John Alden Spear

John Alden Spear

John Alden Spear

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 92 from South Thomaston

Running against Sonja Sleeper. View your ballot →

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

I don't profess to be an expert regarding the details of the array of currently provided social services and their associated eligibility criteria. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if there exits specific cases where I would deem the services provided to be overly generous. Having said that, I have a relatively high degree of confidence that the processes employed to determine the current level of services was reasonable, and therefore the level of services is also reasonable. Of course, as with anything of this nature, reevaluation should be a continuing process. I'm not certain that any benefits should be increased or decreased, but my priorities as a legislator would be to support programs that effectively serve children, the elderly, and veterans.

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

I do not support expanding the sales tax to lower the income tax. If I were to support expansion of the sales tax, it would be to reduce property taxes for year round residents and businesses with a physical location within the state.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

No response.

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)

Although I support this initiative I do not , as a rule, support fashioning tax policy by referenda.

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.)

I think someone working full time should be able to earn a livable wage that provides for basic necessities.

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?

I think the eradication of the opiate crisis needs to be a multi- faceted approach, so I would not prioritize one aspect over another.

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?

My initial reaction is that they should continue to be elected by the Legislature but I would be very interested in researching the pros and cons of other methods.

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

I would be very interested in investigating the prospect of creating a unicameral legislature and simultaneously reducing the total number of legislators by about thirty five from the current aggregate amount of representatives and senators. I do not favor a pay increase for legislators.

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 support the right of the Legislature to take action against one of its members or other elected officials who violate adopted standards of conduct, including speech, provided due process procedures are employed.

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

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

I believe the shrinking labor force and inadequate investment in education and training is the biggest barriers to economic development in Maine. To address this, the Legislature should fund 55% of K~12 education, as required by a state wide vote of the people, and reduce tuition cost for post secondary education at public universities and technical schools.

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 should provide incentives to stem the out migration of its young people and provide workforce training for all new Mainers so they can support themselves and their families and help grow Maine's economy.

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

The most pressing issue not addressed by these questions is the need for all Maine residents to have access to affordable quality health care.