A retired Maine Army National Guard lieutenant colonel is up against a longtime Town Council chairman for a seat in the Maine State House.

Democrat Alan Tibbetts, 59, of Sidney, faces Mike Perkins, 55, of Oakland, in the race for the House District 77 seat representing Sidney and part of Oakland.

Tibbetts, who ran for the seat in the previous election against incumbent Robert Nutting and lost, said he is running again to return political power to the people and improve Maine’s economy.

Perkins, who has served on the Oakland Town Council for nine years, eight of which he was chairman, said he’s running because “we need common sense down there” at the State House.

Both Perkins and Tibbetts agree that choices the state government makes on how to spend tax money aren’t helping Maine move forward.

“How the state spends our tax money is about choices. Unfortunately, politicians in Augusta have been making some poor choices,” Tibbetts said.

Perkins thinks the state is spending money “frivolously” and that Mainers are overtaxed. He wants to lower taxes and make up the money by ending noncitizen welfare. The state needs to create jobs and stop spending money on people who aren’t citizens, he said.

Right now, he said, there is “ridiculous spending on ridiculous stuff.”

While working in the Guard, Tibbetts said, he managed $20 million budgets and investigated fraud, waste and abuse. “I learned a lot about problem solving and decision making,” he said. “If elected, I will put that experience to work making better choices, in order to build a better future.”

Tibbetts said he doesn’t support the governor’s proposal to lower the income tax rate while increasing and expanding the state’s sales tax. The people who would lose in that scenario would be retirees and homeowners, he said, and those who are “the best off” would be the ones who gain.

Perkins, who spent four years in the Air Force after graduating from high school, thinks he would represent District 77 best because he is “one of us for us.”

He is involved “in every corner of the community,” he said, participating in community service projects. For example, he has helped organize the annual Thanksgiving Dinner held at Messalonskee High School, which has feeds 1,000 people and has been run for the past 25 years, and has done most of the work for the project for the past 15 years, he said.

Tibbetts said he wants to open Maine up for more job opportunities.

“Lately it seems like Maine has been turning down opportunities for jobs,” he said in a phone interview, citing the governor’s veto of a solar bill that was expected to create 650 jobs. Tibbetts also supports an expansion in Medicaid, which could create 4,000 jobs, he said.

He also sees opportunities to expand Maine’s brand. Now, Tibbetts said, Maine is known for lobster, L.L. Bean and skiing; but it could also be known for its maple syrup.

The two candidates are split on referendum Question 3, which asks voters if they support requiring background checks on gun sales or transfers between unregistered dealers, with some exceptions. Registered gun dealers already are required to conduct background checks, but people selling guns at trade shows, for example, do not have to do that.

Tibbetts supports the proposal, he said, because “with every right comes responsibility.”

“I’m what most people would consider pro-gun,” he said. “I own several military-style firearms, but I consider myself to be a responsible gun owner.”

He thinks people who sell guns to strangers without running background checks bear some level of responsibility for what that person does with the gun, he said.

Perkins, however, does not support the referendum question. He thinks police will be forced to arrest good people for firearm violations.

“The bad guy will get the gun (regardless),” he said.

Instead, Perkins said, there is a simpler solution that won’t restrict people’s rights. He thinks there should be a firearms license or mark on a driver’s license that notes if someone is allowed to have a firearm. That way, he said, individuals selling guns easily could check on whether the state already had cleared someone to own a firearm.

“You wouldn’t let me test-drive your car if I didn’t have a license, would you?” said Perkins, who owns KMD Driving School.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour


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