Three-term representative Jeffrey Hanley, R-Pittston, is facing a challenge for his District 87 seat in the Maine House of Representatives from former state legislator Timothy Marks, D-Pittston.

Hanley is seeking a fourth consecutive term, which would be his final one before being term-limited out of office. Marks previously served one term in the House, from 2012-2014.

Hanley wants to use his experience from living in Maine and the time he has spent in the House to his advantage. At the top of his list of things to focus on are jobs, and ensuring recent graduates have opportunities in the state beyond college.

Maine needs people to work in construction and welding, Handley said, as much as it needs candidates for office jobs.

“Education is going to be an ongoing issue and the future of education when they leave high school,” he said. “Technical schools need to be enhanced … trades can make a tremendous amount of money.

“We neglect that when we think of what a good living you can make to be content and live here in Maine,” Hanley added. “You don’t always need a four-year degree.”

In addition, he thinks that these jobs are key for keeping young adults in Maine, crediting himself as an example after being married for 40 years and raising his kids in the state.

A retired state trooper, Marks said it’s important for issues across the state to be nonpartisan. He believes working together across party lines is the only way to get jobs done.

“We have a saying in Augusta, it’s that we respectfully disagree,” Marks said. “You can disagree, but do it respectfully.

“We serve everyone, we don’t just serve a few,” he added. “Not just rich or poor, we have to do everything as a Legislature.”

Marks recalled an instance a couple of weeks ago when he saw a sign on the side of the road that read, “support the police,” and said that he never thought of law enforcement as a political issue.

“I support Black Lives Matter and, at the same time, I support police,” he said. “I’m not for defunding the police, but we need to have a conversation and maybe change some rules.”

In addition to working in law enforcement, Marks spent time working in security at MaineGeneral, where he developed a passion for mental health issues. An example of that, he said, is that police shouldn’t be responding to mental health calls and more state funding should go to improve Maine’s mental health services.

“My specialty is helping people out,” he said.

Both Hanley and Marks agree it is too soon to raise taxes for Mainers.

Hanley would like to meet with state departments to determine what areas of the budget could be cut. He noted that some things, such as elderly care and law enforcement, can’t be cut.

“Having a tax increase in an economy that’s been crushed, the last thing you can do is raise taxes,” Hanley said. “The most significant thing that we can do is have a supplemental budget.”

Marks thinks the state is going to have to freeze its capital revenue from bridges and buildings until after the pandemic. He said Maine should turn to revenue to bring in money for the state, and would prefer budget cuts over tax increases.

“Maine is one of the best states in the nation for recovering,” Marks said. “We have a lot of tourism, and hopefully some of those businesses could remain open with safety precautions and make money for revenue.”

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