KVO Candidate Forum by Topic: Workforce Development

(For ease of isolating candidate responses by topics, the larger full forum post is being offered as single stand alone posts. ~KVO)
shenn2
(State Senator Shenna Bellows of Manchester, who served on the Maine 128th Legislature’s LCRED- Labor, Commerce, Research, Economic Development- standing committee, discusses supporting broadband expansion and encouraging more potential young Mainers to become business owners.) 

Round 5: Workforce Development

  • Immigrant-owned businesses generated $60.8 million in business income in 2014 (Source: The Partnership for a New American Economy, “The Contributions of New Americas in Maine”, 2014 American Community Survey- 1 Year Sample.).
  • Medicaid Expansion will create about 6,000 new jobs, most with higher than average wages (Source: “Get the Facts on Question 2: Medicaid Expansion Will Help Maine”. Maine Equal Justice Partners.).
  • Despite historically low unemployment levels, Maine’s economy is still a major issue in the 2018 campaigns. That’s because Maine’s aging population, losses in traditional manufacturing industries, stagnant wages and the lure of better-paying jobs in other states continue to combine to create a workforce shortage for the foreseeable future. (Source: Central Maine’s “Morning Sentinel”, 9/18/18.)
  • According to a recent study, Maine students are graduating with an average loan of nearly $30,000. This places them with the 15th highest rate of of college debt in the nation.

Question for the Candidates: What is your vision of revitalizing our local workforce and boosting economic development? What concrete steps would be among your priorities for the next legislative session? Do you support college loan forgiveness programs as a means of encouraging students to stay in Maine after graduation?

 

(L-R)
1. Senator Shenna Bellows, Candidate for Senate District 14
2. Karen Kusiak, Candidate for Senate District 16
3. Jan Collins, Candidate for Senate District 17
4. Lindsey Harwath, Candidate for House District 79
5. Representative Kent Ackley, Candidate for House District 82
MODERATOR DAWN DIBLASI
6. Representative Donna Doore, Candidate for House District 85
7. John Clark, Candidate for House District 105
8. Aaron Rowden, Candidate for House District 108
9. Representative Colleen Madigan, Candidate for House District 110
10. John Thiele, Candidate for House District 118

 

KVO Candidate Forum by Topic: Food Insecurity

(For ease of isolating candidate responses by topics, the larger full forum post is being offered as single stand alone posts. ~KVO)

helen kent

(KVO President Helen Roy discussing Rep. Kent Ackley of Monmouth’s points regarding hunger being a “ticking time bomb” for Kennebec County youth.)

Round 4: Food Insecurity

  • In Maine, 183,310 people are struggling with hunger–and of them 50,520 are children.
  • 1 in 7 people struggles with hunger. 1 in 5 children struggles with hunger.
  • People facing hunger in Maine are estimated to report needing $108,086,000 more per year to meet their food needs.
  • In Kennebec County, the food insecurity rate is 14%–estimated number per individual is 16,970 out of 120,953 individuals. In Somerset County, the food insecurity rate is 15.6%–estimated number per individual is 8,030 out of 51,363 individuals.
  • In 2016, Maine dropped from 9th worse food insecure state to 7th in the national ranking, done by the USDA.
  • Food insecurity in Maine is 25% worse than the national average and is worse now than it was during the height of the Great Recession.
  • Food insecurity affects people across age and socioeconomic ranges.
  • Sources: Feeding America and Good Shepherd Food Bank

Question for the Candidates: How do we solve food insecurity in Maine? What avenues could be explored through the legislative process for strengthening food access in Kennebec Valley?

(L-R)
1. Senator Shenna Bellows, Candidate for Senate District 14
2. Karen Kusiak, Candidate for Senate District 16
3. Jan Collins, Candidate for Senate District 17
4. Lindsey Harwath, Candidate for House District 79
5. Representative Kent Ackley, Candidate for House District 82
MODERATOR DAWN DIBLASI
6. Representative Donna Doore, Candidate for House District 85
7. John Clark, Candidate for House District 105
8. Aaron Rowden, Candidate for House District 108
9. Representative Colleen Madigan, Candidate for House District 110
10. John Thiele, Candidate for House District 118

 

KVO Candidate Forum by Topic: Public Transportation

(For ease of isolating candidate responses by topics, the larger full forum post is being offered as single stand alone posts. ~KVO)
donna
(Rep. Donna Doore of Augusta, listening to HD 118 Candidate John Thiele)

Round 3: Public Transportation

  • Public transportation is essential for those who cannot drive or afford a vehicle. As Maine (already the oldest state in the nation) ages, this is becoming a major challenge for our seniors… yet Maine spends only 40 cents per capita on public transportation compared to a national average of $45.66.
  • The recently adjourned 128th Legislature passed LD 1248, “An Act To Improve Public Transportation in Maine”. This bill provides funding to the Department of Transportation to support and expand local volunteer driver networks; to create a pilot purchase of service program in a selected region of the State to provide senior citizens and persons with disabilities vouchers to purchase their own transportation services; and for regional transportation providers throughout the State to expand their services.
  • The funding for this bill was split into two: 50% to urban and 50% to rural. This bill was also geared only to seniors and developed disabled individuals.
  • Maine Council of Aging, Maine Transit Authority and Maine DOT are among those who testified in strong supportive of the bill, where some of the funding is designed to go to start-up volunteer ride programs such as “Neighbors-Driving-Neighbors”, which serves the northern Kennebec County communities of Belgrade, Rome, Mt Vernon, Vienna and Fayette. A new group with a similar mission is forming in Winthrop, Readfield and Monmouth.
  • LD 1248 passed out of committee with a 12-1 vote. It later passed the House to be enacted and was in the possession of the Senate, when the 128th Legislature adjourned sine die on September 13. At that point, LD 1248 was placed on file and is dead.

