2018-10-19 / Community

Maine State Senate – District 32

Election 2018

Meet the candidates

Gaining entry into the State Legislature via special election in May 2016, Democrat Susan Deschambault won a full term that fall. Now the retired social worker is looking to win her third election in 2½ years. Hoping to block that effort is Republican Scott Normandeau, a cyber security consultant.

Survey forms were emailed to both candidates and a printed below as received, in alphabetical order.

Name: Susan Deschambault

Age: [no answer]

Address: 100 Saco Falls Way, Biddeford.

Phone: 284-4884

Occupation: State Senator - Retired Social Worker for the Maine Department of Corrections

Family: one adult son.

Education completed: Bachelor degree from St. Francis College (now the University of New England).

Organizations and activities (including past political experience): Elected state senator, served in 127th and 128th sessions, serving on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, state and local government, and the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committees; Served as Biddeford City Councilor; 12-year member of Biddeford Police Commission; Chair of Biddeford Planning Board; Member of city and school policy committees; Member of Charter Revision Commission; three-term member of York County Budget Committee; Member of Tri-City Transit Committee; two-term area director of the MSEA-SEIU; appointed to serve 17 years on the Maine Criminal Justice Commission by governors McKernan, King and Baldacci

Top three issues:

1. Healthcare — Our healthcare crisis is a result of people not being able to afford to get the care they need – either because they can’t afford to buy private insurance in the marketplace and so they go uninsured or they can’t afford the high deductibles and copays.

Both circumstances yield the same outcome –which is that people don’t get the care they need, when they need it – resulting in sicker people and more costly treatment. Preventative care is key: it keeps people healthier, detects chronic illness earlier – before conditions are costly to treat or are life threatening, and it ultimately shifts the model from sickcare to health-care.

We can help 70,000 Mainers by implementing the law (passed overwhelmingly by Maine voters) to expand Medicaid insurance. Next, we can continue investing in statewide public health nurses in many of our Maine communities.

The Legislature passed and funded a bill to fill all budgeted positions. Keeping people healthy, through preventive care, education and wellness programs is key to keeping costs down for all of us. We also need to strengthen our efforts to address the opioid issue in a comprehensive manner. This health issue impacts all demographic and socioeconomic groups. In 2017, it contributed to over 400 drug-induced deaths and the births of over 950 drug-affected babies in Maine. Prevention, early detection, and coordinated multi-faceted treatment programs are required.

2. Taxes — Too many families and seniors are suffering from high property taxes. In every town I represent, the common theme has been the rising property tax. Town government sets the mil rate to pay for services.

The recent increases are due in large measure to the changes in the formula of state aid to schools and the reduction of state revenue sharing dollars to municipalities. State mandates also contribute to the need for local towns to raise property taxes. All these reasons can and should be reviewed and addressed by the Legislature.

Hard working families, retirees, and young couples need a break. Circuit breaker programs, fully funded revenue sharing, expanding the homestead exemption, and being mindful of the cost of mandates are ways to lessen the property tax burden.

3. The economy — There are many complex and inter-related issues facing our state that require our attention. We are an aging state, our school enrollment is down, and our economy is lagging compared to other New England states.

We need broadband to attract businesses, and a workforce that is trained, skilled and well paid. All of this would be best addressed by developing our own state ‘business plan’ to avoid a bandaid approach that addresses the issues independently of each other. One strategy is to develop a pathway to engage our young people in the trades along with encouraging them to view education as a lifelong avenue to prosperity and fulfillment.

Now is the time to focus on the needs of businesses and how the schools can best prepare our children for the future. A sound economic plan is required – one that integrates these and other strategies.

In your own words, why are you seeking elected office?

I have a strong foundation and broad exposure to many facets of serving in government affairs: as a city councilor, city and school policy committee member, and planning board chair. I was the first woman appointed as a police commissioner and served 17 years on the Maine State Criminal Justice Commission. I have also served the county as Biddeford representative on the York County Budget Committee. During my 40-plus year career as a social worker with the state Department of Corrections, I have worked successfully with a wide variety of people. As I enter my third term in the senate, I can say that I am a practical lawmaker. I go beyond party politics, work across the aisle, and listen to all sides of an issue. I reach out to experts and those affected by an issue to learn their views and how they are impacted. In addition to my constituents, I have consulted our law enforcement communities, public service workers, educators, healthcare professionals, small business owners and non-profit leaders, among others. I stay connected with the needs of District 32 and know that each community within this district is unique. My district includes Southern Maine Health Care and the University of New England, each having needs and barriers to growth that require collaboration with the legislative process. I have also paid attention to the concerns of our local farmers, and I am committed to getting things done for the people of our district; this is my primary responsibility. No problem is too big to be solved and I am determined to find solutions.

Name: Scott Normandeau

Age: 55

Address: 18 Kehoe Lane, Arundel.

Phone: 719-0140

Occupation: Consultant (Cybersecurity) CISSP

Family: Wife Becky, Kids Matthew, Andrew, step Devan, Emy and Capen

Education completed: BS/ Masters certificate in cybersecurity

Organizations and activities (including past political experience): Air Force/ Air National Guard 30 years.

Top three issues:

1. Continue to reduce taxes and state based regulations and fees for Mainers and thereby drawing business to Maine and to Biddeford.

2. Strive to create a place for my kids and grandchildren to live, by drawing technology and Information based Companies to Biddeford and the rest of Senate District 32.

Capitalize on the innovation and opportunities that the economy and the inner part of Biddeford can and will create with the right opportunities that Maine can continue to create.

3. Eliminate the income tax. Introduce a bill to eliminate the state income tax based upon performance and expense reduction goals that the state would need to support over time.

In your own words, why are you seeking elected office?

I seek office because I know how to be a change agent, my experience in the National Guard and Air Force can be brought to innovate and offer paths and solutions that are out of the norm.

As the former CIO for the National Guard, I look to a data- and innovation based economy as the direction that Maine is heading how it must prepare state government and business to protect data, create legislation for its residents and foster a data based economy.

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