AUGUSTA — The city’s east side Democratic voters will choose between two different types of experience for the Democratic nomination for state House of Representatives District 85.
Donna Doore, 61, who served on the Augusta City Council and the Augusta Board of Education, said her city government experience gives her a foundation of knowledge needed for the seat.
Rebecca Cornell du Houx, 28, a Maine National Guard member serving with the Guard’s medical detachment in Augusta, has previously worked as a social worker and mental health case manager. She’s worked with people who needed the government’s help, and said she can give them a voice in the State House.
Both want to be the Democratic candidate for the seat that comprises Augusta east of the Kennebec River. The winner of the Democratic primary is expected to face Republican candidate Kimberly Davis, a former state representative who does not face a primary challenge, in the general election in November.
The primary election is June 10.
Doore said her time serving on the council and school board, combined with her many years working in state government in the investigations office of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, have given her valuable experience.
“I’ve owned a house in the city for 35 years, have served my community, and I have the knowledge of how the Board of Education and City Council works, so I have that experience and I think that makes me a little more qualified,” Doore said. “I served almost 30 years in state government, working with consumers and their problems, and have a great knowledge of the different departments of the state and how they work, and I think I can represent the citizens of Augusta well.”
Cornell du Houx said she has gained valuable experience and leadership skills in her 11 years with the Maine National Guard, first with the 133rd Engineer Battalion and now with the medical detachment, and her time working in social services gave her insight into the troubles faced by many hardworking people. She said having to turn down people seeking social services, because they didn’t have health insurance, was a major motivation for her to get into politics.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people who’ve been struggling — either they didn’t have a job, or weren’t getting paid enough, who want a stable foundation in life, who needed guidance, but who lose their health care and are left standing in the dark,” Cornell du Houx said. “All those people I’ve met, collectively, inspired me to jump into politics. So they’ll have somebody who will listen to them, and bring their voice to the State House.”
Cornell du Houx said her father, who worked all his life and had state-funded health insurance but then lost it, had cancer and now, without insurance, has not been able to find out whether the cancer is coming back. She said the state should accept federal money to expand Medicaid to provide more Mainers with health care, which she said would both save lives and create jobs, thus helping improve the economy.
Both candidates said the minimum wage should be higher.
Doore also said if the state could come up with a plan that would allow everyone to have health insurance, it would both help people be healthier and help the economy by lowering people’s, and municipalities’, health care costs.
Doore said if the state paid its full share of municipal revenue sharing and education costs, that would also help the economy, and make the tax system more equitable by decreasing reliance on property taxes to raise revenues.
Cornell du Houx also said the state should fully fund revenue sharing to municipalities.
Both candidates said downtowns, like Augusta’s, are vital to Maine’s economy and small businesses, and need the state’s support.
Doore has been diagnosed with a rare, but treatable, form of cancer, but said she is doing well in her treatment, tests so far have been positive, and her battle with it should not have an impact on her ability to serve in the state Legislature.
Cornell du Houx said while she is still a reservist with the National Guard, it is unlikely she would be called up by the Guard to serve overseas during the legislative session, because the medical detachment she is now a member of hasn’t been deployed for a significant period of time.
Keith Edwards – 621-5647 | [email protected] | Twitter: @kedwardskj