Race for Maine Senate District 27

in the 2016 General Election

Seth M. Baker

Seth M. Baker

3,672 (16.7%)

Green Independent - Portland

Candidate profile

Benjamin M. Chipman

Benjamin M. Chipman

14,782 (67.22%)

Democratic - Portland

Candidate profile

Adam M. Pontius

Adam M. Pontius

3,538 (16.09%)

Republican - Portland

Candidate profile

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

Baker
Maine is not too generous with its social services, fighting poverty should be a top priority. The type of reform we need is less bureaucracy so we can provide more services to those in need.

Show full answers

Chipman
Social services have been drastically cut over the last 6 years and we are seeing the impact of these cuts at soup kitchens and homeless shelters across the state. Cutting programs that help people get back on their feet makes things worse, not better. Government has a basic responsibility to make sure no citizen goes without food, shelter, or health care.

Show full answers

Pontius
How can we know when we do not do a good enough job of measuring the efficacy of our social service programs? We should determine appropriate and transparent indicators to measure the success or failure of social service program beyond how much or little we are spending and adjust accordingly.

Show full answers

Do you support expanding or raising the sales tax to lower the state income tax? Why or why not?

Baker
I do not support sales tax increases, they are regressive and hurt low income people the most. I support a more progressive income tax to increase government revenue.

Show full answers

Chipman
No. Income can be taxed at different rates based on income levels. Sales tax is paid by everyone regardless of their income so it disproportionately impacts low income residents who are already having difficulty making ends meet.

Show full answers

Pontius
I think it is a good idea to shift the tax burden from income and property tax payers to a sales tax. We ought to pursue a balanced taxation policy that is based on Maine's needs. We are a state of roughly 1.3 million year round residents but some 33 million tourists also enjoyed a public parks, roads, public transportation and other services in 2015. We should shift some of Maine's tax burden off of income and property taxpayers by enacting a statewide sales tax.

Show full answers

Do you support marijuana legalization in Maine, as outlined in Question 1?

Chipman
Yes

Show full answers

Pontius
Yes

Show full answers

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Baker
I support it and the right of adults to use marijuana on their own time. I do think we need to keep an eye on legalization to make sure it's not a total free for all make sure it not a spectacle for tourism

Show full answers

Pontius
No response.

Show full answers

Do you support raising taxes on Mainers with incomes above $200,000 to increase state aid to education, as outlined in Question 2?

Chipman
Yes

Show full answers

Pontius
No

Show full answers

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Baker
Yes and in general I support shifting more of the tax burden to higher income earners. Our top tax rate starts in the low 20,000s and that needs to be shifted up.

Show full answers

Chipman
No response.

Show full answers

Pontius
No response.

Show full answers

Do you support universal background checks for firearm sales, as outlined in Question 3?

Chipman
Yes

Show full answers

Pontius
Yes

Show full answers

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Baker
Yes as a matter of fairness, all gun sales should require a background check.

Show full answers

Chipman
No response.

Show full answers

Pontius
No response.

Show full answers

Should Maine raise its minimum wage, as outlined in Question 4?

Chipman
Yes

Show full answers

Pontius
No

Show full answers

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

Baker
Yes I support this measure as the first step for a $15 an hour minimum wage statewide. I also support eliminating the sub minimum tipped wage.

Show full answers

Chipman
No response.

Show full answers

Pontius
No response.

Show full answers

Do you support the initiative to use ranked-choice voting to elect state and federal officials in Maine, as outlined in Question 5?

Chipman
Yes

Show full answers

Pontius
Yes

Show full answers

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Baker
I strongly support this measure and think it will improve our democracy by giving voters more choices. I dislike how the media labels spoilers in races with more than two canidates and feel this measure will help independent and 3rd party candidates have a fairer chance.

Show full answers

Pontius
No response.

Show full answers

Should Maine prioritize law enforcement efforts to intercept drug traffickers over expanding access to substance abuse treatment, such those that incorporates medications like methadone and Suboxone?

Baker
Maine should prioritize treatment and harm reduction. All personal possession should be decriminalized, it's irresponsible to label people with drug problems criminals and hurt their future employment prospects.

Show full answers

Chipman
No. We need to reduce demand for drugs by increasing drug education and expanding access to treatment and rehabilitation.

Show full answers

Pontius
Treating the opiate/heroin crisis in Maine as a question of whether law enforcement or treatment should be prioritized to the detriment of the other is the wrong approach. If we are going to get past this crisis we need to invest in coordinated care, and evidence based treatment. Law enforcement and treatment are both parts of a solution, not competing solutions on their own.

Show full answers

Should Maines constitutional officers -- the secretary of state, the attorney general, auditor and the treasurer -- continue to be elected by the Legislature or by statewide popular vote?

Baker
Yes they should continue to be elected by our Legislature.

Show full answers

Chipman
I would be open to the idea of electing these officers by popular vote. An election would bring more attention to these positions and give the public a better understanding of the role of the constitutional officers.

