Janice E. Cooper

Janice E. Cooper

Janice E. Cooper

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 47 from Yarmouth

Running against Richard Vinton Snow. View your ballot →

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

No. No one moves to Maine for social service benefits. For our residents in need, the amount should be sufficient to cover basic needs--health care, housing, food, and help in finding employment.

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

Sales tax increases should focus on out-of-state users and upper income products and services. Otherwise, sales tax increases disproportionately impacts low income residents. Income tax rates are too low at the upper income level. The rates were lowered under the current administration and are insufficient to meet the State's needs. People move to no income-tax states for reasons other than taxes, e.g. climate. States like Kansas that have eliminated income taxes have faced financial crises.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Legalization for recreational use will make this drug more accessible to minors, whose neurological development can be permanently impaired by its use. I also worry about driver impairment.

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)

This may not be the best way to reach the 55% promise of state aid, but the legislature, too timid about raising taxes, has been unable to find the funds to do it

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Law abiding gun owners will not be affected. States that have enacted universal gun background checks have seen substantial decreases in firearm deaths of police officers, suicides, and domestic abuse deaths.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

The current level is not a livable wage; many families and individuals have to resort to public assistance to pay the rent and eat. Why should taxpayers subsidize low paying employers? Other than in high-end restaurants in Old Port, most tip workers often take home less than the minimum wage, since employers fail to make up the difference.

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)

I believe it will induce candidates to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters. Currently, candidates from the major parties have to appeal to the extremes of their parties in primaries.

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. More access to effective treatment, including access to medication, is needed. The current level of law interception and prevention is adequate.

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 favor popular election of the AG and SOS. These positions should carry their own popular mandate so they will be emboldened to act when the governor or legislature won't. The other positions can be appointed.

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

Yes. Mainers like easy access to their elected officials. I represent only 8,500 people and I think the additional cost of a large legislature is minor in the scheme of things. I do favor raising the stipend. It is so low that only retirees, young people who do not have family responsibilities, and working people who really don't have enough time to devote to their legislative responsibilities (or their other job) can serve. Often, the last category leave after only a term because it is just too hard to do both.

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

There is no provision in the Maine Constitution for censures, but it might be appropriate in these situations. I favor adding a recall provision to the Constitution. Leave it to the voters to decide.

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

No

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

No, although I have voted for casinos on Indian reservations because I believe these residents should have a right to self-determination.

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

Lack of workers highly skilled in fields that are in demand.

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?

Encourage immigration from other countries, particularly refugees, who are highly motivated workers and often well-trained.

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

Sustainability, particularly taking steps to protect our coastlines, fishing areas, and other environmental factors that are deteriorating because of climate change.