Aaron Blaschke Rowden

Aaron Blaschke Rowden

Aaron Blaschke Rowden

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 108 from Fairfield

Running against John J. Picchiotti. View your ballot →

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

Maine should align government benefits to meet the needs of the people. MaineCare should expand to allow more low income people to receive this benefit. TANF and similar programs should be carefully monitored and requirements for able bodied persons to seek work should be in place and enforced.

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

No. Sales tax is a regressive tax that disproportionately affects working families.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I believe marijuana prohibition has been an expensive and failed experiment. It has succeeded in funneling young people into the criminal justice system and creating a generation wherein one in three adults has a criminal conviction.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

The current system of shifting more to property tax payers has created a situation in which the average Mainer is paying a 4.7 percent hidden surtax regardless of ability to pay. Measure to shift back to broad based taxation are necessary to relieve homeowners of this disparate burden.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I support background checks for online sales and gun shows, but the requirements for background checks for neighbors and friends to borrow guns for a hunting season are too onerous for ordinary people.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

I support the establishment of a living wage, and believe the gradual increase of the minimum wage outlined in question 4 would be less shocking to businesses than more drastic measures which have been proposed.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I believe that Maine people ought to have confidence that their elected leaders in fact have the support of a majority to govern. I would support any necessary constitutional amendment to give effect to this measure.

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?

I believe this is a false dichotomy. Both drug interdiction to dry up supply and drug treatment to dry up demand are necessary to solve the drug problem in Maine.

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?

I believe the constitutional officers should continue to be elected by the legislature as these officers must command the confidence of the legislature to be effective.

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

I believe the size of the legislature should be examined. I do not support a pay increase for legislators.

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

I would support official sanctions against elected officials who make such remarks as doing so undermines the trust of the people in their government.

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

I would not support this type of measure. I believe individual employers and unions should be free to contract on the issue of union membership.

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

I believe that the casino issue should be left to local communities through their own zoning and licensing. The free market and local concerns should dictate how many casinos the state can support.

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

The biggest barrier to economic development is the increasing average age of the population and the shrinking available skilled workforce. The legislature can address this by expanding incentive programs for young people to move to or return to Maine, such as expanding tax deduction programs for student loan interest, expanding vocational and technical training opportunities in the high school curriculum, and focusing on technical literacy in the public school system.

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?

In addition to the proposals above, I believe we should take steps to lower the property tax burden in order to encourage young people to buy homes in Maine and thus increase the likelihood that they will stay in Maine to raise their families. This requires a shift back to broad based taxation and holding the line against tax plans that benefit a small number of people over the majority of Mainers.

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

The reduction in revenue sharing in the past budget cycles has pushed many cities and towns to their breaking point. In order to make progress in the areas necessary to help Maine grow an economy and work force, the state must provide the municipalities and school districts with the proper and mandated funding.