SKOWHEGAN — The four Democratic candidates running to become Maine’s next U.S. Senator said Congress is not listening to the average voters.

Maine Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth, former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, state Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, and businessman Benjamin Pollard appeared at a forum Sunday night at the Steelworkers Union Hall in Skowhegan.

About 60 people listened to the candidates answer a series of questions, ranging from personal strengths to stances on everything from health care to their solution to harmful partisan politics.

The candidates agreed that the federal government has to do more to limit the influence of the most wealthy and powerful citizens. The passage of campaign financing legislation, for instance, has allowed corporations to affect elections nationwide.

“Multinational businesses have the biggest voice and the rules end up rigged against the ordinary American,” Hinck said.

Dunlap said government didn’t listen to people’s stories about health care costs bankrupting families when debating the recent reform.

Dill said she supports public infrastructure investments instead of the push toward private ownership of projects, such as recent proposals looking at private firms owning an east-west highway in Maine.

Pollard said he supports public investments in rail and other projects to reduce dependence on fossil fuels will eliminate some of issues hurting the middle class and poor citizens.

The candidates also said the federal government can do more to find common ground, saying the partisan politics have further disenfranchised voters.

Dill said she supports repealing the filibuster rule, which she says is responsible for the federal government’s inability to address problems such as health care reform.

Dunlap said he would isolate members of Congress who are unwilling to compromise and work with those who want to solve problems. “The Tea Party is not in the mood to cooperate,” he said.

Although he described himself as being on the far left of the Democratic Party, Hinck said he has a record of crossing the aisle to ensure legislation gets passed.

Pollard said the federal government needs more representatives who don’t vote strictly along party lines. He said he supports strong national defense, small federal government while also backing environmental protection and social programs that benefit the middle class.

The four candidates are running in the June 12 Democratic Senate primary, with the winner facing the Republican nominee and possibly former Gov. Angus King, who said he is running as an independent.

David F. Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]


The six Republican candidates running in the June 12 primary are former State Sen. Rick Bennett, businessman Scott D’Amboise, State Sen. Debra Plowman, State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, Attorney General William Schneider, and Secretary of State Charlie Summers.

Former Maine Gov. Angus King is among the independents

who have said they’re running.

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