Incumbent Rep. Ann Dorney, D-Norridgewock, faces a challenge from political newcomer Brad Farrin in the race for the seat in House District 111, which includes Madison, Norridgewock and Solon.

Dorney, 61, finishing her first term in the Legislature, said that if re-elected, she would like to continue to focus on issues of health care access and substance abuse.

Farrin, 50, also of Norridgewock and a Republican, said his recent retirement from the Army National Guard is what inspired him to run for office and that if elected, he would like to focus on welfare reform and job creation.

Both candidates agreed that more work needs to be done in the district around issues related to affordable energy.

“Energy costs are a huge thing driving businesses away,” said Farrin, who works as a facilities manager at Milton CAT, a construction company. “I’ve talked to a number of small businesses that are worried. They’re month to month with their energy bills. They can control all their other costs, but energy is really hurting.”

Farrin said that while home and business owners can do things to increase the efficiency of their energy use, the state needs to put more resources toward reducing energy costs.


“We have resources available, whether it is natural gas or hydro, but then we get notices in our mailbox that electricity is going up to 15 cents a kilowatt hour this January, and it just doesn’t make sense to people,” Farrin said.

Dorney also has advocated for reducing energy costs and creating more jobs around energy efficiency. For the last two years, she has sponsored an annual Energy Expo at Madison Area Memorial High School as part of an effort to educate people on ways they can make their homes and businesses more efficient. The event also brings in people in the energy industry to discuss sources of alternative energy.

“Alternative energy is something we can really take advantage of. We can create our own energy. We can weatherize our houses,” Dorney said. “Maine doesn’t have much for energy sources, but there are things we can do.”

When it comes to social services, the candidates disagreed on health and welfare services and the growth of such programs.

Dorney, who works as a physician at Skowhegan Family Medicine, said she supports expanding MaineCare under the federal Affordable Care Act because she has seen a lot of patients who can’t afford medications.

In the Legislature, she served on the Health and Human Services Committee and sponsored several health-care-related bills, including a new law that has expanded the availability of drugs that can be used to reverse symptoms of narcotic overdoses.


Farrin said he would not support the expansion of MaineCare as proposed and that he believes the state needs to work on running the system more efficiently.

“To continue to throw money at a problem is not the solution,” he said. “I’m worried that when the federal money runs out, Maine taxpayers are going to be left with the bill.”

He also supports welfare reform, including placing more limitations on the use of EBT cards. Dorney said she is afraid that making cuts to welfare programs such as EBT cards will make poverty worse in the state.

Another issue on which the candidates differ is on bear baiting and trapping. Farrin said he opposes a referendum question that would ban the practice. Dorney, meanwhile, said she plans to vote “yes” on Question 1 in this year’s citizen-initiated referendum, which asks residents whether they want to ban the use of bait, dogs and traps in bear hunting.

“I know people might be unhappy with me, but my reasoning is that feeding bears makes them more dangerous because it will make them want to look for human food. I certainly support bear hunting and I support hunting in the area, but I think we can do bear hunting without trapping, baiting and dogs,” Dorney said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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