AUGUSTA – U.S. Senate candidates Angus King and Cynthia Dill made promises Thursday to disability rights advocates in separate appearances during a forum attended by about 100 people.

King, the independent former governor, said he will appoint a disabilities advisory council to advise him on federal issues if he is elected.

Dill, a Democratic state senator from Cape Elizabeth, promised to support federal legislation seeking at least minimum wages for disabled workers. She also emphasized her background as a civil rights lawyer who has successfully litigated cases in favor of disabled clients.

Republican Charlie Summers did not attend the forum, which was held at Le Club Calumet in Augusta and was sponsored by the Disability Rights Center.

King pointed to his role as governor from 1995 to 2003 in the closing of the Pineland Center, Maine’s former home for people with mental disabilities, and his efforts to make laptop computers available to every Maine seventh- and eighth-grader.

Only in recent years has he become aware of how important laptop access is, especially to people with disabilities, offering them new ways to communicate and learn, King said.

Dill ticked off a list of issues that she said separate her from King and Summers.

She said she is adamantly opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil through the United States, while strongly supporting a Maine Woods National Park in the northern part of the state.

Dill said the Simpson-Bowles report contains too many pitfalls including the risk of weakening Social Security, while King calls it a basis for unraveling the nation’s financial woes.

“If (the report) seems too good to be true, it’s because it is,” Dill said.


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