Race for Maine Senate District 23

in the 2014 General Election

Linda L. Baker

Linda L. Baker

8,900 (46.82%)

Republican - Topsham

Candidate profile


Total raised: $25,080
Types of contributions
Monetary donations: $1,400
Maine Clean Elections money: $23,580
Candidate self-financing: $100
Loans: $0
In-kind donations: $0
Baker raised 100% of the amount Vitelli raised.
Donations from inside Maine vs. out-of-state
Donations from inside Maine (excludes self-financing): $1,400
Donations from outside Maine: $0
Maine Clean Elections money: $23,580
Candidate self-financing: $100
Baker raised 100% of the amount Vitelli raised.
Correction: An earlier version of this graph incorrectly noted Maine Clean Elections money as from out-of-state.
Alice E. Knapp

Alice E. Knapp

2,239 (11.78%)

Green Independent - Richmond

Candidate profile


Total raised: $23,991
Types of contributions
Monetary donations: $410
Maine Clean Elections money: $23,580
Candidate self-financing: $1
Loans: $0
In-kind donations: $0
Knapp raised 95.66% of the amount Vitelli raised.
Donations from inside Maine vs. out-of-state
Donations from inside Maine (excludes self-financing): $410
Donations from outside Maine: $0
Maine Clean Elections money: $23,580
Candidate self-financing: $1
Knapp raised 95.66% of the amount Vitelli raised.
Correction: An earlier version of this graph incorrectly noted Maine Clean Elections money as from out-of-state.
Eloise A. Vitelli

Eloise A. Vitelli

7,869 (41.4%)

Democratic - Arrowsic

Candidate profile


Total raised: $25,080
Types of contributions
Monetary donations: $1,400
Maine Clean Elections money: $23,580
Candidate self-financing: $100
Loans: $0
In-kind donations: $0
Donations from inside Maine vs. out-of-state
Donations from inside Maine (excludes self-financing): $1,250
Donations from outside Maine: $150
Maine Clean Elections money: $23,580
Candidate self-financing: $100
Correction: An earlier version of this graph incorrectly noted Maine Clean Elections money as from out-of-state.

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

Baker
Yes I would like to see stricter eligibility so that our tax dollars go further to assist those truly in need. I would like to see stricter eligibility so that our tax dollars go further to assist those truly in need. Our residents could be far better served if we stopped supporting illegal immigrants with our limited resources. Until our hungry children and homeless veterans have their needs met, we have no business helping those who can help themselves.

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Knapp
Yes We don't spend rationally e.g. a statewide single payer healthcare system would cover ALL for less than we now spend to cover favored groups Our spending is excessive relative to our per capita income & much of it is irrational & wasteful - e.g., it makes no economic sense for some low skilled workers to work as the value of benefits they receive exceed what they stand to earn and they lose benefits if they work. We do need to give those in need a hand up, but those so assisted who are able, should be required to pay some portion of their income into repaying the benefits received with those funds to go into a dedicated pool to help others in need.

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Vitelli
No TANF benefits in Maine are the lowest in New England (@$485/mo.) We need to ensure that public benefits reach those most in need and are used as intended – to provide essential, temporary support for children and families. This is why I voted to ban the use of benefits for items such as cigarettes and alcohol.

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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?

Baker
Yes Lowering taxes will make Maine a more business friendly state and help stop the brain drain of our graduates and retirees leaving. Maine's experience has been that lowering taxes actually increases government revenue. Residents have more spendable income, more jobs are created by that spending and more investment options exist when taxes have been lowered. Legislative spending is one of my target sources for cuts including end of session mailers funded by taxpayers. Sending out mailers in September when session ends in April smacks of misuse of taxpayer funds. Additionally, I believe legislators should only be paid for sessions for which they are in attendance. While it is a small amount, the principle is that workers in Maine should be paid for time worked. Maine citizens cannot be represented if their elected officials are not there.

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Knapp
Yes Our tax burden is too high relative to our per capita income & our highest tax bracket is too high & kicks in at too low an income threshold In addition to our tax burden being too high relative to our per capita income ranking, our state tax policy is irrational and unfair. The total value of tax breaks the state doles out is roughly equal to the combined sales and income taxes taken in, which is ridiculous and grossly unfair insofar as special interest groups typically get the benefits, often without regard to need. For example, the "opportunity Maine" tax credits for graduates of Maine colleges who graduate with debt and stay in Maine applies REGARDLESS of how much income the graduate is earning or what assets (or trust funds) they may have. Our property tax burden is the 6th highest in the nation and our property tax system is geared to maximizing municipal revenues. All property should be taxed according to its current use rather than its market value, as no Maine person should face having to sell their homes due to skyrocketing property taxes as is currently the case.

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Vitelli
Yes We need progressivity in our income tax structure; limit overall tax burden on the middle class and those on fixed incomes. We need progressivity in our income tax structure; limit overall tax burden on the middle class and those on fixed incomes.

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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?

