Rep. Denise Tepler, a Democrat from Topsham, is seeking her third term representing House District 54 but faces a challenge from Leon Brillant, a Republican business owner who is new to politics but well known as president of the Topsham Fair.

Tepler has served on the finance committee for the town of Topsham and also on the Brunswick Food Shed Advisory Committee. She is a local food advocate, freelance teacher and writer and was a member of the School Administrative District 75 board of directors from 1996-2002, when she chaired the policy and curriculum committee.

Tepler said the state has to “find some solutions to improve the access and affordability for health care in Maine.”

Maine also has “a tremendous amount of work” ahead in tackling its opioid abuse problem, she said. The Legislature does not have all the answers, she said, but “I do think there are things we can do to make treatment more accessible to Mainers, and to work with the agencies.”

Brillant joined the fair as a volunteer in 1972, becoming vice president in 2004 and then president in 2009. He also owns a used car dealership, Brillant Motors, and is a member of American Legion Post No. 202.

Brilliant said combating rising property taxes would be a top priority for him in Augusta, as well as having jobs available so that graduates can stay in Maine and not have to move elsewhere for good-paying work.

He, too, said more needs to be done to combat the opioid epidemic, and that he would work on stricter laws for prescription painkillers and increasing the availability of Narcan, a medication used to battle opioid overdose effects. Brillant said he also wants to ensure that addiction treatment centers receive adequate funding.

Both are Clean Election candidates. Tepler had raised about $10,400 toward her campaign as of Oct. 4, and Brillant had raised $6,850, according to the Maine ethics commission.

Alex Lear can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 113, or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: learics

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