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Candidates share viewpoints on array of issues


YORK COUNTY — Incumbent Republican Heidi Sampson of Alfred is challenged by small business owner, Democrat Kelcy McNamara of Alfred, and Green Independent Justin Reinhardt of Limerick to represent District 21, which includes the towns Alfred and Newfield and parts of Limerick, Parsonsfield and Shapleigh. . .Reinhardt currently serves on the Limerick budget committee. . .

Candidates were asked if they believe that access to guns is a key component in school gun violence incidents and mass shootings and if so, what should be done about it in Maine . . .

Reinhardt would like to take steps to amend gun violence while not infringing on the second amendment.

“I think that aside from stronger background checks and closing loop holes for gun shows for access, we should take simple measures to try to minimize the amount of lives a person can take in a short span of time. Limiting magazine sizes, are one of the simpler things we could do without infringing on the second amendment rights of gun ownership,” said Reinhardt.

Candidates were asked how they propose Maine address rising health care costs. . .

Reinhardt believes in a single-payer health care system.

“Maine should be leading the way for a single-payer health care system with or without the assistance of the federal government. MaineCare-for-all, to include mental, health, vision and dental,” said Reinhardt.

We asked candidates their plan to lure high paying jobs to Maine and retain younger workers. . .

Reinhardt believes in infrastructure and industrial hemp.

“Rebuilding our infrastructure, and putting forth the first statewide, publicly-owned broadband services would be a great start to getting younger people more interested in coming to Maine for economic opportunities. As it stands no one is coming to Maine to work for wages that are unsustainable to the cost of living here. We could also start pushing for industrial hemp now that the Denate has passed legislation for it, and get all those mills that were so prevalent in Maine working again,” said Reinhardt.

We asked the candidates what makes them the right choice for voters in this election. . .

Reinhardt believes his Green Party status makes him the perfect choice for voters.

“I represent people, not corporate interests. If you want money out of politics then don’t give it a chance to participate. The Green Party is the only party that does not take corporate funding. In the Green Party we believe in putting people over profit, and making sure that we are environmentally conscious. I believe that we can do better than corporate handouts to war manufacturing, and I believe we are better than robbing those with the least among us to pay for those breaks to corporatism,” said Reinhardt.

 

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https://www.journaltribune.com/articles/front-page/sampson-mcnamara-and-reinhardt-vie-for-house-district-21/

 

 

Green Independent Party and Unenrolled/Independent Members get Caucus Room, Part-time Staff
This month, the Legislative Council voted to provide caucus space and part-time staff to Green Independent Party member Rep. Ralph Chapman, and the six unenrolled/independent members of the Legislature. ... As members have left their respective parties, the vote margin in the House has shrunk to 74 Democrats and 70 Republicans. With seven legislators unaffiliated with the major parties, the Legislative Council agreed to provide space in the Cross Office Building for the unaffiliated members to caucus, and part-time staff to assist those members in their work. While the group of independents comes from a diverse political background, given the narrow margin between Democrats and Republicans, they could use their small but relatively significant numbers to develop impactful swing votes in the House during the Second Regular Session.

 

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https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/under-the-dome-inside-the-maine-state-89943/

 

PORTLAND — The School Board has expanded from four to six the number of community members who will be invited to serve on its new building committee. ...

The building committee will also include three board members and two city councilors. It will be co-chaired by a School Board member and a councilor, chosen by board Chairwoman Anna Trevorrow.

The committee’s purpose is to ensure there’s opportunity for broad public input and engagement in the elementary school construction process. It will be primarily responsible for making decisions on the $64.2 million school capital improvement bond approved by voters last November, including the order in which the buildings will be constructed.

The bond is will be used to renovate and upgrade Longfellow, Lyseth, Presumpscot and Reiche elementary schools. ...

In addition, this week the board also intended to take up Superintendent Xavier Botana’s recommendations for the creation of individual Building Level Advisory Committees, which would have input on “specific design elements” for each school. ...

Between the building committee and the individual advisory panels, Botana said the School Board hopes to create “a clear line of decision-making,” while also “preserving Portland’s unique commitment to collaborative building projects.”

The building committee would be a separate entity from the school board and would have ultimate authority over the spending on each school project, as well as hiring general contractors and other construction project personnel. ...

