WATERVILLE — A Waterville attorney and a member of the city’s Planning Board will face off in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the District 109 seat in the Maine House of Representatives.

The winner will vie for the seat in the November election with Karen Rancourt-Thomas, a Republican who is running unopposed in her primary. District 109, which covers part of Waterville, is represented by Rep. Thomas R.W. Longstaff, a Democrat, who is prohibited by term limits from seeking another term.

Attorney Charles Thomas Ferris, 51, of 35 Highland Ave., and Bruce White, 61, of Silvermount Street, who is a Planning Board member and a computer network technician, say that if elected, they will fight to give communities the state revenue sharing they are owed and work to help Mainers.

“I will advocate for budgets which guarantee that the state pay 55 percent of our municipal education budget and will zealously insist that the state pay to its municipalities the revenue sharing funds that have been promised since 2002,” Ferris said.

White said people must work together on budget issues.

“City governments throughout the state want a fair, efficient general revenue sharing plan that works for all communities and lives up to the state law that requires state funding of local schools at the 55 percent level,” White said. “The Legislature must focus on budget issues to accomplish this by working with legislators from both parties.”

Ferris said he is running for the House District 109 seat to ensure that “the state funds public schools at the legally obligated 55 percent level, to force the state to pay municipalities revenue sharing funds they have illegally denied our municipalities since 2002, and to ease the local real-estate tax burden on our property owners by forcing the state to live up to its obligations.”

“Further, I will work to end childhood poverty and hunger in our state, create a business-friendly environment in order to attract industry and innovative tech companies to our state, and preserve and protect our environment and our abundant natural resources.”

Ferris said he will sponsor legislation to protect senior citizens and retired workers; guarantee quality health care to all Mainers, which he believes is a basic human right; and control and reduce spiraling pharmaceutical costs.

“I will propose serious criminal justice reform and will work to end our state’s opioid drug crisis. I will work to stop any attempts to allow offshore drilling on our coast. Protecting Maine’s hunting, fishing and outdoor sports heritage from any threats is also high on my priority list. Lastly, I will seek public-private investment in high tech development and infrastructure and clean energy projects which will turn our fair state into a place where our children can thrive in the 21st-century economy.”

White said he is running for the seat because he wants to give back.

“Having come from a single-parent Waterville family of eight, raised in poverty, I am grateful for those who helped me overcome the many disadvantages I faced,” White said. “Therefore, I have always had a passion to give back by helping others, especially those in need. My many years of service in organizations have enabled me to meet the needs of others. Now that I am nearing retirement, I can and will devote the hours necessary to serve the people of Waterville’s District 109 and the state of Maine. As Winston Churchill said, ‘We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.'”

Ferris said issues facing District 109 include poverty, hunger, drug-dependency and a lack of living-wage employment opportunities — and all are huge problems facing the state. Ferris says he supports the LGBTQ community and marriage equality, as well as funding for Planned Parenthood.

White said he will represent all the people in district 109 and that all people deserve respect.

“I will consider carefully any legislation that is proposed in the light of justice and the common good,” he said.

“Income inequality is at its worst level in our state’s history, and the health care crisis has reached a nearly national-security threat level,” Ferris said. “The cost of health-care insurance in Maine is out of control, and I will work tirelessly to fix this huge threat.”

White says issues facing the district include “the need for good-paying jobs, economic development, and the revitalization of Waterville by looking for partnerships between state agencies and local businesses and institutions.”

He says he supports Medicaid expansion and wants to see mental health services for Maine residents strengthened. Treatment options for the “state’s plague of opioid addiction” also is a priority for White.

“I would also work for reasonable gun legislation that protects residents and complies with the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” White said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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