Rachel Lyn Rumson

Rachel Lyn Rumson

Rachel Lyn Rumson

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 67 from Gray

Running against Susan M. Austin. View your ballot →

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

Some would say yes and some would say no, some are fed up with the lack of intelligent analysis and debate out it. Some are reinforcing stigma for political gain. Is there waste in our social safety net? Yes, there might be. Is there abuse of benefits? Maybe there is. Is it easy to get off benefits when wages are low and temporary? Yes it is; It is a bad business decision in fact to work for less then your cost of working. Are the failings of people in need their own fault? No, the number of people in poverty in the state, and in the nation is not due to personal troubles. It is systemic poverty. It is unchecked inequality. Is the process of being on benefits too easy? No it is a nightmare.

I see both sides of the issue and we have to find the third side which I believe is innovation. We are in the era of big data and we need to use it to engage people in their local economies. We can put the fly wheel on economic production using innovative participatory means to establish a thriving and regenerative local economy. It is time to make space for the wisdom of people on the margins to influence this conversation.

With that, I will say I support elder care including the meals on wheels program. I support education that is relevant to direct engagement with the economy including TANF. I believe in hunger relief or all ages and I strongly support these programs being woven more tightly with the local food economy.

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

Do Mainers have a high tax burden here? Yes, they do. Is lowering state income tax going to make a huge difference in our economy? I think not because there is a high debt burden for working people in this state as well. They may buy something but what they buy has most likely already been produced. This is a political hot button.

Studies show that people will pay taxes happily, not matter how they are levied, if they get the services they want from their government. Let's try getting that right. Let's pool that money to invest in the common good. Will we have to define common good? Yes. Yes we will.

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


Please explain your answer. (Not required)

If we are going to build an apparatus for legalization I would prefer that it be less cumbersome for small scale growers, organic farmers and medicinal researchers. I have not looked too far into this but I am concerned about industrial scale pot farmers pouring into the state and capturing prime agricultural assets because they are already huge and can manage the new regulatory environment.

Also, I respect the opinion of voters that fear the pot culture will have a negative influence on their children. We are New England after all. For that cultural and child welfare concern, I would like to see the industry emerge with a liberal amount of modesty and discretion.

Further people are serving time for cannabis charges, while some who pass as law abiding types are going to get in on this at the ground level. That is not just. On the other hand we have cannabis cartels that benefit and lobby for keeping it illegal, so they can have the market share. Everyday people are caught in this.

If the Maine people vote for it, and I am elected to serve, I will do what it takes to work on the details of the legislation. I am not patient with those that think cannabis is as bad a heroin and they need to be corrected. The stigma on cannabis users has been used to suppress the political left since the 60's. It is time to correct those propaganda-threaded assumptions.

Do you support raising taxes on Mainers with incomes above $200,000 to increase state aid to education, as outlined in Question 2?


Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Is this a perfect solution to funding education? No, it is not. There is however, as I understand it this plan will get Maine's education system off of the property tax funding scheme. Changing how we fund public education in this state would be a game changer in my view. It will soften tensions at the municipal level between the land owner class and the working poor and allow for smarter economic development.

Should their be more earners in this bracket to offset the burden? Yes there should. That is why we need to institute a producer economy and temper both consumerism and waste.

Will this repel these earners from moving here? It might but they also might buy a second home and keep their address in another state anyway.

Can we accept the challenge to restore the middle class and reduce the tax burden on these people? We should, in my view. If we do, we have to ensure with legislation that the people who pay into this pool early are rewarded later, when we increase the middle class with real progressive changes.

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


Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Candidate did not answer this question.

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


Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

With provisions for farm, childcare and eldercare businesses to afford it.

Do you support the initiative to use ranked-choice voting to elect state and federal officials in Maine, as outlined in Question 5?


Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I did until I realized how confusing it was. There might be a better way.

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 get the fight. Law enforcement professionals are frustrated that we have reduced the charges for possession, causing them to lose the leverage they had to find the traffickers. That is a fact. Users are choosing an overnight in jail over ratting someone out. More money is not going to restore that leverage. Prioritizing, if that is code for money for police in general, is not the answer.

Medical and social work professionals are frustrated because the people they work with that are using drugs, can recover with treatment that includes medication. That is also a fact.

So is it fair to pit one technical fix over the other? No, it is not. Is a techincal fix going to make a difference? No, it won't because the issue as systemic one. politics over the technical fixes is a distraction from it. Addiction, poverty and trauma underlying all of it and we have to be willing to see that.

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?

The legislature makes the most sense to me because there is so much money in politics turns general elections commercial. At least there is a record of the vote on a person elected in the capitol.

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

No need to pay more. Until the mean income increases across the state, we really should not raise it 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?

Yes social sanctions are in order when people of privilege use abusive speech to an individual or group of people. Bullying is not to be encouraged in schools or in politics.

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

No. I reject all linguistically-manipulated legislation written by the American-Council of Legislators, straight up.

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

It depends. We have a casino economy on Wall Street, a state lottery and we have racks of gambling cards in every community. People have access enough to gambling. I am more interested in innovative models of gaming and wealth creation for communities and less interested in applying a the blanket-pro-business-bias to casino development.

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

Globalization is the biggest barrier. It is more like a flow than an impediment. Wealth is extracted in this state. The economy is a pool of money, bucket of liquid money can't hold water when it is full of holes! Some investors are in the business of socializing debt (and pollution) and privatizing profit we need to sort these from the impact investors.

A close second is predatory capital. The Great Northern Paper deal comes to mind. Cate Street Capital who will be taking Maine's tax dollars for years to come in spite of providing zero value to the state. It is amazing what a blow an organized bunch of investors, tax experts and lawyers can land on a people. It is outrageous.

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?

Well, we have also look at climate change. We are not only going to have immigration we are going to have migration. After hurricane Katrina, we had homegrown refugees. When sea-levels rise we will have more of that. We need to plan for the influx accordingly, with measure to protect and regenerate ur forest and agricultural lands.

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

Fossil fuel energy descent is not addressed here. We have a diversity of energy materials in the current scheme of things but it is skewed to fossil fuels. We need to diversify add renewable without protecting fossil fuel interests from the risk they bare. We have to innovate the thermal technologies used in our buildings and we need to stop developing to an out modded standards in design and construction.