In the race for House District 82, incumbent Rep. Randall Greenwood, a Republican from Wales, is challenged by Kent Ackley, a Common Sense Independent” candidate from Monmouth, who believes his business acumen would serve the district well.

Greenwood, 43, says his three young children are the major impetus behind his campaign for re-election.

“I want to see the state improve so my three kids can have the honor and privilege of staying here and raising their family in this great state,” he said.

He’s said he’s seen too many people who have had to move out of state.

Greenwood said high taxes are the major concern for people in the district and one that he is addressing. Greenwood is the lead Republican on the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee, a longtime commissioner in Androscoggin County and a former selectman in Wales. He said he is proud of his ability to work across the aisle in the Legislature.

“There may have been a handful of issues we cannot agree on, but as a whole, there was lots of compromise,” he said. “Neither side dominated the 127th, and at the end of the session, we had achieved some significant reforms to the benefit of the people of Maine.”

Ackley is a newcomer to politics.

“I’m not a politician,” said Ackley, 49. “I’m from outside the two-party system. As a son of rural Maine, a Registered Maine Guide and a small business entrepreneur, I can help guide Maine forward with renewed vision and energy.”

Ackley is also upfront about a criminal conviction for burglary and theft from November 1985.

“At the age of 18, I was a bit of wild child,” he said. “Anyone who knew me then knew that I had a little bit to learn. Some friends and I decided it would be a very good idea to take a very expensive computer from the school. We got caught, and I spent a week in jail for that stunt. My parents were mortified. It was a lesson for me because what it said was that I needed to smarten up.”

Since then, he’s earned his college degrees, started three companies and sold two of them.

“The lesson there for me was kind of a hard way to learn common sense,” he said. “You learn a little about value of reputation and importance of hard work and using common sense in the real world.”

He said his high school principal, Ron Moody, was the first person to sign his nomination papers to run.

Ackley added, “He has been unflinchingly supportive of my desire to serve in the Legislature.”

Ackley’s campaign treasurer is Robin Upton-Sukeforth, a state employee for more than 20 years who is active in the Maine State Employees Association.

Both Ackley and Greenwood responded to questions by telephone and by email.

Greenwood said he will continue to work on the ways to address the opioid crisis. He noted that as a result of efforts last session, 10 more drug enforcement agents were added as well as $2 million more in funding for treatment for those addicted.

“Opioid addiction affects all Mainers of all ages and all economic backgrounds; it knows no boundaries,” Greenwood said. “We need to balance enforcement, treatment and prevention.”

Greenwood also used the “common sense” tag adopted by Ackley.

“The welfare reforms achieved during the last session are common-sense solutions to our overgenerous welfare and entitlement programs that should have been addressed years ago,” Greenwood said. “Strong leadership from the executive branch and department commissioners have helped identify savings and abuses that were corrected during the last session.”

Greenwood listed his goals for aiding businesses in Maine.

“We need lower energy costs, reduced regulations and lower taxes to encourage investment in this state,” he said. “I have owned, operated and managed small businesses and understand the kinds of reforms needed to accomplish economic prosperity.”

Ackley said he’s visited 2,400 homes in Litchfield, Monmouth and Wales, where voters said their most important issues are property tax increases, education funding and arsenic-free well water.

In response, he said he wants to “restore civility to our political conversation” and use “old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity to find common-sense solutions to grow our economy and jobs.”

Ackley also wants to stabilize property taxes and reform public education funding.

“The state has been starving the public education system for funding,” Ackley said. “Litchfield and Wales’ RSU this past year saw a $450,000 decrease in state funding while student enrollment increased, for example. It’s how they’ve been balancing the state budget for years. That leaves townspeople with a difficult choice: Make more cuts to the schools or raise property taxes to cover the deficit.”

He said a solution could include increasing the homestead exemption, finding savings elsewhere in the state budget “and seeing that our investment in public education is producing graduates who are capable of being self-sufficient in today’s global labor market.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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.

filed under: