Matthew A. Harrington

Matthew A. Harrington

Matthew A. Harrington

Republican candidate for Maine House District 19 from Sanford

Running against Nalbert Tarbox Tero. View your ballot →

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

The concept of a worker shortage when we have so many able bodied adults receiving welfare benefits is appalling to me. I got my first job at age 15 and have not been unemployed since. I had a job all through high school and college. For most of my life I had two jobs if the first didnt pay well enough. We have a shortage of motivation and thats a nationwide problem. We must continue with welfare reform and help these folks find jobs. By getting these folks employed, it will instill self worth and that will solve many other societal problems.

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

I support lowering the income tax, however am not ready to completely get behind the idea of eliminating the income tax all together. Far too many Mainers claim residency in states which dont have an income tax, which is a motivation to lower it. Ive heard from many of my constituents, and I tend to agree with them, is tourists do not pay their fair share. Maines population grows significantly in the summer and tourists use significant tax payer funded services as a result. I would support an increase in the lodging tax as one way to increase their share of costs. Im afraid that by raising the sales tax, communities like Sanford would be hit very hard, as we are very close to New Hampshire where there is no sales tax. Sanford can not afford to lose anymore businesses and jobs. I too am afraid that by eliminating the income tax it will raise property taxes. Our elderly on fixed incomes can not afford an increase in their property taxes. My district has some of the highest property taxes in the state.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

This referendum is one Im most conflicted about. As a police officer, I can attest that alcohol is much more of a problem than marijuana. So with that in mind, I tend to agree with legalization. However, I know that law enforcement does not have the tools in place to handle the guaranteed spike in marijuana related impaired driving. We have already seen a spike, just with the speculation of legalization. If we look to Colorado and a study I reviewed recently, they have seen a 62% increase in marijuana related fatalities on their roadways. They have seen a large spike in emergency room visits due to marijuana, largely due to a lack of education around the edibles market. I think it's also important to remember marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. I took an oath to the United Sates Constitution and have a hard time supporting something that is in direct violation of federal law.

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)

This initiative will destroy small businesses in Maine. We can not afford to lose anymore business owners to more business friendly states such as New Hampshire.

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 question 3 and will be voting no. Maine does not have a gun problem and certainly doesnt have a gun violence problem. Question 3 is a solution looking for a problem. Ive been a police officer for nine years. I dont believe this proposal will make the public more safe or my fellow officers. The simple reality is that more laws on law abiding citizens, do nothing the stop criminals.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

I do not support this referendum. I think this will result in almost 100% unemployment among high school students and many layoffs. This will close the doors of so many small business and Maine who will not be able to afford that high of a wage for an unskilled worker, who brings almost nothing to the table. The existing minimum wage is not a wage very many employees are even receiving, except during training. As employers are forced to pay more, that cost will be transferred to you, the consumer. Our elderly on fixed incomes cant afford to pay more for the goods and services they depend on. Since the first time i heard about this referendum i have been asking tipped employees what they think of trading their tips for $12 an hour. Not one of them has said they support the idea, as they make significantly more on tips.

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)

First and foremost this ballot initiative is unconstitutional in Maine. This initiative will create a very confusing and expensive system of elections.

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?

The heroin epidemic to me and my fellow members of public safety is more than a political talking point or news headline, its personal. I have seen the overdose deaths firsthand, I have administered medical aid to overdose victims and have looked into the eyes of family members after losing a loved one. We must do more. The drug epidemic, specifically heroin, is ravaging our state and Sanford has been hit particularly hard. This is a problem that requires aggressive enforcement, treatment and education. During the last legislative session I supported a measure which added ten additional drug enforcement agents as well as $2 million in additional funding for treatment.

The people of Maine need to understand the ruthless nature of those trafficking drugs into our state. These drug dealers create demand by preying on our youth and getting them to try heroin, usually when theyre at their most vulnerable and intoxicated on alcohol and marijuana. This is not my opinion, this is what these drug dealers have told me first hand after being arrested. All that being said, we must still provide opportunities for treatment for those who want it and more importantly educate our youth to hopefully prevent them from ever trying it.

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'm fine with the way things are presently done, being elected by the legislature.

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

I believe the size of the legislature is appropriate and no, I do not believe we need a pay raise.

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

If within the confines of the constitution one can be held accountable, I would support going through the process.

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

I'm a union member, however am not required to join or pay dues, it's optional. I believe thats the way it should be.

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

Possibly, depending upon the language of the legislation.

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

High energy costs and high taxes are the two biggest burdens on Maine businesses. We must do more to become competitive with other states in these two areas.

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?

As our state ages, many are retiring creating a massive void in skilled labor. I think our high schools and colleges need to focus on gearing students toward the trades. Far too many high school students are pressured into a four year program with very few employment opportunities upon graduation. More importantly a job that can pay off their student loans. Im very excited about the new instructional facility that York County Community College just opened in Sanford. Im also excited about the new facilities that will be available at the new high school to teach important trades. I think were getting onto the right track with those expansions.

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

One issue not covered here, has been an overall look at how we provide public safety services. I've worked in pubic safety in Maine for over 13 years, as a firefighter, advanced emergency medical technician and currently as a full time police officer. I think we need to assess how we provide these services. In much of Maine, especially northern and rural parts of the state, response times to emergencies are far too long. I think we need to look at staffing levels throughout the state, as well as further regionalization to better provide services.