Baker
Yes Labor unions are necessary to protect the worker but no worker should be forced to pay dues for political action they oppose. Labor unions have been the means by which workers have been protected and treated fairly over the years. Paying dues is one thing, but the workers should have the ability to opt out of the practice of portions of their dues going to support political action they oppose.

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Knapp
No So long as those who choose not to contribute to the union do not receive the benefits unions negotiate on behalf of members. I support unions in principal and recognize their critical, historical role in achieving fair working conditions. Some unions remain true to the need for worker solidarity. Others are corrupt and share the same, selfish "we got ours" mindset that is so damaging this country. It has long struck me as politically stupid to require people who don't want to join a union to contribute union dues, but fair is fair, and those who don't contribute should not be permitted to enjoy the same level of worker protection and benefits as those who do pay into the union that negotiates those benefits and working conditions on members' behalf.

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Vitelli
Yes The government should not interfere in agreements made between employers and employees. The government should not interfere in agreements made between employers and employees.

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

Baker
No I favor broadening the Affordable Care Act so that lower income people still pay something for their health care. I believe that broadening the Affordable Care Act would enable Mainers to access subsidized health care but still require them to contribute to their own insurance.

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Knapp
Yes We should at least take the money for the expansion for the 3 years it is 100% federally funded While I am unenthusiastic about the Affordable Care Act insofar as it retains and helps fund our existing,wildly expensive and grossly unfair healthcare system, I don't begrudge anyone who has benefitted from the law's selective generosity. LePage is not wrong that we can't afford to keep expanding MaineCare, as we have faced cost explosions and budget overruns with most if not all previous expansions while consistently leaving some 10% of the population uninsured. However, LePage's refusal to take the 3 years of offered 100% federal funding for the ACA's Medicaid expansion is driven by ideology (BAD!) rather than by what is good for Maine people. Having already demonstrated his willingness to dump folks off the MaineCare roles, LePage could take the 3 years of federal funding and give those eligible for coverage under the expansion a 3 year opportunity to get their health care needs addressed, after which Maine could reject the expansion if the feds withdraw full funding. That said, the ACA unacceptably continues to throw a segment of Maine people under the bus as the income cap to qualify for a subsidy is less than what the average secondary school Maine teacher earns, and the cheapest Exchange premium for a 60 year old living alone in Washington County who earns $48,000/year runs $685/month for a plan with a $5,000 deductible - this while 60% of Maine people essentially have taxpayer funded healthcare (including those covered under MaineCare, Medicare, state, federal & municipal employees, military healthcare, and legislators, the only seasonal state employees with year round health insurance). Fairness and the need to rationalize costs demands that Maine implement a statewide single payer healthcare system. This would essentially take the form of a "Medicare for All" type system, which is also analogous to the health insurance in place under Maine's large employer self-funded health plans, except in this case the state would be the "plan sponsor," and all would be covered by the same plan, all would contribute to the cost, and benefits would be administered by insurers as is currently the case with Medicare and self-funded employer plans.

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Vitelli
Yes Maine is one of two states to see increased uninsured in the past year. Expanding coverage is the right thing to do. Maine is one of two states to see increased uninsured in the past year. Expanding coverage is the right thing to do.

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

Baker
There is no quick fix here. Maine needs to change its culture regarding business regulations, taxes and job training. Maine needs to significantly alter its approach to new and existing business regulations and taxes. What may seem like a reduction in state revenue initially will in fact garner additional income when more businesses remain and start up in the State. Additionally, exploration of alternative energy sources is vital to continued business growth in Maine. I would advocate that any bill that affects businesses should contain an estimate of the fiscal impact on those businesses.

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Knapp
Implement a statewide single payer health insurance system, provide life-long learning opportunities to all & focus on small business There is no rational reason for health insurance to be the responsibility of employers, and while ever rising health insurance costs burden all employers, sole proprietors and small businesses in particular struggle to afford coverage for themselves and their employees, which is often a deterrent to those who might otherwise start their own businesses. A statewide single payer healthcare system would free businesses that do provide health insurance to employees from the associated costs and administrative burdens. We need to focus economic development strategies on helping Maine people - who have chosen to live here - start and grow their own businesses by making low interest loans available that would otherwise not be available from traditional, commercial lending sources. Repayment of those loans should be made into a dedicated revenue revolving fund to help the next small business in need of capital. We need to partner small business innovation with public university research where appropriate. We need to focus on developing affordable, renewable energy sources. Instead of focusing on the needs of small business, in an effort to lure in large, out of state businesses, Maine too often engages in what I call corporate welfare of breathtaking proportions (e.g. Pine Tree Zones under the Baldacci administration). The current debacle with what was once Great Northern paper in Millinocket is the latest example of massive taxpayer giveaways to out of state corporate interests. Tax giveaways to rich corporations is an unconscionable abuse of Maine's hard working low and moderate income taxpayers (don't get me started on the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks given to General Dynamics - one of the richest corporations in America - while Bath property taxes soar). Those drawn to Maine by tax breaks have no particular allegiance to Maine and can reasonably be expected to be drawn elsewhere by better tax breaks. We also have a tendency to burden small business with often unaffordable regulatory requirements that are often implemented to address large business practices.

