Incumbent State Rep. Russell Black, R-Wilton, is seeking a second term in the state House of Representatives, challenged by Richard Stovall, D-Phillips.
Black said his 30 years of experience in public service, including the Wilton Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board, makes him the right choice for the job, and he welcomes a return to the State House.
Stovall said he is qualified to serve in the Maine Legislature because of his experience working in big and small business and during combat as commander in the Vietnam War.
They are seeking the House District 90 seat representing Avon, New Vineyard, Phillips, Strong, Temple, Wilton and some townships in Franklin County.
Black said he has the experience and knowledge to help solve the state’s problems.
He said he would draw on his work as a farmer and a logger to help the Maine economy.
“I believe that District 90 has many resources that we can utilize for permanent jobs in the area,” he said. “Many of those would be expanding food and fiber from our land base. We need to continue to promote tourism.”
Black said he will work toward lowering energy rates and reducing regulations on business as a way to promote growth, but would continue to protect the environment and natural resources.
“We need to lower energy costs, reduce over-regulation and to expand our educational opportunities, whether it be high school or community colleges for new job training,” he said.
Black said a good start on reducing regulations was a move recently to ease the restrictions on removing gravel from Sandy River where gravel bars have been flooding timber and farm land.
He said he also will work toward reducing the cost of electricity with increased biomass usage and will push to open state-owned land for the production of maple syrup, which could lead to hundreds of jobs for six months a year.
Stovall said he would strengthen existing state programs to attract and promote job creation and improvement, if elected.
He would promote and support economic development, attack fraud and waste and eliminate “economic favoritism and un-needed subsidies and tax breaks,” he said.
Stovall said the state could boost the local economy by offering financial help to logging companies that hire Maine workers. He said that would offset Canadian government subsidies to Canadian companies that work in Maine.
He said he opposes subsidies to wind power companies in rural Maine and would support the state backing of tidal power.
He said the state can balance the load on the taxpayer by implementing fairness in the welfare system, as well. Stovall said the state would save money by hiring more fraud investigators to examine who should get public assistance and who should not.
Black said he has seen Democrats and Republicans working together in Maine government and finds that encouraging.
“In Augusta in the last two years, both parties have worked together to create numerous balanced budgets and pass many laws that have had bipartisan support,” Black said. “I believe legislators need to work together from both parties, which I have done, to make the best decisions for the state of Maine.”
Stovall said the state’s poor economy and the corresponding financial stress on the budget is made worse by “nasty partisanship.”
“It is a horrible problem,” he said. “We should work like Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil, with principled purpose tempered with civility and good fellowship and compromise. They both got things done for the good of the nation, not simply for their party.”
Doug Harlow — 612-2367