Erin D. Herbig

Erin D. Herbig

Erin D. Herbig

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 97 from Belfast

Running against Blaine Richardson. View your ballot →

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

No. The people of Maine have always taken care of their neighbors that are truly in need or are going through a difficult period. What we have to do, however, is stop paying for those people that are capable of working but are receiving welfare because they know how to work the system. Cut the fraud, not the services. Additionally, these programs should be constantly reviewed to make sure they are working to transition people out of poverty and into employment.

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

Yes. I support lowering the state income tax. Maines current tax system needs to move in favor of Maine businesses and people that live and work here. We need to increase state revenue through increased economic growth and expanding the tax base.

I oppose tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations. Everyone must share the tax burden equally. Shifting the burden to property owners is not responsible governing. I have been fighting policies like this since I have been in office. We must continue to look for ways to raise state revenue rather than simply shifting the responsibility.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Maine voters should decide this issue. If it is passed, we should look to the successes and failures of other states that have done so, like Washington State and Colorado, for guidance when crafting safety, regulation and taxation practices.

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)

A well-educated, well-trained workforce is the key to economic prosperity, which, in turn, will ease the economic burden on taxpayers.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I come from a hunting family and respect Maine's hunting tradition. I also agree with the Maine Chiefs of Police Association that criminal background checks are the single most effective way to prevent felons, domestic abusers, people with severe mental illness and other dangerous people from purchasing firearms.

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)

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?

No. Both need to be a priority. I supported the $3.7 million drug bill this past year, but much more needs to be done. I agree with the Maine Chiefs of Police and Maine Sheriff's Association that support expanding Medicaid in order to increase access to mental health and substance abuse treatment.More and more people are seeking treatment but are unable to access needed services. Expanding Medicaid would allow thousands of people to access treatment services right here in Waldo County. I also would like to see more programming at the state level to support law enforcement in their efforts to link people struggling with substance abuse to treatment.

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?

Candidate did not answer this question.

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

I appreciate the size of the Maine Legislature. The House of Representatives currently has 151 members. This provides genuine access for the Maine people to their local representatives. I would worry that shrinking the number of House members would not give me and my colleagues the ability to respond directly our constituents needs. I believe that I am able to represent the interests of our constituents well because of the size of my district and my ability to connect with so many people in the district. I do not think that we should raise legislative salaries at this time. While I think people are often surprised to hear that legislators only make a little over $20,000 for their two year term, there are too many other priorities and needs in this state that must be funded before we give legislators an increase in their salary. Maine truly has a citizens legislature and it has worked for us for many years.

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

Elected officials serve as leaders and public figures in our communities. This means that our conduct as elected officials must be held to a higher standard. In the House of Representatives, we do have the ability to sanction or reprimand a member of our own chamber for harmful or inappropriate behavior. I think it all depends upon the situation and the severity of any given statement, but it is important that elected officials do hold each other accountable and speak out against egregious and harmful language and behavior.

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

No. The best business policies recognize that good labor relations helps, rather than hinders, business growth and prosperity. Workers should have the right to organize and bargain for better wages and benefits. The best business policies recognize that good labor helps, rather than hinders, business growth and prosperity.

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

I am not a fan of expanding the number of casinos in Maine. I worry that gambling is bad for our economy and harmful for the people of Maine. While I personally don't like gambling, there may be certain proposals to allow for more casinos in Maine that would make sense. But on the face of it, I would prefer to not see any more casinos in Maine.

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

We attract new businesses with a well-trained workforce that possesses skills relevant to our future economy. In Belfast we have already seen this with our heritage industries such as farming and boat building. These industries are an essential aspect of our economic growth. Enhancing opportunities for all Mainers through good education and training specific to these industries needs to be our top priority.

Maine small businesses will have the potential to expand if they are well supported. All businesses need adequate rural road systems, expanded broadband access, and improved markets for locally produced products.

Finally, we must further review regulations placed on our businesses. We need to eliminate the red tape put in the way of business owners. The success of a new business should depend on its merits, not on filling out paperwork.

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?

The state of Maine should be doing everything it can to encourage our young people to stay in Maine and young families to move to Maine. I was born and raised in Waldo County and knew that Maine was where I wanted to raise a family. But it can be a struggle for young people to stay in Maine. I have many friends who want to live in and raise their families in this state but they must live elsewhere because they are unable to find good paying jobs. Along with retaining our young people, we know that we must also recruit new Mainers to live here to change the demographics of our aging state and to reverse the trend. We need to make key investments to jump start our economy and create good paying jobs. We know that we have a retiring workforce and actually we will soon have many businesses looking to replace that workforce. We need to make sure that our young people are getting access to the right education and training to be able to enter those jobs.

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

As someone who grew up in Maine, I have seen far too many of our young people and families leave for better opportunities elsewhere. I want to make sure we create jobs so our young people can stay here and enjoy the quality of life that all Mainers deserve.