Aaron M. Frey

Aaron M. Frey

Aaron M. Frey

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 124 from Bangor

Running against Daniel LaPointe. View your ballot →

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

Social service spending should be assessed by how successful it is at helping an individual in a vulnerable situation transition to self-sufficiency. With that test in mind, I do not believe the current provision of social services is too generous and I also do not believe benefits need to be increased. Instead, efforts to ensure that social service programming is being administered properly, as well as to make sure that providers and consumers are using the services for the intended purpose, would be appropriate in the short term.

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

Not at this time. The Legislature just passed meaningful tax relief involving sales tax changes and income tax reductions. Instead, efforts should be made to address the increasing pressure of property taxes being caused by the State 1) failing to fund education at the statutory rate, 2) its withholding revenue sharing funds from municipalities and 3) its decreased funding for county jail operations.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

My position is based on public health considerations.

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)

No response.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

While this proposal is not perfect, I would rather error on the side of caution and require, with the included exceptions, that a background check be performed when a firearm is permanently transferred.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

No response.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

No response.

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?

There needs to be a balanced approach of education, treatment and enforcement. These efforts work best when they are used together.

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?

By the Legislature. The current arrangement provides for political accountability to elected members of the Legislature and avoids the problems that may arise from a constitutional officer focusing on raising money or catering to a special interest in order to get elected.

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

The current size of the Legislature permits its members to be close to the people that they represent. This is important and appropriate. The compensation for this service is appropriate and does not need to be increased.

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

Yes. Elected officials influence the quality of public dialogue and when one official makes patently inappropriate statements, it threatens the public confidence in government. The sanctioning power should be used sparingly, however, so as not to chill a legitimate exchange of ideas and only when failure to do so would erode the public confidence.

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

No. These efforts simply reduce the rights of employees, which may translate into lower wages and compromised working conditions.

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

No.

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

Increasing access to broadband would help connect Mainers all over the state to employment opportunities, it would help Maine companies expand to other markets and it would make Maine more attractive to business by providing access to goods and services. Maine should support the expansion of broadband networks to places where it does not yet reach by investing in infrastructure and supporting municipal efforts to increase connections to existing broadband networks (i.e. last mile projects).

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?

Many individuals come to Maine to receive an education. Keep them in the state by providing tax incentives for these students to stay and work. Maine should continue its support for programs that help transition individuals from other countries into Maine to live and work. It would also help if we restored a more civil, welcoming tone to our public discourse.

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

Maine's county jails are filled to capacity with individuals suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues. In addition, county jails are facing serious funding issues. In Penobscot County specifically, these pressures are serious. Not only are more appropriate interventions needed for these individuals (i.e. treatment), but work needs to be done to provide for stable financing of county jails.