Two Waterville Republicans are competing for the chance to challenge the Democratic incumbent in Maine House District 110.

Candidates Jacob Imes and Mark Andre hope they will be the one to unseat Rep. Colleen Madigan in November after Tuesday’s primary election. The district consists of part of Oakland and part of Waterville.

A representative for Imes said the candidate did not have time before the primary election to answer questions about his campaign.

Andre, 48, is the owner of Thornridge Farms Nursery in Fairfield. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Ursinus College in 1992 and is a 1988 graduate of Bucks West High School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He became a permanent Maine resident in 2002.

Andre has run unsuccessfully for the House seat three times, against Madigan and former legislator Henry Beck.

“It’s not easy to be a Republican in Waterville,” he said.

Andre said his focus is still to lower taxes, primarily for the older residents who are finding it difficult to keep up with the rising property tax rates.

“I believe I can make a difference,” he said. “The people I seek to represent are the local folks in Waterville, particularly retired people.”

The primary way to bring down property taxes in Waterville would be to force Colby College to pay into the property tax base, he said. The college’s property value is estimated at $200 million, Andre said, and the college does not pay any taxes to the city.

Because of Colby’s nonprofit status, it is exempt from paying taxes.

In the House, Andre said he would push for legislation that would allow municipalities to charge a per-student impact fee to cover the cost of infrastructure for students that board in the community.

“While the recent investments made by Colby College in Waterville’s downtown may help in the long run, the fact remains that when students step out of the new dorms at Waterville Commons, they will step onto a sidewalk and cross a street that has been paid for and maintained by Waterville taxpayers,” Andre said in a mailed political advertisement, to which he referred when asked for details on his tax policy. “No more unfair system of taxation could exist than one that taxes our most vulnerable residents in support of the infrastructure needed and used by a wealthy private university and its students.”

When asked if restoring state revenue sharing and following through on the state’s unfulfilled commitment to fund 55 percent of essential programs and services of Maine schools also would help alleviate pressure on the property tax, Andre said that is not the way he would want to do it, as it still takes money from Maine taxpayers.

“We don’t want to use money from Maine folks,” he said.

In regard to Medicaid expansion, which voters passed as a citizen-led initiative on the ballot last November, Andre said he would not take a position on the health policy before the general election. The expansion could provide coverage to more than 70,000 low-income residents younger than 65.

Andre said he believes the policy might not be one that lasts despite a state judge having ordered the LePage administration Monday to submit a Medicaid expansion plan to the federal government by June 11.

Andre said Republicans might win larger majorities in the U.S. House and Senate during the midterm elections in November and repeal the Affordable Care Act, thus ending the federal subsidies that fund Medicaid expansions. Both chambers of Congress are currently controlled by Republicans, and despite several attempts to end former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care policy, the ACA has remained intact.

“I think before we start giving health care for free we should make it affordable to the people who pay for it,” Andre said.

Andre said people tell him all the time that they want to move to Waterville, but they’re afraid of the tax rates in the city.

“The only option is for Colby to contribute,” he said.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

 

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