Party affiliation:

Republican

Residence:

Wilton

Social media accounts:

https://www.facebook.com/russellblackforsenate/

Occupation:

Farmer and logger

Education:

Attended college at the Wentworth Institute for Technology in Boston and Central Maine Community College

Community Organizations:

Served as a town selectman in Wilton for nine years; planning board for 19 years; member and past president of the Wilton Lions Club; past president of the Mt. Blue High School All Sports Boosters; member of the Wilton Fish and Game Club; past USDA farm service committee member; director of the Franklin County Farm Bureau; and director of the Farmington Farmer’s Union.

Personal information (hobbies, etc.):

Gardening and hunting

Family status:

Married to Susan for 47 years, 4 kids, 10 grandchildren, 1 great-grandson

Years in the Legislature:

8

Committee assignments (if elected):

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Q&A

1) What legislation do you support, if any, to address the state’s opiate crisis?

I support measures to increase access to counseling services for those who are ready to begin down the road to recovery, as well as work placement programs for those who are in recovery.

2) What legislation do you support, if any, to address failures in the state’s child abuse prevention system?

I recently supported legislation to increase the number of caseworkers and support for them. We need to be sure that those on the front lines aren’t overburdened so more kids don’t fall between the cracks.

3) Should schools continue to push forward with proficiency-based diplomas? Why or why not?

Proficiency-based diplomas are no longer mandated by the state. It is now up to each school district to determine what works for them going forward. These decisions are best left to local choice.

4) Are you in favor of some type of universal health care for Maine residents? Why, or why not?

I support measures that increase price transparency so that consumers are better able to make informed decisions when seeking care. We need to get a handle on the growing cost of services.

5) Do you support Question 1 (the 3.8% tax to fund the home care program)? Why, or why not?

No. Rather than help those in need, Question 1 will create more wait lists for our elderly to languish on while handing a large budget to a new bureaucracy with very little oversight from taxpayers.

6) Are you frustrated by the political sniping, exaggeration and even lies between the parties and their supporters that have threatened progress usually reached through respect and reasoned compromise? If so, what will you personally do to make the situation better?

While there have been some tense times in Augusta, I’ve always been dedicated to working with all of my colleagues, regardless of party, on issues that are most important to Mainers.

7) Tell voters something about yourself that they don’t already know, and might surprise them.

I would love to have more time to work with youth organizations to help mentor young people. I’ve coached little league football and led wilderness canoe trips for teenagers.

Speed Round

Should voters be required to show ID at the polls?

Yes

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