Show full answers

Pontius
No, I think it is appropriate for Maine's constitutional officers to be elected by the Legislature.

Show full answers

Is the size of Maines Legislature appropriate? Should the pay for legislative service be increased?

Baker
The size is appropriate and we should increase the pay to encourage more working people to run for office.

Show full answers

Chipman
The size seems to work fine. Small districts allow residents to get to know their legislators and I think that is good for democracy. The pay is very low and discourages a lot of people from running for the legislature because they can not afford to serve.

Show full answers

Pontius
We should look to shrink the size of Maine's Legislature, and increase pay for legislative service.

Show full answers

Would you support sanctioning another elected official if he or she made public comments or statements that were considered racist, offensive or prejudicial?

Baker
I support removing elected officials who engage in bigoted speech. Our country has a long history of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of prejudices and unless we acknowledge this we can never make serious progress. Elected office is no place for people who look down on people, we need our elected officials to fight for a society that works for everybody.

Show full answers

Chipman
Absolutely. The governor's behavior needs to be addressed but unfortunately we do not have very many options. Impeachment is very difficult to achieve and can only be done when the Legislature is in session. Maine needs a recall process like many other states have to allow citizens to remove the governor by collecting a certain number of signatures and having a public vote.

Show full answers

Pontius
If the public comments or statements are one in a series of such events, then yes I support sanctions.

Show full answers

Would you support a so-called right to work law in Maine?

Baker did not answer this question.

Show full answers

Chipman did not answer this question.

Show full answers

Pontius
I do not support 'right to work' legislation.

Show full answers

Would you support legislation or a ballot question to allow more casinos in Maine?

Baker
No I would not, casinos are not the type of economic growth we need.

Show full answers

Chipman
The Bangor and Oxford facilities only opened after receiving statewide voter approval. If signatures are collected and the voters approve another casino then I will respect the will of the voters. I am not willing to approve more casinos in the Legislature without statewide voter approval.

Show full answers

Pontius
I do not support more casinos in Maine.

Show full answers

What is the biggest barrier to economic development in Maine and what can the Legislature do to address it?

Baker
The post NAFTA economy and deindustrialization has been extremely harmful to our great state. Sadly in the past 30 years or so both parties have bought into this trickle down economic myth that has done very little to help our economy and has led to grotesque inequality and stagnant wages. First and foremost we need to stop trying to lure companies by just giving them tax breaks and asking for nothing in return. We certainly should be negotiating with the private sector but any deal the state makes should include employment figures and livable wages. Secondly we should also work to incentivize the creation of local worker owned businesses. We can build stronger local economies throughout Maine by giving workers more control.

Show full answers

Chipman
The location of our state may be the biggest barrier but we can not change that. We have a lack of workers with certain skills. We need to make tuition at our state universities and community colleges free for in state residents like 13 other states do and we need to encourage residents to get trained in a a skill that is actually needed by employers in Maine. We also need to do more to foster small business development.

Show full answers

Pontius
The biggest barrier to economic development in Maine is lack of human capital. We need to both convince young Mainers that they can have a future in this state, and attract talent from abroad. This is a complex issue that cannot be tackled in any single piece of legislation, but making student loan payments tax-deductible for anyone who commits to living in Maine for three years would be a good start.

Show full answers

Census data show Maines population is aging and decreasing, with some economists suggesting that immigration is the best way to reverse those trends. What should the state do to address this demographic trend?

Baker
We should be working with the federal government to bring in as many refugees as we can. The United State has a moral obligation to help refugees fleeing countries like Syria and Maine can benefit from welcoming them into our communities.

Show full answers

Chipman
We should expand the Opportunity Maine program to encourage more young residents to stay living and working in Maine after they graduate from college and start families here. The economists are right. We will need more immigration in order to have enough workers within the next several years. Immigrants play an important role in Maine's economy.

Show full answers

Pontius
We should encourage immigration. I have already seen the positive, revitalizing effects of immigrants choosing to move into neighborhoods in Portland. We have jobs that need to be done, and if immigrants are willing to do them then we ought to welcome them with open arms.

Show full answers

What is the most pressing issue in Maine these questions have not addressed?

Baker
The housing crisis in greater Portland. Its shameful that the part of the state with the best economy has out of control rent increases and is actively displacing people who are not rich or upper middle class. The state should encouraging rent stabilization for all of Maine so the problem doesn't spread further.

Show full answers

Chipman
The cost of housing has become very expensive. We need rental housing to be more affordable in Portland and other areas of the state. This is an issue we must immediately address at the local and state level.

Show full answers

Pontius
We need a coordinated approach to economic growth in the Portland area. In order for the Portland metro area to continue growing we need to attract medium-sized and large companies. This will require a regional approach to investment projects, zoning changes, and municipal planning and spending. We should always value our status as a home-rule state, but it does not need to come at the expense of cooperation between municipalities.

Show full answers