Benjamin M. Chipman

Benjamin M. Chipman

Benjamin M. Chipman

Democratic candidate for Maine Senate District 27 from Portland

Running against Seth M. Baker and Adam M. Pontius. View your ballot →

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

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.

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

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.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

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)

No response.

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?

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

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?

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

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 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Candidate did not answer this question.

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

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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

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.