Former Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, D-Portland, is running against Republican challenger Samuel Ledue for the District 36 seat in the Maine House of Representatives.

At least on paper.

Ledue declined to provide basic biographical information to the Portland Press Herald and would not be interviewed. He has not raised any money and told a reporter he’s not really campaigning.

“I just don’t have the time right now,” Ledue said. “I’ve turned down other interviews and I’m just trying to be consistent.”

The lack of an obvious campaign means Brennan is likely a shoo-in for the seat representing the Morrill’s Corner and Riverton neighborhoods.

Brennan, who spent four years in locked battles with Gov. Paul LePage’s administration as Portland’s mayor, said he’s looking forward to having a new partner in Augusta. “This is a critical election about the future of Maine,” Brennan said.

Though he has experience serving in both chambers of the Legislature, Brennan said he now has the added experience of municipal-level government to inform his decisions.

Brennan, 65, laid out an ambitious and detailed legislative agenda. In addition to expanding Medicaid, he would like to look at ways to provide health care coverage to everyone in the state.

To provide property tax relief, he would like to increase the amount of revenue from sales and income taxes that the state shares with municipalities, and raise the level of state aid for education to 55 percent. Changes to revenue sharing and the education funding formula under LePage cost Portland millions of dollars.

Brennan said he plans to introduce a bill to make community college free. He said the state would cover only the portion of a student’s tuition that was not covered by financial aid, grants and private foundations.

He also believes the state should be spending more money to treat substance use disorders, while also individualizing treatment plans that acknowledge what a person is capable of achieving. If elected, he intends to reintroduce a bill that would fund substance use treatment, education and prevention in the jails.

And he would look to free up more funds to build and staff permanent and supportive housing to the chronically homeless, while reversing LePage’s changes to the General Assistance program, which stopped state funds from being used to fund a Portland emergency shelter.

Brennan would also like to pursue a bond to build an intermodal transportation center at Thompson’s Point and make it easier for municipalities to begin addressing climate change.

“With a new governor, it’s going to (be) an opportunity to form partnerships with the Legislature and state government that will not only benefit Portland but the rest of the state,” said Brennan, who is running as a Maine Clean Election candidate.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: randybillings

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