Amid all of the mudslinging in this seemingly endless campaign season, I am glad to see my opponent and I agree on one thing: This election should be about the issues, as he stated in this newspaper earlier this week.

I share Rep. Jeff McCabe’s frustration with the negative tactics outside groups have used in our race. I did not ask for them to get involved. In fact, I have been very proud of the positive campaign my team has run this election cycle. Furthermore, the Maine Ethics Commission recently penalized an organization that is responsible for a mailer that McCabe referenced in his letter to the paper, and I support the commission’s decision.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more examples of aggressively dishonest accusations in this race. In the campaign for control of the Maine Senate, Democrats are outspending Republicans by a nearly 4-to-1 margin, and the race in Somerset County is one of the most heavily targeted by Democrats. I have been the subject of a number of false attacks, which my constituents have received in their mailboxes, heard on the radio, seen online and on television. Several attacks against me take a comment I made following the closure of the Madison mill out of context.

Thankfully, the people I represent in the Maine Senate know better and can see right through the nonsense. They know that in Augusta, I have consistently been ranked as a “very strong supporter of Maine’s Economy” by the non-partisan Maine Economic Research Institute. My opponent conversely has been consistently named a “very weak supporter of Maine’s Economy” by the same organization.

As the chairman of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee, I have been fighting to reduce the cost of health care, which will in turn lower the cost of health insurance. Additionally, I sponsored legislation that introduced more competition into the health insurance marketplace. Once that law took effect, premiums around the state began to drop, or at least stabilize — a refreshing change following years of double-digit increases.

Unfortunately, much of that progress has now been undone by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare. People across the nation are experiencing sticker shock, as they are seeing their premiums rise by an average of 22 percent.

But there are steps we can take at the state level to help offset the price hikes. Last year, I sponsored a “Right to Shop” bill that would have provided financial information and incentives for consumers to compare prices from their health-care providers. Democrats, including my opponent, blocked that bill, but I plan to continue the fight if I am re-elected.

I am sure my opponent and I can also agree that Somerset County is a terrific place to live. I have been fortunate to grow up here, raise a family and run a small business. This election day Somerset County voters have a clear choice for who they want to represent them in Augusta.

Rodney Whittemore, R-Skowhegan, is running for re-election in Senate District 3 against Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan.


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