Race for Maine Senate District 2

in the 2014 General Election

Michael E. Carpenter

Michael E. Carpenter

7,337 (49.27%)

Democratic - Houlton

Candidate profile


Total raised: $23,676
Types of contributions
Monetary donations: $100
Maine Clean Elections money: $23,576
Candidate self-financing: $0
Loans: $0
In-kind donations: $0
Donations from inside Maine vs. out-of-state
Donations from inside Maine (excludes self-financing): $100
Donations from outside Maine: $0
Maine Clean Elections money: $23,576
Candidate self-financing: $0
Correction: An earlier version of this graph incorrectly noted Maine Clean Elections money as from out-of-state.
Michael J. Willette

Michael J. Willette

7,555 (50.73%)

Republican - Presque Isle

Candidate profile


Total raised: $20,645
Types of contributions
Monetary donations: $18,360
Maine Clean Elections money: $0
Candidate self-financing: $2,184
Loans: $0
In-kind donations: $100
Willette raised 87.2% of the amount Carpenter raised.
Donations from inside Maine vs. out-of-state
Donations from inside Maine (excludes self-financing): $17,560
Donations from outside Maine: $900
Maine Clean Elections money: $0
Candidate self-financing: $2,184
Willette raised 87.2% of the amount Carpenter raised.

Is Maine too generous in providing social services to its residents? Which government benefits should be increased or decreased?

Carpenter
Yes Perhaps not too generous but not controlled well enough. Need to ensure the benefits are used as intended. Perhaps not too generous but not controlled well enough. Need to ensure the benefits are used as intended.

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Willette
Yes We are not too generous to those who truly need services. Allowing our services to be taken advantage of is wrong and has to stop. When times were "good" , we enjoyed surpluses and had plenty of "tax payer's" cash to spare. With that, we also had politicians that made poor decisions and made promises that should never have been made. When revenues were plentiful, benefits were expanded with no plans for potential future declines in revenue. In 2010, Maine ranked third in the nation for Medicaid enrollment, third for TANF, second for food stamps, and spent more on welfare than all but one state. Since 2010, we cut back on eligibility and fraud significantly, but there is still much work to be done. The best way to ensure that we continue to shed our reputation as a welfare state is to create a pro-growth economic environment for Maine businesses and create a culture where the rewards are higher for a hard days work than they are for being dependent on state services when you shouldn't be.

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Do you support lowering the state income tax? If so, what state spending would you cut to make up for the loss of revenue?

Carpenter
Yes Cut more of the waste in State government. Cut more of the waste in State government.

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Willette
Yes Letting those who earn their money be able to keep more of it in their pocket is just common sense. Finishing the year with a $50+ million dollar surplus is a good sign that overall, the tax cuts enacted in the 125th legislature are working. If we are disciplined enough, we should continue to see the trend of surpluses continue. If that is the case, then we could lower income tax rates without cutting spending further.

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Should labor unions be allowed to require workers to pay dues as a condition of employment, regardless of whether the worker joins the union?

Carpenter
No I do support fair share. I do support fair share.

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Willette
No No union should own any profession or discriminate against those who are able to work. If a union is run right, then they should be able to stand on their own and not worry about their members running away from them, if they are allowed. If the members do drop off, i, then that union has issues it needs to address with its management and how they treat their union members. A good union should make people want to join, no matter how membership is regulated.

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Would you vote to expand Medicaid eligibility as allowed by the Affordable Care Act?

Carpenter
Yes Expand Medicaid with an opt out option. Expand Medicaid with an opt out option.

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Willette
No We need to learn from history on this. We blindly expanded MainCare and took the bait from the feds, and we paid the price. In a conversation I had with a local hospital administrator, I asked this question. What would happen if we expanded Medicaid to the 70,000 individuals in our state? Knowing that in past expansions, the promise from the feds for reimbursement rates fell way short of what was promised. Couple that with the off chance the democrats take back control, and refused to pay the hospitals the state's portion of money that was owed, like they did in the past. What will you have to do keep your hospital running? The answer was, we'd have to shut the doors. That's not the way to run or treat the hospitals in our state.

