Issues

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the issues that matter to you or that I work on in Augusta, they are some of the challenges that I hear the most often from our community.

Property Taxes

If we are going to see increased mandates from the state, it only makes sense that we see increased funding from the state.

Since I have been in office, we have finally returned Municipal Revenue sharing to its full 5.5% that it should be. It needs to be a priority of any future legislatures to maintain this funding. When we are looking to cut state budgets, it cannot be at the expense of our municipalities or homeowners.

Property taxes disproportionately affect working families, small businesses and older adults on fixed incomes. These are exactly the groups of people that we need in order to build our communities. Families are working in our local businesses and are raising the kids in whom we all take so much pride and in whom our hopes for Maine’s future reside. Small businesses are putting capital investments back into our communities and providing good jobs which we all depend on. Long time residents on fixed incomes have been the bedrock of our communities through the years, paying property taxes, serving on local committees, and teaching future generations in so many ways. It is not fair to see the burden of property taxes pushed onto these people in our community, and as a community, we can’t afford to have these folks pushed out of their homes.

Environment and PFAS

In rural Maine, we rely upon our land and water for our jobs and sustenance. I have been a leader in the State House on dealing with the issue of PFAS contamination. PFAS is a contaminant that comes from plastics in our environment that give people cancer, reduce chances of getting pregnant, and lower birth rates amongst a host of other health effects. These contaminants were spread on our land over the last 50 years through poor science and planning by our government. PFAS has been found in our deer, fish, water, farmland, and bodies. I led on passing laws to stop the spreading of PFAS contaminated sludge on our agricultural soils, increasing the Statute of Limitations for farmers affected by the contamination, lowering the allowable amount of PFAS in our water, and winning funds for our agricultural industry in the face of widespread contamination.

The legislature must take the lead in protecting our water, land, and bodies from contamination whether it be from poor policy making or corporate profits. I have dedicated myself to this work, and will hold those liable for this contamination accountable.

Without our land and waters, our children, businesses, and state have no future. Protecting and conserving our resources is at the heart of a path forward for a successful future for our state.

Housing

The price of rents and property taxes continue to go up. We just don’t have enough quality housing in the state. Maine has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, and the highest heating costs. We need to help create affordable housing that a family can afford to heat. We also need to ensure that when people have been able to buy the home, that constantly increasing property taxes don’t push anyone out.

Education

As a funding mechanism for our schools, local property taxes is a broken system. There are so many mandates coming from both the state and federal governments dictating the minimums that need to be met in the schools, that local school budget committees don’t have the control they once did to affect changes in the budget.

For the first time in the State’s history, the state is now picking up 55% of the costs of running our schools. It is important that we continue to take the burden off of the property tax payers, especially in these times of increasing costs for the homeowner. We cannot tax our long-time residents out of their homes in order to educate our kids.

Healthcare

Healthcare is an issue which we are all confronted with every day. Whether we are on the lower end of the economic ladder or the higher end, we are all human, and we all get sick. We are all facing the challenges of trying to pay for health care in a way that allows us a sense of economic security.

Insurance companies cover less and less of the costs we face whether it is the costs of prescriptions, or hospital visits. We are all hit by surprise expenses when we thought we had it covered.

The Legislature needs to continue to make reducing the cost of prescriptions a priority for all our citizens, but particularly our senior citizens. We want to build communities where people can stay in the homes they have lived in for decades. When the cost of medicine is competing with property taxes and food, we are leaving those we owe the most out in the cold.

We need to make sure our district and Maine is a place where people are able to live comfortably. This needs to be a place where they know they won’t be pushed out of their homes by increasing property taxes, that public schools are well and responsibly funded, and our healthcare premiums are being spent on patients, not lining the pockets of insurance companies.

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