BANGOR – The challenger in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race got a little personal Wednesday when he was given the chance to ask his opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, what made him a blue-collar working Mainer.
“You tell everybody that you work at the mill. In essence you work part-time and sit on the board,” Laurence “Scott” D’Amboise said during the Maine Public Broadcasting Network debate. “I just want you to tell the people how long you have worked there.”
Michaud, a Democrat from East Millinocket, stated he’s been an employee of Great Northern Paper Co. for 30 years, though some of it has been part-time.
“Pretty much all my adult life I’ve worked two jobs,” Michaud said, noting that he continued to work at the paper mill during his 22 years in the Maine Legislature.
“When you look at the work at the mill, it really gave me that opportunity to always stay grounded with the working men and women here in the state of Maine,” Michaud said.
D’Amboise, a Republican from Lisbon Falls, also is running as a blue-collar candidate.
He has worked as an eye care technician for 15 years and also operates a small family cleaning business with his wife.
“There’s a difference between being a career politician and someone who works in the state of Maine every day and knows how difficult it is,” D’Amboise said.
The differences between the two candidates were clearer during Wednesday’s televised debate than they were earlier this week at a debate at Thomas College in Waterville.
While Michaud believes in the importance of stem cell research, D’Amboise is adamantly against it.
Their views on where the government needs to go with its immigration policies also differ.
“We’ve had laws on the books for years,” D’Amboise said. “The problem is our government didn’t follow the laws.”
D’Amboise said he believes in first securing U.S. borders, and then to make the time period to become an American citizen shorter.
“But if you’re here illegally and you’ve committed crimes, then you need to go,” D’Amboise said.
D’Amboise also had a very strong opinion, differing from Michaud, on what should be required of American citizens.
“If you want to become an American then learn to speak like an American,” he said.
Michaud said he doesn’t believe building a 700-mile-long fence along the Mexican border is going to solve the problem.
“I think we need a comprehensive approach,” he said.
The 2nd District Congressional candidate profiles and debate are available at www.mpbn.net.
The debate is scheduled to air again on MPBN radio at 1 p.m. today and on television at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22.