Democratic state Rep. Charlotte Warren of Hallowell is being challenged by political newcomer Scott Taylor, a Republican from West Gardiner, in the race for the District 84 seat in the Maine House of Representatives.

Taylor, who has never run for political office, said he was asked to run for the seat, which represents Hallowell, Manchester and West Gardiner.

“There were people who thought highly enough of me to ask me to run,” he said. “I’m honored to be asked, and I will give it my best shot.”

Warren, who has served as a city councilor and mayor in Hallowell and six years in the Legislature, said she is running again because she has more work to do in representing the people of District 84.

When the Legislature meets again, its members will have to deal with projected revenue shortfalls brought on by widespread business closures across Maine earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Both candidates said they are focused on the economy as a way to improve the state’s budget situation.

Taylor said to cure the shortfall, the state must open up and get people back to work so they can pay their taxes, which will increase revenue.

“We’re going to have to take a real strong look at every penny we spend,” he said.

There is a difference between must-have items and nice-to-have items, Taylor said. Some spending is required, but certain expenditures can be deferred. He has not yet identified what those might be.

Warren said improving the state budget first requires helping Maine residents and small businesses recover from the impact of the pandemic-related closures.

“Any action taken by the Legislature in terms of increasing revenue and belt-tightening must support the economic recovery of working-class Mainers and small-business owners,” Warren said via email.

The Nov. 3 election is expected to draw a strong turnout in Maine, including those who are now old enough to vote for the first time.

Warren said she is fortunate to have young people working on her campaign, interning with her for education credits and job shadowing her in Augusta.

“Young people in Maine and across our country are very concerned about the environment,” she said. “They want policymakers to get serious about transitioning to clean energy and lowering our carbon emissions.”

Taylor said two issues affecting many first-time or young voters are education and jobs.

As a supervisor at Bath Iron Works, he has dealt with applicants for machinist positions who lacked even simple math skills, such as knowledge of fractions or the ability to read a ruler.

“I was floored,” he said. “It didn’t happen once. It happened a few times. It was scary.”

If Maine wants to have well-paying jobs, he said, residents need the skills to do those jobs, including trade and industrial education.

Warren said she has the experience, the proper temperament, a strong work ethic and “loads” of common sense when it comes to being a state legislator.

“I was born and raised on a farm in central Maine, and I have lived in central Maine for all of my 50 years,” she said. “As a Hallowell city councilor for eight years and mayor for four years, and now a state representative for six, I understand budgets and how to get things done.”

For his part, Taylor said he can draw on the skills he developed over his career to represent District 84.

“I think I can work together with everybody at the State House to get done what we need as a state, not just my own community, to control the spending and create new jobs,” he said.

Early in his career, Taylor worked with the public and managed purchases at Clark Marine in Manchester. He said those skills would serve him well as an elected official.

At Bath Iron Works, he said, he was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility that required problem-solving abilities.

“I’ll do the best job I can for the people of Maine,” he said.

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