Mark André, a Republican from Oakland, and Colleen Madigan, a Democrat from Waterville, are vying for the House District 110 seat vacated by Henry Beck, who is seeking election in Senate District 16.

House District 110 consists of part of Waterville and part of Oakland.

André, a business owner who ran against Beck for the seat in 2012 and 2014 and was defeated both times, says he wants to help lower taxes, encourage business development and create jobs.

Madigan was elected in 2012 to the Senate, representing District 25, and served one term before the district number changed to District 16; she lost the race in 2014 to Scott Cyrway, a Republican. Job creation, access to health care, funding for education and helping to improve the economy are priorities for Madigan, a social worker whose last name was Lachowicz when she represented District 25.

Madigan said she is running in District 110 because she wants to continue to help people with needs and concerns.

“I think my entire adult life work has been about serving others, and I see this as an extension of that,” she said. “I’ve always worked with people who need assistance, whether it be in health care or volunteering at various places. I see serving my community in public office as another way to continue the work that I do every day.”

As a state senator, she enjoyed addressing concerns from constituents and helping to solve problems, she said. She cited as an example a bill she sponsored, which was passed, L.D. 347, “An Act to Amend Insurance Coverage for Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders,” that mandated that health insurance pay for autism services.

“That was the result of constituents, of people saying, ‘I pay for this health insurance, but it doesn’t cover the services my child needs,’ and there were others with the same concern,” Madigan said. “I love that part — fixing a problem that people brought up to me. It’s usually not only one person that has that problem.”

She said she believes that a lot of solutions to problems do not have to be partisan in nature. The effort to pass the bill took a lot of work by a lot of people including parents, she said.

André says he believes there is a “tipping point” in the country between individual liberty and society.

“On the Republican side, people fight for individual liberty; on the Democratic side, it always comes down to how an individual serves society,” he said.

André believes restricting individual liberty is dangerous, and he wants to help ensure people have the right to pursue jobs they want, he said. A plan to close down coal mines in West Virginia, for instance, and dedicate millions of dollars to re-educate people for other jobs is not right, as “those jobs are generational and become part of people’s souls,” according to André.

“There’s a tipping point between the common good and individual rights, and I don’t think the government has the right to close down companies and expect people to go find other work,” André said. “I don’t believe government has the right to make that decision. If they want to provide clean energy and clean energy replaces coal, that’s different than shutting those industries down.”

He said that eventually, government could eliminate other jobs as well.

“If they can shut down the coal mine jobs, when does your job become obsolete? Basically, the point to get across is that we must defend an individual person’s dignity and right to work — and their liberty.”

As a social worker, Madigan says she sees people who have a difficult time getting access to health care, particularly substance abuse treatment, and she wants to help work on that issue at the state level.

“In light of the opioid epidemic, I think there’s a big problem and we need a multi-pronged approach to solve that,” she said, adding that families suffer when someone has a substance abuse problem.

“They certainly suffer more if someone can’t get treatment and they overdose,” she said.

Madigan said working to help lower taxes is another priority, and Waterville faced that issue this budget season.

“School budgets are really crunched by it,” she said. “Certainly, a lot of folks in Waterville had an increase in their property taxes, and many people can’t afford it.”

Waterville is unique in that its physical territory is fairly small and includes a lot of properties that are not subject to taxation, according to Madigan.

“I think we need to look for solutions,” she said. “I don’t think the City Council can do it all. The City Council and mayor have worked so hard. I hope to be able to work with people in Augusta to bring some solutions to Waterville.”

Helping to ensure Waterville receives revenue sharing is another matter she would work on, according to Madigan.

“I think that needs to be addressed at the legislative level and not at the mayor and City Council level,” she said.

André said that the introduction of special trash bags in Waterville two years ago was supposed to help with the budget crisis, but taxes increased anyway.

“I think we can see that there’s a spending problem there,” André said. “Mayor Nick Isgro has done the job as best he can. I want to pay him a compliment for having the courage to veto the budget for Waterville and lower property taxes more than they would have been lowered. I think he needs help in lowering the taxes more in Waterville.”

With mills shutting down in places such as Madison and Millinocket, it is going to take time for towns to adjust their budgets and learn to live within their means, so some type of revenue sharing from the state is needed to help lower people’s taxes, according to André.

Taxes in Waterville and similar communities are higher than in some surrounding towns, and Waterville cannot be as competitive as smaller towns in attracting people to move there or open businesses, he said.

“What we need is a way to lower taxes in the short term and encourage business development in places like Madison until industry moves in. They’re going to need some help along the way. The two things go hand-in-hand. Businesses don’t move into communities that have exorbitantly high tax rates.”

A possible way to solve that is to have a type of revenue sharing for municipalities that work to trim their budgets, he said. For example, if a community trims $100,000 from its municipal budget, possibly the state could kick in an equal amount, according to André. That revenue sharing would be used to help lower people’s taxes, rather than be spent by a municipality for balancing a budget, as revenue sharing is used now, he said.

“That shouldn’t be the case, because it encourages spending by municipalities,” he said. “With my business experience, both locally and around the country, I think I’m uniquely qualified to help Waterville work on that.”

Also, André says he knows how much regulations can hamper small businesses.

“They usually start as a one-man operation, and most don’t know how to expand beyond that because the regulations become so complicated,” he said.

In regard to education, André says he opposes Common Core because it is a system parents do not understand, making it hard for them to take part in their children’s education.

For Madigan, bringing jobs to the area is a priority. While knocking on doors in her district, she spoke with a woman who was passionate about the need for jobs for young people, she said.

“I think it’s true. I think we need to smartly invest in things that bring good-paying jobs to keep young people here.”

Investing in education is important to that purpose, according to Madigan. She cited places such as Kennebec Valley Community College, which offers training for technical jobs, precision machining, electrical line work and other careers, and that training is important, she said.

“And when you think about some of the things going on in Waterville right now — a lot of construction projects coming — I want to make sure that we have local people that can be working on those,” Madigan said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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