HAMPDEN — Two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent are vying for the District 114 seat vacated by Rep. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden. The district consists of Hampden, Newburgh and Dixmont.
Competing during the June 13 primary are Democrats Brian Kilroy and Carl Pease and Republicans Dana Skinner and Brian Duprey, all of Hampden. Independent Rosanna Libby of Newburgh will be on the ballot in November.
The candidates spoke recently about the issues that mean the most to them.
A former high school social studies teacher who holds that “everybody should take a turn at public service,” Kilroy said he would work to increase state aid for education and reduce reliance on property taxes; ensure violence-free schools; and attract and maintain quality employment.
A labor representative for the Maine Education Association, Kilroy, 44, is a Lewiston native with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Maine.
Kilroy has served as president of the SAD 64 Teachers Association and trustee of the Maine Children’s Trust Fund, appointed by former Governors Joseph Brennan and John McKernan to help administer money for child abuse prevention.
A former employee of the U.S. Postal Service in Bangor, Kilroy is past president of Local 536 of the American Postal Workers Union AFL-CIO.
He is a member of the board of trustees for the Lura Hoit Pool in Hampden where he is raising three children with his wife Barbara.
A candidate for the Maine House of Representatives in 1996 and 1998, Pease said he is ready to take on the balancing act “between representing people in the district and doing what’s best for the state as a whole.”
He said he would work to shift the educational burden from property tax to taxes based more on a person’s ability to pay — for example, sales or income taxes; ensure greater support of the University of Maine, especially in research and development; help students who want education beyond high school; and encourage recycling.
Pease also wants to promote businesses that use materials already available in Maine, such as agricultural produce and seafood; that provide a living wage and good benefits; and that have not broken environmental, civil rights or labor laws.
He is running his campaign under the Maine Clean Election Act, in which election money is allocated through a state fund.
A member of the Maine Democratic Rules Committee and the Maine Democratic Platform Committee, Pease is a delegate to the Maine Democratic Convention.
Pease, 46, grew up in Pittsfield and graduated from UM with degrees in education and public administration.
Vice president of the Maine Association of Parliamentarians, Pease advises organizations on the rules of procedure and helps them write bylaws. He is a member of the board of directors of the Informed Notaries of Maine, co-secretary of the Hampden Citizens Coalition, president and deacon of the Hampden Congregational Church, and scribe of the Penobscot-Piscataquis Association of the United Church of Christ.
A pharmacy technician during Desert Storm, Pease is a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. He lives with his wife, Margaret, and has two grown stepdaughters.
Concerned about overtaxation, Skinner said he would advocate for either reduced taxes or for having surpluses returned to citizens.
Working to decrease the number of unfunded mandates is another priority for Skinner. Town officials have told him they are concerned about extra burdens for their communities, he said.
Since his wife, Helen, is a former elementary school teacher, Skinner also is interested in educational issues.
A Belfast native, Skinner is a semi-retired real estate broker who also has worked in automotive sales. His flexible schedule affords him ample time to devote to legislative matters, he said.
A member of the Hampden Kiwanis, Skinner has three children and five grandchildren.
Duprey is committed to reducing Maine’s tax burden and spurring economic growth by cutting wasteful spending, reducing the individual income tax, and eliminating the corporate income tax to attract out-of-state businesses with better-paying jobs.
“The tax burden on Maine taxpayers is so high that many of today’s high school and college graduates leave Maine and find higher-paying jobs in a state with lower taxes,” said Duprey, a father of three who hopes his children will be able to stay in Maine when they are grown.
Promoting family values, improving education through school choice and protecting the rights of private property owners also are important to Duprey, who, with his wife Carol, owns day care centers in Bangor and Hampden.
A graduate of Lawrence High School in Fairfield and an eight-year veteran of the Navy, Duprey, 33, said Maine should make a “serious new commitment to economic growth and job creation.”
He offered a number of ideas on how that pledge could take shape.
Limiting spending and revenues to an annual increase of not more than the rate of inflation for five years or more would decrease the tax burden by at least 20 percent, stimulate job creation and help make Maine’s tax burden competitive with that of other states, he said.
Progressive taxes are counterproductive, according to Duprey, who suggested reducing the individual income tax rate to a low, flat rate over several years so that Maine would keep spending growth below the growth of per capita income.
The corporate income tax should be abolished, according to Duprey. In 1997 it provided only 9 percent of total income tax revenue and less than 2.5 percent of state total operating revenues, he said.
For Libby, being an effective legislator means keeping in touch with constituents and having a thorough knowledge of the issues.
A lawmaker should work with other members of the Legislature to represent all the people “without giving preferential treatment to lobbyists, special interests groups, the wealthy, or one part of the state against the other,” said Libby, who is running her campaign under the Maine Clean Election Act.
Libby hopes to be involved in the Legislature’s plans to revamp the school cost-sharing formula. Many communities feel they are bearing an unfair amount of the cost sharing within their school districts, according to the candidate. She said she heard from residents during her recent involvement with the School Governance Committee, a group that worked on a bill to amend the school budget approval process.
It’s time for legislators to put their collective feet down about unfunded mandates from the federal government, according to Libby. Lawmakers should look into why fuel costs fluctuate so much, work to keep the economy stable through long-term planning, and implement a yearly review to make sure that programs are working, she said.
Making concessions is an inherent part of getting things done, according to Libby. “Many legislative sessions come to a logjam where nothing gets completed because no one will compromise,” she said. “As a representative of Maine, [my job] is to say, `Wait a minute. There’s some way here we can compromise so everyone has something and no one person wins or loses. Life is a compromise. You can’t take a stance and back off and say you won’t do any work.”‘
A graduate of Andover College, a business school in Portland, Libby, 49, ran a hair salon for 12 years. A self-described lifelong learner, she took classes in real estate law and municipal assessing. If elected to the Legislature, she plans to work toward a degree in political science.
Libby has been active in the Parents Teachers Friends group in Newburgh, and was involved in “Make a Difference Day” projects in her community and in Hampden.
A former member of the Women’s Business Development Corp., Libby serves as trustee of the First Baptist Church in Bangor where she has been a member for 29 years and a Sunday school teacher for 15 years.