David Woodsome

David Woodsome

David Woodsome

Republican candidate for Maine Senate District 33 from Waterboro

Running against Andrea M. Boland. View your ballot →

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

As far as the level of services and benefits provided, no they are not too generous. If you TRULY quality for food stamps, for example, then you are experiencing true poverty and really do need support in feeding your family and getting back on your feet. What we DO need to improve on is ensuring that folks receiving these benefits really do meet eligibility standards. We also need to disrupt multi-generational dependence on social services by helping/moving able people back into the workforce and building our economy so that a person who works a full-time job is able to support themselves independently.

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

No. District 33 in York county borders New Hampshire, which has no sales tax. The businesses in my Senate district that collect sales tax believe an increase would definitely hurt them more than the existing sales tax does now. The majority of working class and retired people are not in favor of a higher sales tax.

Eliminating one tax and increasing another is not the solution to increased economic growth for Maine. Of course, being from a border region affects my thinking on this issue, but the big picture requires statewide solutions as much as possible and I believe we have to ask some really hard questions of ourselves and the state. To generate more wealth and increase the flow of money for all, we need an educated, trained, skilled and competent labor force. Are we producing that, and if not, why? Many employers say today's workers do not meet the requirements they need.

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

No. This is a difficult issue for me. Having taught and coached at the high school level for 35 years, I saw the use of marijuana by teens and parents increase – both individually AND as a family. Marijuana use is becoming more and more socially acceptable. Knowing the damage caused by alcohol abuse, would I vote to legalize if it were illegal today? I'm not sure. I recognize that many feel that comparing marijuana to alcohol is inaccurate, and that marijuana is "not as bad" as alcohol - but does that make it "good"?

I DO support the medical benefits of marijuana, and Maine covers this under current law. However, at this time, I don't believe Maine has appropriate and necessary policies and procedures in place to regulate the use - and misuse - of legalized marijuana. More work is needed to get these systems in place.

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Candidate did not answer this question.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I do not support the Stand Up for Students initiative, as I dont feel you can target a specific income level and make them responsible for better education. Additionally, I question whether the money that is assumed to be there actually is, and whether it will adequately meet the real education funding needs of this state. It is the States responsibility to fund education adequately, not just one group of citizens, and its clear our current education funding formula is NOT working. A decade ago, Maine citizens mandated through a ballot initiative that the State pay 55% of the cost of public education in Maine and the State has yet to fulfill this mandate. This is wrong. This summer Ive been speaking with other legislators and educators, who, like me, feel we need to address this major shortfall. I intend to bring forth this funding issue with the legislature during the next session to ensure that a more equitable and adequate education formula is developed and enacted. This can only be achieved with broad, bipartisan support and the involvement of diverse groups across the state. My record shows I have the ability to foster this bipartisanship.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I do not support this referendum as the proposed law is poorly written. We need to enforce existing gun control laws nationwide before we place more restrictions on law-abiding citizens.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

I believe that labor demand, a competitive environment, and the skills and personal work habits that workers bring to the job are what should dictate compensation. I routinely hear from employers trying to hire workers that they are disappointed that their applicants lack good work habits and people skills. Most employers are willing to work with and further train employees willing to work hard, thus increasing their earning power. Guaranteeing an incompetent or unwilling worker $12 an hour is not good economic growth policy.

At the same time, I realize too many working people are struggling financially and believe that employers need to reward good workers accordingly.

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)

This strikes me as a solution looking for a problem. We have a long democratic tradition that has worked for this country and state. If you win an election, even by 1%, then you win. Its as simple as that. Id rather see this time and effort put into engaging the electorate and increasing voter participation.

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?

This is not an either/or situation. Trafficking illegal drugs is a crime. Addiction is an illness. BOTH law enforcement AND treatment are key to fighting the opioid epidemic. In fact, law enforcement and treatment providers should be, and often are, working together to create a unified front against this scourge. Last session, I sponsored a bill to expand access to treatment centers offering medication assistance and counseling by restoring reimbursement rates to pre-2010 levels. This investment would have helped reduce addiction-related crime, healthcare costs and lost productivity. Its unfair and unreasonable to place the burden of this epidemic solely on law enforcement. We need to redouble our commitment to a multipronged approach.

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?

Why drag this into the political realm of campaigning? The people elect the Legislature to make appointments like this. It is an efficient and cost-effective method.

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

Yes, the size of our Legislature is appropriate to ensure strong representation of the people in Augusta. Ive heard folks complain about lawmakers getting fat off the people, but few understand that this more-than-full-time commitment pays far less than minimum wage. As a legislator, its hard to argue for a pay raise with a straight face. However, I would like to see more Mainers run for office we desperately need their talent and energy. Would better pay make this possible for more Mainers? Perhaps.

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 take it on a case-by-case basis. Prejudicial and racist comments made by public servants are unacceptable and we certainly are morally compelled to speak out against hate. Elected officials have a duty and responsibility to represent ALL constituents.

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

Yes. I recognize the important role unions have played in our history and the power of collective bargaining. However, compelling someone to join a union has become as heavy handed as the industrial barons they were originally formed to resist.

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

Casinos are nothing more than an expansion of existing gaming in Maine. The original intent of gaming in Maine was very specific, to generate funds for education. However, these funds have been watered down and diverted, doing little of the good they were originally promised to deliver. The whole system should be reevaluated.

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

Education and the economic opportunities it fosters. I believe trade and technology education is central to building a skilled workforce, which we need to attract good businesses and jobs to the state. These educational opportunities should be available to everyone, something that is currently a challenge in the more rural parts of the state. Ive spoken with numerous business owners, manufacturers, and educators to support a coalition working to build business and educational partnerships and enhance opportunities. Im particularly proud of Sanford and the York County Community College for their work to make this a reality and want to bring these same opportunities to more rural areas. This is both an educational and an economic issue with far reaching implications. For a strong future, we need more Maine graduates to build their lives here too many must leave the state to find good jobs.

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 need to attract entrepreneurs and workers to the State, and we need to do more to encourage Maines younger generations to stay in state. This begins with a skilled workforce to attract and sustain businesses, and plentiful economic opportunities for workers. As with generations before, immigrants have an important role to play in building this and bring to Maine a diversity of skills and experiences that we can benefit from.

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

Bipartisanship. We are paralyzed without it and the state and country are suffering as a result. While in the senate, I have made significant gains for bipartisanship by reaching across the aisle to work on issues, not politics. I want to continue the in-roads Ive made for bipartisanship in order to ensure that Maine has the leadership it needs to build a strong future. We MUST build bridges between Republicans and Democrats in order to create good policy and ensure a stronger economy and better life for all Mainers.