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What is the biggest thing Maine can do to attract more jobs to the state?

Carpenter
More emphasis on education and training. More emphasis on education and training.

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Willette
Reduce the regulations and high energy cost that force businesses by pass our state. One of the bigger hurdles businesses face is the high energy costs in our state. Dropping the corporate tax rates will also go a long way to attract and recruit new businesses and encourage expansion of existing businesses as well. Uncertainty is also a red flag to businesses. With too much red tape in place, most businesses are leery about setting up shop in Maine. We also need to curtail our colleges and tech schools to meet the needs of industry and employment demands. This leads back to how we educate our children is our public schools. I feel we are not preparing our kids to enter into the workforce like we use to when I was young. We are in direct competition with other states, and until we can offer an more attractive alternative than other states do, we will always struggle to attract more jobs to the state.

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Should Maine legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana? If so, where should the revenues go?

Carpenter
No No No

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Willette
No The jury is still out for me. I am in the middle of the road on this topic. I understand both side of the argument but have yet to take a side. From my life experiences, marijuana is a far less destructive drug than alcohol is, so it is something we really need to look into.

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Should the governor be allowed to delay the sale of general obligation bonds that have been approved by voters?

Carpenter
No No No

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Willette
No No No

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What should the state do to lower energy costs? What commitment should Maine make to renewable technology?

Carpenter
Explore more natural gas but make a significant commitment to renewables. Explore more natural gas but make a significant commitment to renewables.

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Willette
We need people in congress who do not agree to increase taxes on heating oil, and over regulate wood burning devices. Keeping warm in Northern Maine is necessity and a burden for a lot of folks. Unfortunately, keeping warn in Northern Maine is more expensive than anywhere else in our state. We could use help from the federal level to deal with lopsided heating costs in Northern Maine. Also, we need our representatives in congress to not vote to increase taxes on our heating oil and back EPA regulations that make heating with wood more costly and burdensome. Sadly, we don't have the population numbers in Northern Maine to make expansion of natural gas a viable and cost effective option. The state's heat pump initiative has gone a long way to help cut heating costs and is an efficient way to help people stay comfortable year round. In Northern Maine, we are held captive to higher energy costs by being disconnected from cheap electricity that flows all around us through Canada and the southern states. We need to make the investment to connect the north to the south via an energy corridor. We have come close in the past, but for one reason or another it never happens.

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Should lawmakers make it a priority — even if it means raising taxes — to fulfill the voters' mandate to have the state fund 55 percent of the total cost of K-12 public education?

Carpenter
Yes K-12 education is one of the best investments we could make. K-12 education is one of the best investments we could make.

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Willette
No This was an unrealistic goal when it was introduced. I am not sure how this ever became an option as it is an unrealistic goal for our state to live up to.

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Should Maine have more charter schools?

Carpenter
No No No

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Willette
Yes Parents deserve choices for their children's education. We need to address what's making them want to choose a different option. We have invested massive amounts of money into our local school systems. I feel that this is an area that is over regulated as well, and outside special interest, unions and the federal government have done more harm to our education system than they have helped. I am a firm believer that if you let the teachers teach, you will get more bang for your buck and more productive graduates . As a former teacher, I can attest to how the lack of input from teachers in how schools should be run is a big mistake. We do our children a great disservice when we teach to a test and push through kids via social promotion. We also lost ground when we took vocational programs out of our schools, especially junior high. Not all students want to go to college, and not all of them are able. I feel we need to accentuate the positives in each student. If a kid wants to be a plumber, then don’t force that student to struggle through any more history classes than what is minimally required. This only discourages the student and will set them on a path for failure and worst of all, turn them drop out. I could go on and on, but to finish up on the question at hand, school choice has its place, but before we throw the baby out with the bath water, lets fix what we have in place right now.

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