Both candidates in the race for the House District 78 seat say they will fight for revenue sharing to municipalities and push for 55 percent funding for education if elected in November.

Incumbent Rep. Catherine M. Nadeau, D-Winslow, is challenged by Benjamin B. Twitchell III, a Republican and Winslow town councilor.

Nadeau, who is serving in her fourth year in the House, says she is seeking re-election because she has much more to do to represent her constituents in District 78, which includes Winslow and part of Benton.

“I’m not done yet,” said Nadeau. “If I can still help the people in the town of Winslow, then that is why I want to go back down to Augusta. I also work for Benton. I go to their town meetings every month and I really have gotten attached to them, too, and they’re depending on me.”

Twitchell has been a town councilor in Winslow for four years, representing the town’s District 2. He calls revenue sharing and school funding two pet peeves — and he wants to see municipalities get the revenue sharing from the state that they deserve, he said.

“Revenue sharing was supposed to be 5 percent, and we’re getting 2 percent,” Twitchell said. “That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars for a little town like Winslow, and that was supposed to help keep taxes down. This year is the first year in eight years we’ve had to go up on taxes because revenue sharing is so low. The 2 percent is making it tough for us to make our ends meet.”

Nadeau says she has a lot of elderly constituents in both towns who are struggling, and she wants to continue to help them.

“We’re a bedroom community and we can’t ask them any more than they have already done,” she said. “A lot of these older people don’t have kids and grandkids in the system and yet they’re paying. I’m fighting for these people.”

She said that as a state representative, she goes to hearings and speaks about her constituents’ concerns and will continue doing so. Nadeau said a Benton resident who is a Vietnam veteran could not get the Homestead property tax exemption because he had not served 180 days, so she fought for him in Augusta and got a law passed that gives him the same rights as those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea, she said.

“These people have gone through boot camp, they became veterans, they got hurt. Should we penalize these veterans because they didn’t make it 180 days? My answer to that is ‘no.'”

That bill, L.D. 170, “Act to Remove 180-day Requirement for the Property Tax Exemption for the Vietnam Veterans,” was passed in 2015.

Nadeau also sponsored a bill to allow the Kennebec Sanitary District to hold money in an account earmarked for upkeep and maintenance without first having to go to the municipality. The bill, L.D. 1495, titled “Allow Kennebec Sanitary District to Establish and Maintain a Capital Reserve Fund,” was passed this year.

“Now they don’t have to bond out,” she said.

Nadeau also says she works to make sure her relationships across the aisle are as important as those on her side of the aisle.

“My towns expect me to work together, civilly and respectfully, on issues that matter to Winslow and Benton,” she said.

Nadeau sponsored L.D. 1333, “Recognizing March as Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month,” which passed in 2015; L.D. 1325, “Act to Ensure a Public Process when Discontinuing or Abandoning a Public Road,” which passed this year; and L.D. 532, “Amend the Laws Governing the Maine State Library,” which passed in 2012.

Twitchell said the state is supposed to fund education at 55 percent, and he cannot do anything about that at the local level.

“But if I get down there (Augusta), I might be able to,” he said.

“I think I can make a difference. My big thing is taxes — trying to keep taxes down. I’ve always been involved with the education stuff. Winslow has great schools.”

Twitchell, a former Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts and current member of Bourque-Lanigan American Legion Post 5, of Waterville, also is concerned about the drug epidemic and wants to help curb the problem, he said.

“I know a lot of people in the community because I’ve been here 30 years. People are going to have to work together to get this solved. We don’t have as much trouble here as they do in some states or towns, but it’s here.”

He said he is a listener who assesses a situation thoughtfully before taking action.

“I like to get all the data and then make a decision,” he said.

Welfare reform and working to help reduce the size and scope of Maine government also will be a priority for Twitchell, he said.

“I have a problem with people using EBT cards to buy drugs and alcohol. EBT cards we put out for a reason — food, necessities of life.”

He said that as a town councilor, he pushed for an abandoned-building ordinance and it was approved.

“That’s working,” he said, citing a building in Winslow that posed a problem, is finally going to be sold and will be either torn down or repaired.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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