Michael A. Sylvester

Michael A. Sylvester

Michael A. Sylvester

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 39 from Portland

Running against Peter I. Doyle. View your ballot →

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

Maine has always tried to strike a balance between stolid thriftiness and neighborly compassion. Government has a moral duty to provide services for those it governs. While there are many services that I could mention, ensuring good public health services and affordable housing are at the top of the list of services that I would increase.

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

I support raising the income tax to lower property taxes. Municipalities relying on property taxes are a regressive tax which exacerbates housing issues. I would also support a local option tax for the same reason.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Question 1 is not perfect but I believe that legalized marijuana should become a source of revenue for the state and cease to be a drain on the criminal justice system.

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)

Maine has never fulfilled its promise to fully fund schools. The time has come to support our children and balance the tax cuts that have recently been given to this tax bracket in the name of austerity.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

It is just common sense. Background checks do nothing to stop those who should possess guns and may stop some of those who should not.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

All the studies show that this money is spent locally and helps businesses and communities. Any other talking points against an increased minimum wage are a ruse. The rise of the tipped minimum wage will be historic in helping Maine families to pay the bills.

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 was one of the proponents of the first ranked choice voting bills over a decade ago. Ranked choice voting helps ensure a level of civility and honesty that is sadly missing lately.

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, it should not. Even law enforcement prefers treatment options.

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?

Yes.

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

Yes and no.

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?

No. I would never support it.

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

Yes

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

Technology and the fear of technology. The infrastructure of Maine is outdated and serious investment needs to be made to create high paying jobs in Maine. Yet certain people denegrate these investments for their political gain. They prefer sound bites to data bytes.

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 support immigration as well as active investment in our universities and colleges.

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

Affordable Housing. In Portland, In Bangor, in Lewiston and Augusta, people need affordable, safe places to live where they work.