2016-11-04 / Community

Election 2016

Meet the candidates

House of Representatives District 9 The race for District 9 in the Maine State House of Representatives — which serves Kennebunkport as well as parts of Kennebunk and Biddeford — features Republican incumbent H. Stedman Seavey of Kennebunkport, against Democratic Party challenger Diane Denk, of Kennebunk. Name: Diane M. Denk

Age: 66

Address: River’s Edge Drive, Kennebunk

Phone: 604-0838

Occupation: Teacher/tutor in RSU 21 (“I work with students outside the school setting primarily due to physical or other impairments.”)

Family: Married, three stepsons, four grandchildren.

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree and masters in industrial relations and human resources, from Loyola University of Chicago; Master’s of Arts in Teaching degree from National Louis University.

Political experience: Democratic National Committee member; Democratic National Committee convention delegate (2008, 2012, 2016); Presidential Elector (2012, 2016); York County Democratic Committee (past chairman); Democrats of the Kennebunks and Arundel (past chairman); Maine Democratic Party, diversity and outreach subcommittee (past chairman); ran for state legislature in 2014.

Organizations and activities: Maine Board of Dental Examiners (2008- 2013, former vice-president); Beacon/Amedysis Hospice (Visiting Friend); York County Shelters (fundraiser/host of drives); NAACP secretary; hosts fundraising drives for active military and homeless veterans.

Top three issues:

1. Jobs for Maine — Industries are leaving Maine or becoming obsolete. We must identify the jobs of tomorrow, provide incentives to startups, or reconfigure businesses and train new workers, or retrain those out of work.

2. Senior Assistance — Maine is one the most graying states, yet we do not have a plan to provide for the basic needs of our seniors who want to age with dignity.

3. Education — We must strengthen the quality of education (pre-k to college), making college affordable for all Mainers, if we want to become competitive in the job market.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I want to work in the state Legislature to bring some common sense and a voice for my district and for all of Maine.

I want to help stimulate job growth in Maine. Most Mainers are not unemployed — they are overemployed.

They must cobble together many low paying jobs in order to create one decent [income]. Too many folks work second jobs while many travel to Massachusetts for better paying jobs. Maine must foster startups, provide financial assistance to small businesses, and partner with technical schools and colleges to prepare for jobs of the future. I want Maine to become a hub of quality education and innovation where families can work and live.

Maine has many seniors whose means are stretched too far. They do not know how to navigate available resources. Many want to stay at home but cannot afford taxes or upkeep. Others wish to move but cannot find affordable housing. Our governor will not release bonds voters approved for construction of 9,000 affordable units. Struggling with transportation, home healthcare, and respite care for caregivers are other problems I want to address in the legislature.

I believe Maine is one of the most beautiful states in the country. But if we fail to realize that a coastal state could face difficulty due to climate change, we are being shortsighted. Overdevelopment needs to stop. We must end dependence on fossil fuels and explore wind and solar power, which would provide good jobs for Maine.

I want to explore these and many other issues as a representative, and work with others of all parties to advance Maine.

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

The demographics of Maine range from those who are comfortable to those who struggle, from families with children to retirees. From families whose roots go back to the 1600s to those “from away” who are newcomers. My own district includes teachers, lobstermen/ women, doctors, nurses, lawyers, tradesmen/women, shipyard workers, office workers, shop and restaurant workers, and even former presidents.

The common thread is we all want the best for ourselves and our families. Many of us are struggling to provide the basics. Our salaries and retiree benefits are not covering our needs. Our tax bills continue to rise as we must shift the burden to property owners, many of whom are collapsing under this expense and even moving away.

If I could undertake one area of reform to tackle in the state legislature it would be to find ways to grow, attract, and incentivize businesses and create good paying jobs. We are losing our younger people to other states, families are suffering as they try to make ends meet, and our senior demographic is increasing as our tax base may be decreasing.

Unless and until we grow Maine’s economy, we will continue on a downward spiral toward the bottom. Our infrastructure will crumble, our dependence on government assistance will grow, and we will lose our strongest hopes toward a brighter tomorrow. Mainers are known for their ingenuity and innovation and for being rock solid workers. I want to tap into that and work on finding solutions for Maine’s future.

Name: H. Stedman Seavey
Age: 64
Address: Wildes District
Road, Kennebunkport

Phone: 967-5991 email: stedseavey@yahoo.com

Occupation: Semi-retired grocer

Family: Two adult children, two grandchildren

Education completed: Bachelors degree in political science from the University of Southern Maine

Political experience: Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen (1975-1980); Maine House of Representatives (1982-1990, 2004- 2006, 2014 to present)

Organizations and activities: former director Kennebunkport Historical Society; former director Kennebunkport Chamber of Commerce; member Arundel Masonic Lodge 76 AF&AM

Top three issues:

1. We have a number of issues that I see. Perhaps the most important and the most recent is the civility and demeanor of governing or lack thereof. The art of governing is being replaced by the science of politics and I don’t think that is a good thing. The legislature is made up of regular citizens from local communities. There are times we hold different views on the issues from these other citizen legislators. That is okay, but because we hold different views does not make the other guy our enemy. The hallmark of democracy is that the majority view will prevail as long as the minority rights are protected.

2. Another is the balance between state spending/ taxes and social services. The income tax is not competitive with other states in that wealthy Mainers are either fleeing the state for New Hampshire or Florida or preventing retirees from retiring to Maine. When wealthy Mainers leave the state they take with them not only their income tax but also all their consumer spending on goods and services and also all they charitable contributions to our non profits. However jealous we may be of wealthy people we need their money to fuel our local businesses and non-profits. The government cannot afford to fund the wonderful work that non profits do. We also need their income tax money to help fund social services. We have an obligation to help those truly in need. I am not talking about able bodied people or those who through their own lifestyles or bad choices are having difficult times but those who through no choice of their own need our help. Churches and non profits do an extraordinary job but they can’t do it all. The system is out of balance right now and we need to correct that.

3. Lastly I believe that in my lifetime never has our culture been such a threat to our well being as it is now with the drug problem. The heroin situation is an epidemic. Yet no heroin is manufactured or grown in Maine. It all comes across our borders. We must control our borders better. At the same time kids or young adults that try to break the addiction do not have the treatment centers or support systems to help them. This has to change as well.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am running for re-election because there is no more noble service I can give to my community than being one who enacts legislation under which we all live by.

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

The one thing about state government that needs to change is the judicial system needs to be revamped. I can appreciate that it is a separate branch of government. Yet I believe it is failing in its duty to provide justice, particularly in the family and children’s court division. Far too many people appear in court pro se or without an attorney. Those that appear with a court appointed attorney, it seems the attorney works for the judge that appointed them and not for the client. Next session of the legislature, if re-elected, I may want to leave the taxation committee and serve on the judiciary committee. There are reforms that need to be enacted.

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