Republican Amanda Collamore will face off against Democrat Ethan Brownell for the District 106 seat in the Maine House of Representatives in the Nov. 3 election.

District 106 represents Clinton, Detroit and Pittsfield.

Scott Strom, R-Pittsfield, has held the seat since he defeated incumbent Rep. Stanley Short, D-Pittsfield, in 2016. Strom had opted not to seek reelection.

Brownell said he is running for the seat because he wants to make sure constituents are being prioritized.

“This community needs a voice for working families,” Brownell said. “At a time of instability and uncertainty brought about by COVID, I want to make sure that Augusta is prioritizing the needs of people before special interests and wealthy donors.

“We have the opportunity to make sure that federal and state dollars are going to help the people who need it most, and not multinational corporations that lay off workers in order to give executive bonuses and buyouts.”

Brownell’s top priorities are improving funding for K-12 and postsecondary education, and supporting working families.

“Equitable K-12 schooling is the key to a successful populace,” Brownell said. “The state needs to fulfill its commitment to fund education in a way that doesn’t place an undue burden on homeowners.

We need to ensure that teachers have the same rights as other workers, and that schools are fully stocked with personnel and programs to support the whole child.”

 

Brownell said the state’s vocational schools, community colleges and universities need additional support.

“In Maine, there is a ‘skills gap.’ Plenty of jobs, but we’re missing the talented, trained and educated workforce to meet those jobs,” he said. “Vocational training and our colleges are the tools to shape resilient and creative problem-solvers.

“Our universities are already on the cutting edge of research and development. It’s time to shine a light on the good work being done, and support these institutions to expand research and development in Maine.” 

To support working families, Brownell said there need be child care programs that are more accessible and higher quality.

“We want what’s best for Maine families to ensure equal access to high-quality programs that keep kids safe, healthy and happy,” Brownell said. “We need more safe child care and day care facilities that all Mainers can access and afford.”

Brownell also said he wants to ensure Maine families have plenty of access to quality recreational activities.

“We need to maintain our outdoor and indoor public facilities — museums, galleries, trails and beaches — so that families have spaces to explore, play and relax,” Brownell said.

To address these priorities, Brownell said he would “stand up against the cuts to the programs working families count on.”

To preserve and expand funding for education, Brownell said there needs to be a more-equitable tax structure where “where millionaires and huge corporations foot the bill, not the middle class.”

Additionally, Brownell said he is interested in improving roads, bridges and power lines, and in investing in renewable energy and expanded broadband service.

According to Collamore, her personable approach will help her make a difference for the citizens of District 106.

“I believe I can make a difference,” Collamore said. “I was born and raised in Maine, and I want to help give Mainers a voice.”

Collamore said her experience as a single, working mom has given her perspective that can be helpful for the people in District 106.

“I have seen the challenges that low income Mainers face. I know how difficult it can be to get assistance to help you get through a difficult time,” Collamore said.

“I want to empower and help Mainers who may have been down on their luck, whether it is due to a downturn in the economy or because the job landscape is changing in Maine. I love helping people, listening to their needs and trying to make a difference in their lives.” 

Collamore said expanding broadband internet access and supporting the business community are key to addressing her top priorities: education, infrastructure, strengthening the economy and helping families.

“One of the top things we can do to help Mainers, especially those in our most rural areas, is to find ways to encourage businesses to expand broadband internet access in Maine,” Collamore said.

“If the state partners with major internet providers throughout Maine to increase access so any home that needs access to broadband internet can get it, students won’t need to sit outside of their local library, in a cold car, to try to get internet access to complete work, parents can go back to work remotely so they can be with their kids that are doing fully online or hybrid learning models and college students can complete their degrees on time because they will be able to attend their virtual courses.” 

For small-business owners, more widely accessible internet access will help them promote and expand their businesses, according to Collamore.

“I also believe it is important that we provide learning and training opportunities to individuals in our communities that have not had access to the technology that is needed to operate in today’s world,” Collamore said.

“Webinars are easier than ever to conduct. Small group meetings can happen in large spaces to help walk people through a hands on learning experience.” 

Other things that Collamore hopes to address, if elected, include accessible health care, supporting teachers and students who are adjusting to hybrid learning,  keeping the state’s economy afloat during the pandemic and supporting farmers.

“The one thing I know I don’t need to worry about is the strength of the people of Maine,” Collamore said. “Mainers are strong and resilient. We will come through this. It won’t be a quick recovery, but if we can come together as a state, we will pull through.”


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