Two-term state Rep. Lori Fowle, D-Vassalboro, who represents House District 80, faces opposition in November from political newcomer Richard T. Bradstreet, a Vassalboro Republican.

Fowle said she is seeking a third term because she wants to continue to help constituents with their needs and concerns, to help alleviate the drug crisis and to advocate for those who suffer when the tax burden is shifted from the state to local communities.

While legislators work to craft and pass bills, they also take calls from people in their districts seeking help, and Fowle likes being able to help them and connect them with resources if needed.

“There’s a lot of work done behind the scenes, dealing one-on-one with constituents with a concern or issue or something they need help with,” Fowle said. “That’s something I really enjoy.”

Bradstreet says that in his capacity as part-time executive director of the Manufactured Housing Association of Maine, he has spent time at the state Legislature, has testified before it and is concerned sometimes about what goes on that is detrimental to business.

“I’m all set for myself, but I have children and grandchildren and I want to see them do well and do well in Maine. And to stay in Maine, there have to be good jobs,” he said. “I think if we had a more positive business climate, businesses would be more apt to move here or form here and stay here.”

As someone who ran a business 30 years and was involved in several other businesses along the way, Bradstreet said he thinks he has the experience to help explain to the Legislature the intricacies of business.

“People are really concerned about the lack of good jobs, and they kind of think they have been forgotten,” he said. “They have a tendency to think people who make the big decisions ignore their wishes. People are kind of discouraged about the way things are going.”

Fowle, as chairman of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said she has heard a lot of stories and testimony about people affected by the drug crisis, as well as from law enforcement dealing with the problem. Laws have been passed to help with the issue and Fowle wants to continue work in that area.

“I just want to follow up on it and make sure everything is implemented,” she said.

The opioid crisis also is a priority for Bradstreet, he said.

“That is an issue for everybody and that’s especially where I think the whole state — everybody — needs to get their heads together and think about what can be done,” he said. “This is something that requires our immediate attention.”

Fowle is concerned about what happens to people when cuts are made to state government, forcing problems on local taxpayers, and it is one of the main reasons she ran for the Legislature in the first place, she said.

“Whether it’s the county jails or funding for education, we make cuts and it shifts it over. I refer to it as ‘tax shifting from state to local,’ and sending it back to local puts it on senior citizens and people who can’t afford to have local taxes increase.”

Too many decisions are made by people who live in the southern part of the state, the other Maine, according to Bradstreet.

He said he has been knocking on doors since July, and there are people worried about their taxes, primarily property taxes. “They say they’ve gone up too much,” he said.

Strengthening education in the trades also would be a priority for Bradstreet, who says he used to be in the building businesses and there was a lack of tradespeople and those wanting to get into the trades.

“There needs to be more emphasis on that in schools,” he said. “It’s valuable. Some of the smartest people I know are in the trades. They really know how to run businesses, they know about taxes and they know about rules and regulations.”

Bradstreet said that as executive director of the Manufactured Housing Association, he has seen a lot of situations where business regulations — not necessarily at the state level, but at the federal level — are too stringent.

“We’ve met with some of our congressional delegation and explained what’s happening in our industry,” he said. “I think, at least in Maine, people seem to be more sensible.”

He noted that he raised his own money for his campaign. “I did that on principle, even though some of the people in the party said, ‘You should go to clean elections.’ I have respect for those who do choose that. It’s just my personal choice.”

Fowle said she enjoys working for and supporting veterans. She has twice been given a “Legislator of the Year Award” by the American Legion.

“I take a lot of pride in that,” she said. “I’m proud of being able to fight for the veterans.”

Taking direction from her constituents and responding to their needs and concerns is a priority for Fowle.

“Every time that I’ve run, I haven’t run on an agenda,” she said. “I really try to let the citizens of my district tell what the direction is.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.