Democrat Deborah Emery and Republican Daniel Newman are vying for a seat in the Maine State House of Representatives representing District 76 in the Nov. 3 election.

The district includes the towns of Belgrade, Fayette, Mount Vernon, Rome, Vienna and Wayne.

Incumbent Dennis Keschl is moving out of the district and withdrew from the race after winning the Republican primary. He served one term representing District 76, but served two terms from 2010-2014 representing District 83, which includes Farmingdale and Gardiner.

Newman, 55, served on the Belgrade Board of Selectpersons for three terms, from 2007-2015. He also worked on Belgrade’s Budget Committee for five years. He is a 23-year member of Belgrade’s Fire and Rescue Department.

Newman envisions budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic as the biggest challenge facing the state. He sees his experience in budgets on the municipal level as a way to resolve the issue in Augusta.

“We will have to address this issue by making tough decisions on how to cut spending without substantially raising taxes,” Newman said. “We will need to look at the upcoming projected budget costs and cut many nonessential expenses. We will need to determine needs versus wants and stop spending the taxpayers’ money just for the sake of spending.”

Newman wants to see the state fully fund schools at the “promised rate” to help municipalities financially. He also looks to support health care and prescription drug costs for the elderly, many of whom are on fixed incomes.

“As I have always done on the board of selectpersons, I try to be nonpartisan and by that I mean that I try to look at the issues from the middle ground without injecting my personal or political feelings, and come to a decision based on what is best for the public, and that means all of the public,” Newman said.

Emery, 67, hopes to leverage her experience working with families, children and school boards on fiscal problems in response to the pandemic.

“Right now our Legislature is too focused on partisan politics and not responding to the needs of the people,” Emery said. “In order to move forward from the political climate and the coronavirus pandemic impact, we have to begin now to develop a plan for relief, recovery and reimagination together.”

Emery’s top legislative priorities include providing quality education, and improving infrastructure, health care access and environmental protection. She also is interested in increasing access to improved and higher speed internet.

“Young families are moving to Maine to be safer and raise their families. These families are working from home and need dependable internet service. Our students are learning virtually which again requires improved services,” Emery said. “Many folks, old and young, are needing doctor appointments through telemedicine services. In all cases, the need for improved broadband is critical.”

Emery feels school districts may need to reconsider what programs and services are deemed essential. She said she spoke with residents across the district and that every town has “significant” infrastructure needs.

“As our federal government continually threatens to cut health care programs, we need to be prepared in Maine to support our families and children,” Emery said. “Our critical health care workers will need our support as we move forward from the pandemic, and Maine’s aging population will require extensive support …”


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