Race for Maine Senate District 5

in the 2016 General Election

Brett D. Baber

Brett D. Baber

7,100 (37.12%)

Republican - Veazie

Candidate profile

James F. Dill

James F. Dill

12,025 (62.88%)

Democratic - Old Town

Candidate profile

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

Baber
The State needs to provide a safety net to its most vulnerable citizens. However, since the State holds a trust to use taxpayer funds prudently, it cannot allow waste and fraud to occur in its benefit programs. To the extent such abuses are occurring, it is too generous.

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Dill did not answer this question.

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

Baber
Yes. Sales taxes will be shared by everyone in Maine, including non-residents. In contrast, the income tax deters business and industry from investing in Maine.

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Dill
I think raising the sales tax slightly, if used to lower income taxes, would be an acceptable way to go. The sales tax would hit everyone equally plus add revenue from out of state visitors, as long as some goods may be exempted, especially goods that are necessary. I do not one this to be a burden on the poor, so this would have to be looked at carefully.

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

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Baber
No response.

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Dill
I think we should pass this referendum, but that Legislature needs to look very carefully at how to administer it. The tax structure of it, the monitoring of amount of THC and making sure it is free of contaminants are but a few things that need to be addressed.

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

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Baber
No response.

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Dill
I will support this measure. Unfortunately, I don't believe this is the ideal way to reach 55%, but I don't have a better solution to offer currently.

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

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Baber
No response.

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Dill did not answer this question.

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

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

Baber
No response.

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Dill
I believe that Maine should strive for a living wage for it's citizens. Although some small businesses may see it as a concern over 600 small business owners support raising the minimum wage.

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

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Baber
No response.

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Dill
I think this is a confusing way to get to a majority vote candidate. I think many people will not know what to do with their 2nd and 3rd place votes , what they mean and what if they only choose one person--is there any impact. Just have a runoff between the top 2 vote getters.

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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?

Baber
This questing presents a false choice. we must do both to curb the drug epidemic.

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Dill
I believe this has to be a 3 prong approach, education, enforcement and treatment. I also believe Suboxone is a far superior way of treatment than methadone.

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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?

Baber
The A.G. should be appointed by the Governor. All other constitutional officers should be elected by the Legislature.

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Dill
Yes, I think this method is working fine.

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

Baber
The Legislature should be reduced through a unicameral body. Pay for legislative service should be increased to allow more people the opportunity to serve.

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Dill
I think the size of the Legislature is fine where it is. This gives people the chance to be able to communicate with their Representative or Senator quite easliy. It increases their availability to their constituents.

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

Baber
I would weigh in on the comments in the forum of public opinion where such concerns are to be discussed. If the public official violated another person's rights under the State discrimination laws, I would consider official action.

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

Baber
Federal law has largely addressed this issue. I would need to see specific legislation to respond.

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Dill
No. This has come up several times since I have been in Legislature and I haven't supported it.

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

Baber
No. We have enough casinos in Maine (one should have been tribal).

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Dill
It would depend on who is running the casino and how the cascade of funds to the State are divided.

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

Baber
High income taxes and energy prices are the biggest barriers to economic development in Maine. The Legislature should seek to reduce income taxes further and it should promote Maine's great hydroelectric resources.

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Dill
Energy costs especially as it relates to transmission and distribution (TnD). A town can have a power plant in it and yet the TnD costs to an individual operation/residence may be more than the cost of the electricity! The Legislature needs to look at these costs as well as alternative sources of electric generation to bring down total electrical costs.

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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?

Baber
We need to build a robust economy to entice our youth to stay and work in our great State.

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Dill
We need to look at ways to keep our youth in Maine and to attract out of state youth here. Recently, the UMaine System has had an increase in student numbers attend the University, especially at Orono. Some of this is do to increased enrollment from out of state students. Now that we have them here and they see what Maine has to offer as a State--we need to keep them here.

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

Baber
Education reform. We need to reduce the administrative cost burden on our school and universities to put more money into the classrooms.

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Dill
I believe there are 2--property taxes and the cost of post-secondary education.

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