John J. Picchiotti

John J. Picchiotti

John J. Picchiotti

Republican candidate for Maine House District 108 from Fairfield

Running against Aaron Blaschke Rowden. View your ballot →

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

Maine offers a lot in providing social services to our residents. If one looks on the website https://www1.maine.gov/dhhs/programs.shtml we will find a very large list of what is provided. However, just as any, item there is always room for improvement. There are many benefits that obviously should be increased and many that need to be decreased. They need to be worked on individually and are constantly changing. It is something we need to work on continually.

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

This is a tough question. In expanding sales tax overall, we would put all our merchants at risk in Southern Maine that have to compete with New Hampshire. We have to find a happy medium. Our property taxes in many areas are very high and possibly a little more in sales tax would help lower them. I think there is possible a middle of the road situation that could be reached. I think it is something that both sides need to sit down and take a close look at and combine ideas to come up with a sensible solution!

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I do not support legalization of marijuana for recreational use. There are many health risks that are not being told and other problems with it that is not being fully addressed. It could have an effect and limit access to medical marijuana by pushing small-scale growers out of business.

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 believe the intention is a good one but on looking deeper, one, there is nothing in the question that would guarantee that money went to education even though it says it is for education. The Legislature could easily (in my opinion) move that money out of education to the general fund at some point down the road. Also, this would make Maine have the 2nd highest tax rate (California being number 1) in the Country which would not be good for the future of our economy.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

The way this law is proposed it would ban all private transfers including temporary ones, (with very limited exceptions) unless you go through a gun dealer and pay a fee. This was proposed by out of State money. Most people collecting signatures were being paid and not volunteers. One example would be lend your shotgun to a friend to go bird hunting and you are both criminals unless you go to a gun dealer and get a background check on your friend or even house sitting for a friend who has a gun in the house, if they did not have a background check done on you, you are both criminals. This is not a grassroots Maine effort.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

No. When I was in business I never even thought about hiring someone at minimum wage. I looked for experience workers and paid what I had to hire them. Minimum wage jobs are for people to acquire skills they can use in future jobs. By raising minimum wage we are assuring people whose skills are not sufficient to justify the higher wage will become unemployed. We need to raise minimum wage but not to the extent that this ballot question raises it.

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)

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?

Maine has one of the worst drug problems in the Country right now. We are in the process of doing many good things to stop this epidemic but we have much more to do to protect our citizens. While we are moving in the right direction, we must work with our law enforcement efforts and our youth to provide them with accurate information, make more treatment available, especially upon request. Programs such as Day One need to be expanded and we need to see more medications like Vivitrol to be used to help treat addicts. We have recently added 10 new agents to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and allocated more than $2 million in additional funding which is a start! We need to remain vigilant in our fight against this epidemic.

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?

Candidate did not answer this question.

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?

It is something that we should keep looking at, but right now I do not feel that it is an important factor in our State.

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

It is a question that is constant. I think for the tourist attractions, it is not a bad idea. I am not convinced that Casinos want to open in this State because we have a large gambling problem but they want to take advantage of our large tourism trade. If they do not feel they can make money at it they will not come here. I have supported such legislation in the past and would not be against it.

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

There are several answers but in speaking with some of our largest industries we currently have, energy is very high on the list. Also qualified workers in various areas. I know as a Trustee at KVCC it is very important for all of the schools to be training our workers in many various positions needed to cover the work force of our industries, both what we have now and what we can expect to bring in as we move forward.

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?

I believe that, as in my previous question answer, we need to be increasing and expanding our training for our kids for the need of our current industries and incoming industries. There are many different ways to do this and all of them are achievable. Remembering that Maine workers have the best work ethics in the Country, we need to keep our kids here and provide the opportunities so that they will stay. Immigration is a positive in many areas but training our children and grand children in many areas if of top importance.

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

I think the questions have address the biggest scope of issues we have. There are other issues that will need to be addressed as we move forward but our biggest issue is providing jobs and a strong job market to keep our children and grandchildren here so they can enjoy our wonderful State that our Great Grandparents, Grandparents, Parents, and we have enjoyed!