2016-11-04 / Community

Election 2016

Meet the candidates

House of Representatives District 8

The race for District 8 in the Maine State House of Representatives — which serves all of Kennebunk west of the Mousam River — will pit Republican challenger Bradley “Scott” Ducharme against Democratic incumbent Christopher Babbidge.

Name: Christopher W. Babbidge

Age: 67

Address: Stratford Place

Phone: 985-3332 email: babbidge@roadrunner.com

Occupation: Retired teacher (31 years); trolley driver/tour guide

Family: Married with three children, six grandchildren

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Maine Portland Gorham

Political experience: Maine House of Representatives (2004-2007, 2014 to present)

Organizations and activities: instructor at the Muskie Summer Scholars Program, Bates College (17 years); State advisor to the YMCA Youth in Government Model State Legislature (34 years); Maine Council for the Social Studies (past president); Kennebunk Charter Commission; Kennebunk Comprehensive Plan Committee; Volunteer prep advisor at Kennebunk High School for 70-plus youth leadership conferences

Top three issues:

1. We must promote a strong and vibrant economy by investing in people, innovation, small businesses, and good-paying jobs, to keep young talent in Maine. Technology, entrepreneurship and new markets can mean good jobs for Maine. Precision manufacturing has a bright future and public-private partnerships such as YCCC and Pratt & Whitney are a great success. Engineering at the University of Maine has provided innovations for defense, commerce, agriculture, and aquaculture. Renewable energy can be an important economic engine in Maine. Our biggest assets are our environment and our people, and smart investment will provide for a bright economic future.

2. The rapid increase of our senior population in the next 15 years, our exodus of young people, and our very slow in-migration presents a demographic challenge. Therefore, it is essential to help seniors to extend their active lives as contributors to community through improved health and safety, and the planning of sufficient transportation and efficient housing. This will not only enhance the quality of their lives as they maintain independence, but the continued utilization of their accumulated knowledge and skills is an invaluable resource that will be instrumental in meeting what is sure to be a progressively greater economic and social need in our state.

3. We must reduce energy costs and promote conservation and a clean energy future. Peak costs in the northeast are driven by natural gas, environmentally preferable to burning coal and oil, but still a methane emitting fossil fuel. Gas is promoted as a bridge fuel to renewable energy, but once pipeline infrastructure is built at significant cost, tapping the Marcellus deposit will be a temptation for many generations, especially if we export to NATO nations. A responsible course is for Maine to be at the forefront of renewable energy, particularly solar energy. We have more sunlight than solar giant Germany, and promoting commercial, community, and private solar that benefits all ratepayers should be our priority.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am a native Mainer, and I have had the good fortune to live and work in Kennebunk for 35 years, bringing up my family with pride in our community and in our state. In teaching my students citizenship, I hoped they would accept responsibility for making Maine a better place, so as we recited the pledge and that American goal of “liberty and justice for all,” they saw a sign I placed next to the flag with the phrase, “It’s Up to Us!” Now I am retired from the classroom, and I must continue to walk the walk. I have been a busy legislator, one of only a handful of house members who requested double-duty by serving on two committees. I have been vocal in committee, in caucus and in floor debate and I am very proud of standing and being heard as an independent-thinking voice, a respected voice, I think, among my peers in Augusta.

Through careful planning, we must preserve the quality of life that we value that is special to Maine. My entire adult life has been dedicated to providing quality education for the brightest futures for our children, protecting our clean environment, our priceless asset and biggest attraction, and upholding civil rights for all Maine citizens. I’ve successfully stood up for our community many times before, I’m proud of my record and experience, and I would be honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of representing Kennebunk in the 128th legislature.

If you could change one thing about state government or your legislative district, what would it be and how would you do it?

A dozen years ago, I won election as the first Democrat to be elected to the legislature from Kennebunk in 94 years. I served two terms and stepped down, despite being unopposed for a third term. Since then I have retired from teaching, and two years ago I again won election to the House. This time I was dismayed to find that the obstructionism and intransigence so paralyzing in Washington had found its way to Augusta, particularly in the relationship between the governor and the legislature. I consider myself both progressive and pragmatic, a Democrat who believes in responsible government responses, within the means of the taxpayers, to address problems faced by Maine people. I like and respect both Democratic and Republican colleagues, and through my work with them, they know that. We still can get things done, but too often, after months of hammered out agreement in committee and through several readings in both the House and Senate, a gubernatorial veto forces my colleagues across the aisle to make difficult choices, and to my chagrin, many times it has meant a death knell to important pieces of previously agreed upon legislation. My hope is that the new legislature as chosen by voters will show the courage and judgment to either bring the governor along or, when he is wrong, to override his vetoes. And most importantly, it is imperative that all of us use the responsibility of public office to model appropriate behavior and inspire our young people with the virtue of public service.

Name: Bradley “Scott” Ducharme
Age: 61
Address: Western Avenue
Phone: 641-7568
email: sonjohans@aol.com

Occupation: Owner, Shorelands Guest Resort in Kennebunk; Retired United States Coast Guard chief engineer now working emergency relief jobs.

Family: Married, with four children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree in marine engineering from Maine Maritime Academy. Holds Maine first class engineers license. Has also completed union trade courses for the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, including advanced firefighting, crows and crisis control, leadership, and management.

Political experience: None

Organizations and activities: Member Kennebunk Chamber of Commerce and Kennebunkport Business Association

Top three issues:

1. Maine needs to lower taxes and reduce energy cost to support the businesses we have now and bring in new manufacturing business. More businesses means more jobs for keeping our state’s young adults in Maine.

2. Maine needs to rebuild our transportation infrastructure. Rebuilding our roads, bridges, and port facilities helps our tourist industry and manufacturing industry.

3. Maine needs to upgrade our educational intuitions, providing quality instruction and facilities for our youth so they can help move Maine forward.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I believe that I can best serve my community by representing District 8 in Augusta as a representative in the Maine State House. The management and business leadership I will bring will bridge the partisan divide and complete legislation needed to move the state of Maine forward into the future. I pledge to all in District 8 that I will consider all opinions when addressing legislation and what is in the best interest for the Kennebunks.

If you could change one thing about the state or your legislative district, what would it be and how would you do it?

I would reduce or eliminate the taxes on Maine’s elderly. This would be done legislatively and the revenue shortfall would be made up by increasing sales taxes.

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