The work needed at Lyseth Elementary is expected to be the most costly under the $64.2 million bond, according to information provided by Oak Point Associates, the design firm hired by the school department to review the capital needs at all of the district’s schools.

Construction at Lyseth is expected to cost nearly $18 million and would include new classrooms, gymnasium and cafeteria, along with additional space for the school’s pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and gifted and talented programs.

At Longfellow, the work is estimated to cost close to $15.4 million and would include making the building fully ADA compliant, as well as a full asbestos abatement.

The needs at Presumpscot include new classrooms, a gym and cafeteria, along with a “more functional” student drop-off and bus loop. In addition, the school requires “adequate space” for music, art and library programs. The construction cost there is expected to be $13.6 million.

At Reiche, which is estimated to cost $17.2 million, construction would focus on enclosing classroom corridors while continuing to provide open space for collaborative learning and on creating “right size art, music and reading spaces.”

The school board hopes to make appointments to the new building committee no later than its first meeting in February. Once that happens, the committee’s first task would be to hire an architect to create building specific construction documents.

 

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http://www.theforecaster.net/wide-input-sought-for-portland-school-construction-projects/

 

AUGUSTA — A caucus of independent lawmakers is likely to have an outsized influence in the Maine House of Representatives in 2018 given that it could wield seven coveted votes in a chamber closely split between 74 Democrats and 70 Republicans.

The group of six independent lawmakers, bolstered by their own office space and part-time staff, includes three former Democrats and two former Republicans. A member of the Green Independent Party also is caucusing with the group.

Among the hot-button issues in the upcoming 2018 legislative session, lawmakers will have to figure out how to fund a Medicaid expansion in Maine, make the retail sales of recreational marijuana work and pass laws to address the state’s ongoing opioid crisis. ...

... Also caucusing with the group is Rep. Ralph Chapman of Brooksville who is a member of the officially recognized Green Independent Party. ...

The group of independents and Chapman have been working together for several months now, and having dedicated staff will be helpful, she said, pointing out that the office space the Legislative Council approved for them will be shared with American Sign Language interpreters who use the space once a week. ...

COHORT REFLECTS STATE’S MAKEUP

Maine has an independent streak, with about 40 percent of its voters registered as unenrolled, picking no party to affiliate with, according to data from the Maine Secretary of State’s Office. ...

A RETREAT FROM PARTISAN POLITICS

The group, if they do end up voting as a block, will hold significant sway not only in bills that need a majority of votes to pass out of the House, but also votes that require a supermajority of two-thirds, including overrides of possible vetoes by Republican Gov. Paul LePage and bills that would be enacted as emergency legislation. ...

 

 

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http://www.sunjournal.com/independent-lawmakers-gain-clout-in-augusta-with-staff-office-space/

Maine House makes room for more independent lawmakers

 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A small but growing number of independent state lawmakers who have weakened Democrats' hold on the House hope to promote compromise as independents seek to gain ground nationally in 2018.

The Maine House has its highest number of Independent and third-party members recorded in the last two decades, and several such lawmakers say they hope to maintain their individual independence while gaining a stronger voice in debates. ...

Rep. Henry Bear said Maine residents are issue-driven, not "strictly tied to Republicans or Democrats or unenrolled."

"Mainers for the most part are frugal, very conservative and also they're very independent," said Bear, a non-voting tribal member who represents the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and is running for Congress.

Two Republican representatives and three Democratic representatives left their parties this year in addition to Bear. They join two unenrolled House members who ran as independents. Two — Bear and Rep. Ralph Chapman — registered as Maine Green Independents and say they're among the highest-ranking Green lawmakers nationally.

The lawmakers' reasons for leaving the major parties vary from frustration over partisanship and the influence of lobbyists and corporate donations on Maine policy-making to discontent at Republican and Democratic lawmakers' steps to undo, change and delay several laws approved by voters at the polls in 2016.

Chapman said he's concerned that Democratic statehouse leaders value loyalty to political donors over the common good. ...

Legislative leaders recently approved a request to provide a room at the statehouse for the independent and third-party lawmakers and their staffs. Independent lawmakers said they plan to caucus daily. ...

 

READ FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE AT LINK BELOW

 

http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/More-independents-as-Maine-lawmakers-reconvene-in-12456056.php

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