Running for Maine Senate

Five candidates in two districts
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  October 29, 2008

For this year’s candidate profiles, we assembled some basic information on each person seeking election, and then asked them to explain what their top priority would be, if elected — what would be the thrust of their first major piece of legislation or policy initiative.

feat_voter_Senate8Alfond.jpg
Justin Alfond
Senate District 8
JUSTIN ALFOND (D)

ALFONDFORSENATE.COM | Alfond, a Maine native and a well-connected Democrat, is a real-estate developer, the founder and former executive director of the Maine League of Young Voters, and is on the Opportunity Maine board.
TOP PRIORITY “I would require entities receiving tax incentives to provide both written and oral analysis in front of either the Business Research and Economic Development (BRED) or the Appropriations Committee to illustrate the returns to Maine taxpayers. Entities would provide information on: how many jobs have they created, what is the full economic impact in their community and state, what benefits are provided to workers and how did the tax incentives leverage more dollars to the state. This policy would repeat itself every two years and over time would illustrate incentive programs that should continue or discontinue.”

BILL LINNELL (G)
VOTELINNELL.COM | “Captain Bill,” a Green Independent, claims that his election would create a “swing vote” in the Maine Senate, if that body were evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. The former Cape Elizabeth town councilor is also a lobsterman, and an activist (he helped lead the charge to shut down Maine Yankee a decade ago).
TOP PRIORITY “Address energy and the economy by introducing my Liberty Energy Plan. Inspired by the Liberty Ships built in World War II, this would be a major step towards energy independence, put 30,000 people to work, better insulate houses, and jump-start the economy.”

ERIC LUSK (R)
LUSKFORMESENATE.COM | Lusk is a relatively progressive Republican (he has to be, given the liberal composition of this district) who supports both rail transportation and tax breaks for businesses as an economic strategy. He opposes enacting single-payer healthcare on a state-by-state basis.
TOP PRIORITY “The quickest path to lower expenses and higher tax receipts is through how Maine regulates healthcare. Why not let me buy it in New Hampshire? If not me, why not the people who qualify for Dirigo? I've done the math for those folks and the state would save $70 million (almost the entire dollar figure Dirigo wants from the new beer/soda/wine/health claims) and the Dirigo members themselves would save money also (a 23-year-old from Montfort pays $320 a month through Dirigo — with no subsidy he'd pay $180 in New Hampshire). Premiums would go down, disposable incomes would rise, people would pay more in Maine personal income taxes, sales tax receipts would go up. Win, win, win.”

Senate District 9
JOE BRANNIGAN (D)

This 77-year-old Democrat and director of Shalom House (serving people with mental illnesses) has served in the Legislature for a total of 24 years. He opposes social-service cuts during difficult budget times and supports broadening the state sales tax.
TOP PRIORITY “My highest priority would be to balance the budget without doing serious harm to people who are very vulnerable — people with disabilities, people who are on the short end of things.”

NICK MCGEE (R)
MCGEEFORME.COM | McGee, a former paralegal and law firm business manager who is now a stay-at-home dad, led the charge to recall the Portland School Committee during the birth-control debacle. The former chairman of Portland’s Republican City Committee opposes universal single-payer healthcare and supports offering 20-year corporate tax breaks to alternative energy companies for research and development.
TOP PRIORITY “Programs to help jobs and the economy. I think you’re going have to do it through cuts in state spending. I think if we address trying to reduce the cost of healthcare, that has an effect on the economy.”

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