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Vitelli
Support small businesses from the ground up and invest in world class workforce education and training : I have spent 30 years working to create opportunities for people to start their own business, gain access to skills training and education to prepare them for the jobs of today. Investments in our people, starting with pre-k through adult learning, are the best ways to attract new businesses and provide skilled workers for our existing employers. Maine has a tradition of hard –working, creative people; we need to build on our strengths and celebrate our entrepreneurs. We need to promote and preserve our quality of place, including our vibrant small towns and communities and our rural spaces.

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

Baker
No My 30 plus years in the classroom dictates my opinion that marijuana use alters motivation and aspirations. My 30 years in the classroom dictates my opinion that marijuana use alters motivation and aspirations.

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Knapp
Yes It is the height of hypocrisy that alcohol is legal and recreational marijuana is not. Revenues to the general fund. I don't have a longer answer at present.

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Vitelli
Yes It needs to be carefully regulated and monitored; tax revenues should go to the general fund. We need to proceed cautiously, learning from the states that have gone before us in ensuring appropriate regulation, promoting public education and safety.

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

Baker
No By law the governor has that right, but I believe that the vote of the people should always prevail. While there may be times and circumstances where delaying the sale of such bonds for a time certain makes sense, overall, the will of the people must prevail.

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Knapp
No Barring some catastrophic result from moving forward with approved bonds, it is anti-democratic to ignore the popular vote I don't have a longer answer at present

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Vitelli
No When voters approve bonds the Governor is obligated to follow the will of the people. When voters approve bonds the Governor is obligated to follow the will of the people.

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

Baker
Maine must become more energy independent via renewable resources such as wood, solar and hydro as well as natural gas access. Maine's high energy costs make it expensive for residents to heat their homes, costly for businesses to operate and discourage new businesses from locating in Maine. Maine has abundant resources and needs to develop and utilize available technology. These things should be research priorities for our land grant university system.

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Knapp
We need to aggressively target energy efficiency & focus investment on renewables. I am skeptical that natural gas is the great savior its proponents claim and can recall the propane industry similarly promising significant energy savings that evaporated in time. Maine people should NOT be required to subsidize the expansion of natural gas pipeline capacity if the benefits will largely flow out of state. Furthermore, natural gas is not the "clean" energy it claims to be, and public investment should prioritize the development of truly sustainable energy sources remaining mindful of the need to ensure that investment is wisely undertaken and that "clean" energy purveyors are held to reasonable standards required to protect abutters, critical habitat, flora and fauna.

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Vitelli
Weatherization and other efficiency measures are the first and most effective ways to lower home heating costs. I sponsored a solar energy bill to help move Maine away from our overdependence on fossil fuels and increase use of alternative, renewable energy sources, including wind, bio-mass and tidal, as well as solar. Natural gas may provide a transitional fuel as Maine homes and businesses move to adopt more renewable energy sources.

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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?

Baker
Yes The people of Maine have voted and we need to fulfill their mandate. We can meet our obligation to public education without increasing taxes Laws have been passed to ensure the funding of public education at 55 percent. When that didn't happen, there was a referendum to the same effect. The people of Maine have spoken and we must meet our obligation. There is no room for dispute here.

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Knapp
Yes Yes as property taxes are far more regressive than income taxes & ME ranks 6th highest in property tax burden nationally Frankly I don't know why public education shouldn't be 100% state funded at least at some basic "essential programs and services" level to better level the playing field between richer and poorer communities. More spending is not necessarily good spending and we need to spend our education monies wisely (my fair town was once a poster child for consolidation as we were spending some $360,000/year on 3 principals and a PT superintendent to serve about 600 kids and graduate about 40 annually). We need to expand public educational opportunities to encompass both universal preschool education and post secondary school education and skills training. The Oregon "pay it forward pay it back" proposal holds promise for how to make lifelong learning affordable to all Maine people. We need to innovate and shed layers of expensive bureaucracy that stifles innovation. Immersion language programs for very young students might deliver a tremendous boost to lifelong achievement at relatively low cost.

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Vitelli
Yes Maine people want and deserve quality education and expect the state to pay its share. A tax hike is not necessary though. We need to fund education by re-prioritizing our spending not by raising taxes.

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Should Maine have more charter schools?

Baker
Yes Community need and success of existing charter schools should dictate whether or not additional charter schools are needed. We have the ability to create additional charter schools now. There are far fewer charter schools than law allows which provides time to assess both the need and success regarding charter schools. I favor charter schools as long as the needs of all students are being met.

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Knapp
No First we need to focus on ensuring that all Maine children are equitably served by high quality public schools As not all children have access to whatever benefits may flow from charter schools, it seems to me we need to prioritize fixing whatever it is that is wrong with our public schools such that charter schools are touted as necessary. To do otherwise is to relegate some public school students to inferior educational opportunities, which is not acceptable.

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Vitelli
No The current limit of ten charter schools provides ample opportunity to assess their potential to improve public education. We need to fully evaluate existing charter schools, ensure that proper funding mechanisms are in place, and focus on supporting all of our public education systems.

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