2016-11-04 / Community

Election 2016

Meet the candidates

Senate District 34

The race for District 34 in the Maine State Senate – which serves Kennebunk, as well as Acton, Lebanon, North Berwick, Wells, and part of Berwick – features three-term Republican incumbent Ron Collins of Wells, who previously served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives, against Democratic Party challenger Jonathan Kilbourn, of Kennebunk.

Name: Ron Collins

Age: 70

Address: Harriseckett Road, Wells

Phone: 985-2485 email: rcollins7@maine.rr.com

Occupation: Sales

Family: Married, two children and two grandchildren

Education completed: Kennebunk High School

Political experience: Maine House of Representatives (four terms), Maine State Senate (three terms)

Organizations and activities: Wells Rotary Club (member and past president), Wells Chamber of Commerce (member and past director), Wells Public Access Advisory Committee (member).

Top three issues:

1. Help provide living wages for Maine citizens. 2. Provide cheaper electricity for Maine businesses and Maine citizens.

3. Provide the necessary services for recovering drug attics.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I want to see Maine prosper, and there are many ways to accomplish this. First, by reducing the high cost of electricity to attract new industries to Maine. Second, setting up partnerships with our schools — either vocational or the community college system – and industry leaders to train Maine’s work force. Finally, we as a state have to do a better job promoting Maine.

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

Maine government should annually be contacting industries in other states promoting Maine. It’s a very competitive arena out there. Other states promote themselves all the time and Maine has to be a player. The great state of Maine has a lot to offer, but we are the best-kept secret on the east coast.

Name: Jonathan Kilbourn

Age: 62

Address: Bourne Street, Kennebunk

Phone: 370-9858 email: kilborunforsenate@gmail.com

Occupation: President at BioEnergy Revisioning; former regional vice president of Casella Resource Solutions

Family: Married with two adult children

Education completed:

Bachelor’s degree in political science from Wesleyan University in Connecticut; Certificate in biological horticulture (sustainable agriculture) from the University of California; Have completed selected MBA courses at the University of Southern Maine.

Political experience: MSAD 71 (now RSU 21) Board of Education (six years); Kennebunk Light and Power District Board of Trustees (first term, president).

Organizations and activities: Solar Association of Maine (founding member); First Parish Preservation Foundation (trustee, secretary, clerk); Citizens Climate Lobby (volunteer); No Place Like Home in Kennebunk (volunteer); member of the Edgecomb Tennis Club and the York County Selective Service Board; Former founding executive director of the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners

Top three issues:

1. Jobs and the Economy. Our young people are leaving the state for good jobs, and leaving us without their energy and ingenuity. The rest of us know good paying and meaningful jobs are hard to find. We must continue to grow 21st century jobs in solar, precision engineering, high tech, and sustainable farming and food, while helping existing businesses succeed. We need a living wage, excellent education and an economy that works for everyone. Let’s start with a new solar policy, an updated of farm policy, investment in abandoned industrial facilities and in public infrastructure like roads and fiber optics.

2. Natural Resources and the Environment. Protect our “world class” natural resources (rivers, lakes, forests, soils and ocean) for our children, while we use them sustainably to grow our forestry, fishing, farming and tourism industries. Pass a comprehensive solar, wind, and renewable energy bill that could deliver jobs and grow an industry that is researched, designed, developed, manufactured and installed in Maine. With new policy to support the transition of existing farms to the next generation and re-establish historic farmland, we can build a great local food system and could feed all of Maine, according to the Maine Farmland Trust.

3. Education. Excellent public education is the key to successful people and a successful democracy. We need strong, consistent state leadership, high and broad standards, qualified teachers and administrators, engaged communities, universal education from pre-kindergarten through high school. Linkage between York County Community College and our economy should be stronger. We must support our teachers and insist on accountability for success. The people of Maine agreed by referendum that the state would provide revenue sharing equal to 55 percent of local school funding, reducing property taxes, but this promise remains unfulfilled. Stop the revolving door in leadership at the Department of Education.

Why are you seeking elected office?

Something’s amiss in York County and Augusta, and I want to work with our people, our businesses and local leaders in District 34 to fix it. We have great people, too many of whom don’t see pathways to success. We have unsurpassed natural resources that should be protected and more sustainably managed. We have dedicated businesses and entrepreneurs who could better thrive with consistent and supportive public policy. We face local impacts of climate change, which can and must be addressed soon with mitigation planning and improved environmental and energy policy.

Together we can realize a future where hard working Mainers have good jobs, provide for themselves and their families and contribute to their communities. Once again, our youth could work their way through college, graduate debt free, and find jobs here. We can improve skilled trade training opportunities from high schools through York County Community College to match skills with business needs. We can secure our people and families with better childcare access, affordable housing, MaineCare expansion, restored revenue sharing to towns and property tax relief. With better conservation planning we could stop York County from becoming “North Boston.” With a comprehensive and honest look, we could even fix our welfare system, reduce cheating, and help everyone to live to their highest potential, without a culture of dependency.

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

I intend to help rebuild the trust and re-engage our people in our own democracy in our towns in District 34 and in Augusta. Too many of us are angry, divided and mistrustful of our politicians, government and political process. Our economy is still sluggish, good jobs are too few, and our working families, the elderly and poor face many challenges, after bank and corporate scandals and bailouts and a recession at the expense of our once strong middle class. Harsh and extreme views and speech result, further fanning the flames. Both parties share responsibility. Fortunately, we do have some hardworking and dedicated leaders now in Augusta and in our towns, but we need new voices to work on fostering open dialogue and bipartisan teamwork in order to get out of this stalemate we’re in.

Strong leaders advocate their views vigorously, while respecting others’ views and listening for the kernels of truth in those opposing views. Respect will gain you trust. Armed with facts and trust, elected representatives can then help deliver the best solutions for everyone. Even the toughest problems or most extreme positions can be addressed in this manner. I am running to fight for better leadership, open government, honest debate, and fact-based solutions to our problems. I will try to lead by example and challenge others to help improve our political process. I hope you will help me make leaders in Augusta and in our towns more accountable to bipartisan, respectful problem-solving at www.kilbournforsenate.org. It’s everyone’s job.

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