2016-10-14 / Front Page

Senate race pits Democrat against Independant

Martha MacAuslan Martha MacAuslan The race for District 29 in the Maine State Senate, which serves Cape Elizabeth and South Portland, as well as coastal Scarborough, will have no Republican in the race. Instead, independent Martha “Molly” MacAuslan, current chairman of the Cape Elizabeth Town Council, will attempt to wrest the seat from two-term incumbent Democrat, Sen. Rebecca Millett, also a Cape resident.

Candidate survey forms sent by the Sentry to each candidate are provided below, in alphabetical order by last name. The surveys include contact information, should readers care to question the candidates further on their positions.

Name: Martha MacAuslan

Age: 57

Address: Park Circle, Cape Elizabeth

Phone: 741-2077

Rebecca Millett Rebecca Millett Email: mmacauslan@gmail.com

Occupation: Real estate consultant (Firm not specified)

Family: Married, two college-aged children

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree, Mount Holyoke College; masters degree, Andover Newton Theological School

Political experience: Cape Elizabeth Town Council (2013-present, current chairman)

Organizations and activities: Cape Library Planning and Building Committees (chairman); Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation board member; Waynflete School board member; Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce member; volunteer on numerous community and school related activities.

Top three issues:

1. Funding education at the 55 percent level mandated by the voters over a decade ago. Our children are the future and education is the path to their future. We’re responsible for ensuring their success and I’d like to work to bring people together around this issue.

2. Growing our economy. Once they’re educated, our children need jobs here in Maine. While I support an increase in the minimum wage, I’d like to see more emphasis on the creation of jobs and expansion of better-paying jobs so that minimum wage workers aspire to more, raise the standard of living, and allow our grown children to stay here and raise their own families.

3. Protect the environment. Maine is a great state to live, work, and play in – let’s keep it that way. We need regulations that are well thought through.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I’m running as an Independent because I’m tired of partisan politics. As a non-partisan entity, our local town council is more effective in its decision making because our members can vote on the merits of issues rather than on the political and partisan implications of the issues. I hope to bring the same perspective to Augusta.

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

Budgets and taxes are typically the issues most folks are concerned about. I’ve spent my entire working life bringing people together around issues, typically around financial issues, and I’d like to bring that experience to benefit our district. Being willing to compromise, working toward common goals, making thoughtful and informed decisions that will affect the lives of so many folks – this is what’s important to voters/ citizens and I’d like to return these qualities to our politics in Augusta.

Name: Rebecca Millett

Age: 54

Address: Cape Elizabeth (street not provided)

Phone: 415-3770

Occupation: Consultant (field/firm not specified)

Family: Married (21 years) with twin children

Education completed: Bachelor’s degrees in administration and international relations from American University; MBA in finance from the University of Chicago

Political experience: Cape Elizabeth Board of Education (2004-2010, past chairman); Maine State Senate (2012 to present)

Organizations and activities: Portland Chamber Music Festival Board of Directors; Maine Alliance for Arts Education Board of Directors; New England Board of Higher Education Legislative Advisory Committee

Top three issues:

1. An aging population and consequently declining workforce, is a major barrier to Maine’s economic future. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce and Maine Development Foundation recently issued a call to action to divert Maine from its demographic cliff. Keeping Maine’s youth in state and encouraging in-migration is critical. Our young families need access to affordable housing, quality schools and vibrant communities. The Legislature needs to reaffirm its commitment to funding public education, commit to higher education affordability by investing in its state university and community college systems and student grant program, and target investments to support growth of Maine’s downtowns.

2. Maine must face climate change. Our coastal waters are warming faster than 99 percent of our world’s other oceans. Puffins are disappearing as herring moves north in search of colder waters. Lobsters may soon follow. Ocean acidification is causing shell disease in our clams. With warmer winters tick borne diseases threaten human health and wildlife like our beloved moose. The threats are many and varied and solutions are complex, long-term and large in scope. This does not excuse inertia or avoiding tough conversations. Maine must lead the effort to mitigate climate change to protect our natural resources and preserve our environment.

3. Maine’s drug epidemic’s toll on families, children and communities is unacceptable. Some 250 Mainers died from overdoses last year, and in 2015 there were 995 affected babies – a record high. This is a crisis. While we passed bipartisan legislation to fund a detox center and 10 new drug enforcement agents and legislation to permit trained pharmacists to furnish naloxone – the overdose antidote, MaineCare reimbursement rates are some of the lowest in the country, causing clinics to close and people to lose access to life saving treatment. Reimbursement rates must increase so Mainers struggling with addiction can recover and rebuild their families.

Why are you seeking elected office?

When I left my job to join the Peace Corps in Ukraine, I discovered that I find meaning and purpose in improving people’s lives through public service. Since then, I have worked passionately to make my community and state a healthier, happier, more prosperous place to live. I am a determined advocate for children, hard-working Mainers and our elderly. Every day I strive to improve the lives of Maine citizens; I would appreciate the opportunity to continue this important work for all of us.

If you could change one thing about the state or your legislative district, what would it be and how would you do it? The talk of a divided Maine, of two states, is not only unproductive but harmful to our economic future. We have a proud history, from north to south, of hard working, resourceful, innovative Mainers and leaders in such industries as shipbuilding, forestry and fisheries. I am committed to working with anyone who shares my belief that we are the greatest state in our nation and have the ability to recommit ourselves to helping our struggling towns and rural areas find pathways to long term success and growth. With positive forward-thinking leadership, we can help our towns attract companies willing to train Maine workers and pay fair wages. We need to recognize broadband as equally essential to Maine’s infrastructure as roads and bridges and finish the job of bringing broadband to all of Maine’s citizens. With expanded broadband and competitive internet speed, Maine can continue its proud tradition of Yankee ingenuity and grow new businesses anywhere in our state. We need to invest in our locally grown food and expand the markets for our farming and seafood industries. We have a lot to be proud of in our state and I will encourage my legislative colleagues to join me in reaffirming Maine’s reputation in our country for having exceptional natural beauty, quality products and smart hardworking citizens.

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