We may have to have a regional approach to solving this problem.

Q.6 — What is your position on Question 1 regarding the use of tax dollars to provide home care for seniors and the disabled? Home healthcare is in our future. People who supply the service will have to be competent and earn a living wage. Question 1 is not a plan that I support. According to a former Maine Supreme Court justice, it may have Constitutional issues and I want Maine taxpayer money to be managed by the state. It is a discussion that I am happy to see has begun in earnest.

Q.7 — What is your position on Medicaid expansion? I support it. I voted for it at referendum. Augusta has to learn that the people’s referendum process is serious. It was not a suggestion of the people. It was passed by a 60% margin and it is law!

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? Rural economic development. Raising the standard of living. High speed Internet.

Raising the educational and skill levels of the general population.

Placing groundwater in the Public Trust. Establish Reasonable Use Standards and place a fee on large scale, bottle water extraction and place it in a dedicated fund such as Alaska and other extractive states do.

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? Smart, tough and fair policies of prevention, education (beginning in middle school) and treatment.

Q.10 — Complete the following, “The reasons I am the best candidate for the job is…” my experience, enthusiasm and my love of this work and rural Maine people.

Please follow and like us: