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House District 129, part of Gorham

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Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:53 am | Updated: 2:19 pm, Thu Oct 11, 2012.

Jane S. 
Knapp (R)

Age: 64

Town: Gorham

Occupation; Retired high school biology teacher

Experience: Gorham School Committee (3 terms, 9 years); Gorham Town Council (3 terms, 9 years); 124th and 125 Maine Legislature House of Representatives, serving District 129

Q: What do you think the three most important issues are?

A: 1. Economy. Mainers want to work. There needs to be more effort to encourage entrepreneurs. One organization that helps is the Maine Technology Institute. In the educational sector, the University of Maine’s Innovation Engineering program helps people create. USM and SMCC educate students in many fields including health care. In Maine, the future jobs will be science/math related and in the health field.

2. Education. Gorham residents have supported the education system. With my experience as a parent, teacher and school committee member, I have always promoted education.  The state of Maine needs to provide support at many levels, primary, secondary and post secondary. Some Mainers want to go back to school for training in a new field. Our community college and university system offer a wide variety of programs.

3. Environment. There are many aspects to a healthy environment. Citizens need to read labels and make decisions. At home, there should be limited chemicals.  The Legislature started work on the issue of toxic chemicals. Another source of harmful substances in the environment are drugs.  Twice a year in Maine the police will take back drugs so there is appropriate disposal. For the outside environment, there is more emphasis on keeping areas for recreation (Gorham is fortunate to have playing fields, parks and trails).

Q: What do you think the solutions are?

A: Economy: Workers need to be open to the idea of training in a new field. The work ethic of Mainers is well known and business development will happen in the state of Maine.

Education: The Legislature needs to keep education as a priority. Communities need to encourage school volunteers (Gorham is exemplary). Businesses need to fund internships so students can work in their career field.

Environment: Citizens must participate in programs that help keep Maine green (recycling programs, drug drop-off programs) Citizens have an opportunity to vote on environmental bond issues. The Legislature must keep laws that help the environment like the bottle bill. The Legislature must fund the Department of Environmental Protection. Industry must obey environmental laws.

Q: Do you support same-sex marriage?

A: This is a question on the November ballot. Each citizen needs to look at information and his/her feelings and make a decision without being swayed by candidate(s).

McLean (D)

Age: 27

Town: Gorham

Occupation: Administrator, USM

Political experience: Various political campaigns and civic boards; appointed by Gov. Baldacci in 2009 to Maine Commission for Community Service.

Q: What do you think the three most important issues are?

A: Eight months ago, I started a conversation with voters in Gorham, knocking on thousands of doors, listening to people and discussing how we build a stronger future for Gorham and our state. I work with students every day at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham who struggle to make it through college and find good-paying jobs to help them get ahead.  I am running for state representative to lead efforts to reinvest in vocational education, promote sustainable, local, economic development that creates jobs and preserves our quality of life.

Gorham residents are concerned about a number of issues. Their biggest concern is the economy, and the lack of smart and strategic investments in education, economic development and job creation in the state. Gorham residents understand that it takes a good education from kindergarten through post-secondary to create a strong economy.

Q: What do you think the solutions are?

A: The overall lack of good-paying jobs in our state, and the lack of skilled labor to fill good paying jobs that do exist demonstrate that state leaders have not worked with the private sector and educational institutions to set the right priorities for economic expansion and job creation and training.  We can get Maine back on a path to prosperity and opportunity by focusing on what matters most.

Government must equip Mainers with the skills and tools they need to succeed in our economy by strengthening the public education system. Unfortunately, state government has dropped the ball, failing to fulfill its commitment to our schools –forcing local governments to increase taxes to compensate for funds promised by state government. Beyond education, we need to do more to support small businesses and entrepreneurs so they have the resources they need to expand and create jobs in Maine. One of my goals in Augusta is to re-establish the vitality of community colleges, vocational schools and access to post-secondary education. Community colleges, vocational schools and more affordable access to higher education offer us our best way to expand economic opportunity for all Maine people. This will improve the lives of Maine families and protect the quality of life that makes Maine a truly special place to live.

One person doesn’t hold all the answers to the challenges we face, however, it’s most important that we have leaders who are willing to work together, to listen and be responsive to constituents. I commit to being that leader for Gorham.

Q: Do you support same-sex marriage?

A: I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. When two loving, committed people fall in love and want to get married, they should have the freedom to do so. When we treat all families fairly, we have stronger, safer and healthier communities.

Welcome to the discussion.