Questions for the Candidates: Do you support or oppose funding for LD 1248? Will you commit to revisiting the proposed bill in the next legislative session?

(L-R)
1. Senator Shenna Bellows, Candidate for Senate District 14
2. Karen Kusiak, Candidate for Senate District 16
3. Jan Collins, Candidate for Senate District 17
4. Lindsey Harwath, Candidate for House District 79
5. Representative Kent Ackley, Candidate for House District 82
MODERATOR DAWN DIBLASI
6. Representative Donna Doore, Candidate for House District 85
7. John Clark, Candidate for House District 105
8. Aaron Rowden, Candidate for House District 108
9. Representative Colleen Madigan, Candidate for House District 110
10. John Thiele, Candidate for House District 118

KVO Candidates Forum by Topic: Racism and Immigration

(For ease of isolating candidate responses by topics, the larger full forum post is being offered as single stand alone posts. ~KVO)

sam

(Foreground: Kate Brennan and Samarali Daniels of Maine Equal Justice Partners)

Round 2: Racism and Immigration

  • Refugees in Maine have come from over 30 countries in: Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Republics, Middle East, Eastern Africa, South/Central America, Caribbean and Cuba. Current refugee populations that are coming to Maine are from Somalia, Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia, Burma, Iran and Iraq. Trends in refugee resettlement mirror the conflicts and tragedies that are happening worldwide and as such, Maine has most recently assisted in the resettlement of Eastern African and Middle Eastern refugees.

In the last 40 years, RIS has assisted nearly 10,000 people through its resettlement program and assisted over 20,000 with refugee and asylee support services. In fiscal year 2017, RIS resettled 358 primary refugees and assisted more than 37 secondary migrants and 86 asylees in becoming self-sufficient new members of our community. Similar populations and arrivals are expected to be resettled in FY18. (Source: Catholic Charities’ Refugee and Immigration Services)

  • In 2001, Maine topped the nation with 96.9 percent of its population described as white. According to the 2010 United States Census, that number had decreased slightly to 94.4%.
  • There are roughly 48,835 Maine residents who were born abroad, and 931 people who immigrated to Maine between 2010 and 2014 (Source: The Partnership for a New American Economy, “The Contributions of New Americas in Maine”, 2014 American Community Survey- 1 Year Sample.).
  • Make a note of additional cultural holidays, see attached.

Questions for the Candidates: Would you cosponsor a resolution asking that the 129th Legislature make note of these additional major holidays as well as raise awareness within your district’s schools? What is your personal commitment to assisting New Mainers feel welcome, know that they “have a place at the table” and within our communities?

(L-R)
1. Senator Shenna Bellows, Candidate for Senate District 14
2. Karen Kusiak, Candidate for Senate District 16
3. Jan Collins, Candidate for Senate District 17
4. Lindsey Harwath, Candidate for House District 79
5. Representative Kent Ackley, Candidate for House District 82
MODERATOR DAWN DIBLASI
6. Representative Donna Doore, Candidate for House District 85
7. John Clark, Candidate for House District 105
8. Aaron Rowden, Candidate for House District 108
9. Representative Colleen Madigan, Candidate for House District 110
10. John Thiele, Candidate for House District 118

KVO Candidates Forum by Topic: Healthcare

(For ease of isolating candidate responses by topics, the larger full forum post is being offered as single stand alone posts. ~KVO)

colleen

(Rep. Colleen Madigan of Waterville discussing how Maine’s recently passed Medicaid expansion law helps working people across the state.)

Round 1: Health Care

  • Medicaid Expansion, while passed at the ballot box in November 2017, is caught in the Maine legal system. When implemented, this will provide health care access to an additional 70,000 low-income Mainers.
  • Medicaid Expansion will open up health care access to adults who earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level, which is about $16,000 for one person or $22,000 for a family of two (Source: “Get the Facts on Question 2: Medicaid Expansion Will Help Maine”. Maine Equal Justice Partners.).
  • According to a recent news article in the Portland Press Herald, the LePage administration is rejecting applications for Medicaid from people who became newly eligible for the program as of July 2.

Question for the Candidates: Do you support Medicaid Expansion? Do you believe health care is a moral imperative and a human right? Please relate a constituent story you have heard during this campaign season.

(L-R)
1. Senator Shenna Bellows, Candidate for Senate District 14
2. Karen Kusiak, Candidate for Senate District 16
3. Jan Collins, Candidate for Senate District 17
4. Lindsey Harwath, Candidate for House District 79
5. Representative Kent Ackley, Candidate for House District 82
MODERATOR DAWN DIBLASI
6. Representative Donna Doore, Candidate for House District 85
7. John Clark, Candidate for House District 105
8. Aaron Rowden, Candidate for House District 108
9. Representative Colleen Madigan, Candidate for House District 110
10. John Thiele, Candidate for House District 118