A political newcomer is challenging a two-term incumbent for the Maine House District 46 seat.

Voters in the district – which covers the rural communities of North Yarmouth, Durham and part of Pownal – will have a choice between Rep. Paul Chace, a Republican, and Democrat Braden Sharpe.

Chace, 51, is a licensed pharmacist. He said he’s proud of the work the Legislature has done during his time in office, such as passing a bill allowing pharmacists to prescribe and dispense naloxone to anyone of any age.

In terms of the opioid crisis, Chace said the state needs to focus on long-term treatment, rather than “shifting” those with an addiction from one substance to another, like methadone.

One of his top priorities, should he be re-elected, would be to “eliminate taxes that are counterproductive to business development (and) reduce taxes that force heirs to sell or diminish inheritance property in order to pay taxes.”

While owning and operating businesses with his wife, Karen, Chace said he learned firsthand how difficult it is to compete and succeed as a business owner in Maine. In order to fix this, Chace said, the state needs to “create sustainable, living-wage jobs (and) encourage new business models and innovation.”

Chace said he’s not in favor of expanding Medicaid, a bill that was passed by a statewide referendum last fall and ordered by the courts, but stonewalled by Gov. Paul LePage. He said the money would go to people who have the ability to work.

Sharpe, 51, is an executive with Goodwill of Northern New England. He said he decided to run because he became frustrated with the administration.

Two of the biggest issues facing District 46, Sharpe said, are funding for education and revenue sharing, both of which should be increased.

Sharpe said he would like to see Medicaid expansion implemented in the next legislative session. “It’s a fundamental right for every person to have access to health care,” he said.

When it comes to addressing the opioid crisis, Sharpe said he’s been disappointed with how legislation has been handled and said he puts some blame for the crisis on pharmaceutical companies.

“A lot of these people in need and crisis are there because their doctor prescribed them with medication,” he said. “(The pharmaceutical industry) has done some major damage.”

Sharpe said he’d also like the state to look into how to make college more affordable.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 183, or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: JocelynVanSaun

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