Benjamin T. Collings

Benjamin T. Collings

Benjamin T. Collings

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 42 from Portland

Running against Susan M. Abercrombie. View your ballot →

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

No. Health Care for anyone that can't afford to buy their own coverage.

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

I support broadening the sales tax by getting rid of exemptions to many industries that aren't paying their fair share. I don't, however want to lower the income tax and I want it raised on wealthy individuals. Everyone needs to pay their fair share.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Yes, we should tax and regulate this industry rather than waste money and time on failed prohibition, sending people to jail for frivolous and petty reasons.

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)

Yes, very reasonable and fair. We need to invest in education. That is our future.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Candidate did not answer this question.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

We have kept down wages too long, as cost of living has gone up and corporations have made record profits, creating a working class living off poverty wages. This has forced our tax dollars to subsidize the working poor.

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)

Mixed emotions on this one.

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 we need to focus more on treating and preventing the disease of addiction. Law enforcement only doesn't get to the roots of this issue.

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?

Need to look into this more and study pros and cons. I believe in popular vote for obvious reasons, yet have some concerns of people running for positions such as A.G. or S.O.S that aren't screened or qualified.

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

I believe it is appropriate as it allows for a House very representative of the constituency. I believe the stipend is very low, but would only support an increase if we had funds to pay all our bills, a robust rainy day fund and new revenue stream of savings to cover increase to Legislators. I consider the honor of being in the Legislature as a service to my State, not as a career, so I would choose to serve even if they never increased the compensation.

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

Yes

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

Never

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

Only if the Tribes were first on the list. I don't like the current monopoly of Casinos being controlled by out of state Corporations.

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

Candidate did not answer this question.

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?

Yes we need immigrants to drive our economy, just as was the case in Maine's history. We need to encourage immigrants and refugees to move to Maine, not insult them.

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

Need for Visionary Leadership