Richard T. Bradstreet

Richard T. Bradstreet

Richard T. Bradstreet

Republican candidate for Maine House District 80 from Vassalboro

Running against Lori Fowle. View your ballot →

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

Overall, yes, and that's what many people I have visited have told me. We should look to limit benefits for younger, able-bodied people, especially in light of the fact that many employers are unable to find workers in Maine. Our goal should be to strengthen the state's fiscal position so that there will be adequate funding for the elderly and disabled when they are in situations where the help is really needed. If we fail to prioritize how our limited resources are spent, there will not be enough to help those who are the most in need. As I understand it, there are people who are elderly or severely mentally or physically disabled who are currently on wait lists for services. It will make it even harder to shorten that list if our limited resources go to individuals who are considerably less needy than they.

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

No I do not. The question presupposes that we have to do one or the other, and I'm not convinced that's the case. What we should do is look to spend tax dollars more efficiently and more effectively while we take additional steps to grow our economy and allow business people to create more and better paying jobs. Increasing the tax burdens of Mainers who are trying to make this a better place for themselves, their families, and their communities is by its very nature an impediment to their being able to do so.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

The state should not place itself in the position of essentially encouraging the practice of consuming more mind altering substances. The supposed economic benefit will be more than offset by the attendant and downstream prices we will have to pay. This is not a good proposal for a state that should be looking to improve our real quality of life. We have enough of a challenge with the opioid crisis as it is without encouraging more drug use.

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)

It's a proposal that may seem good on its surface, but the consequences of it will prove detrimental. Economics essentially boils down to choices that individuals make. Those who make the kind of income that this proposal will affect are typically the same people we want to remain in Maine. We want to encourage these people to stay in Maine - not discourage them. Those who make higher incomes have more choices as to where they will reside, they are usually better educated with job skills that are in high demand, and they are better able to spend more of the income that they make. This proposal will place Maine at the 2nd highest tax rate in the nation at this income level, and many affected people will choose to move or simply not settle here in the first place if this is approved. When that happens, they will take not only the over $200,000 incomes with them, but also the under $200,00 that they now pay taxes on, so Maine will then get zero. Not only that, but they won't be here to buy items on which they would pay sales taxes and local businesses would also be hurt by fewer sales. Furthermore, their absences would be missed on local and state boards and non-profits on which they serve, and they won't be around to donate to local needs as so many of them now do. Many older Mainers with higher incomes already spend much of the year in warmer climates but still choose to remain Maine residents. This proposal would cause many to change their residency status and spend a few more weeks down south where there is a much friendlier tax climate. So then, all of their taxable income would be exported. This is a short-sighted proposal and ignores the economic dynamics that exist in the real world.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Candidate did not answer this question.

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

No

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

Candidate did not answer this question.

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?

We need to do both. Illegal drug traffickers need to be interdicted at the highest rate possible. Realizing that addictions can develop in a number of ways and that different situations call for different measures, I believe that all of us need to join forces to deal with it, treatment needs to be a high priority, and we need to act quickly since there are more casualties every day. Partisanship really needs to be put aside as we aggressively confront this issue. There is no magic button to push that will solve the crisis, but we can make big strides towards helping people affected by addiction if we put our heads together and utilize all the resources we have.

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 don't currently have a strong opinion either way. I'm willing to keep it as it is for now unless I can see for myself that the method of Legislative selection is being abused and we do not have professional individuals being chosen to fill the positions.

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

I believe it could be smaller and be just as representative of the people. The pay is OK - we don't want people relying on legislative pay for too much of their livelihood. They should remain dependent on their other income so they won't forget what it's like in the real world.

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

This is too broad a question, but overall I believe that the best sanction remains at the ballot box. I know this is all about the Governor, but there have been statements by others over the years as well that many would deem prejudicial, and they have gone unnoticed. This in no way should be construed as condoning what was said. Absolutely not. We should be careful, however, that we don't head down the slippery slope of creating an environment where every disagreement is deemed as offensive or prejudicial. This would serve to stifle our Constitutionally protected right to free speech, and is something that I believe has recently been employed in many instances throughout our country to prevent the free exchange of ideas, much to the detriment of our status as a nation where dissent is a time honored right.

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

Yes

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?

We are not able to do much about some barriers, so we need to be aware of what we can do. We need to realize that the government cannot originate jobs, but it can work to create as inviting an economic climate as it can. Economic development is not created by businesses, but by the people who own and operate those businesses, and they need to be assured that their efforts to create and expand economic opportunities are not faced with undue impediments that a legislative body can impose. They need a consistency of laws and regulations and be confident that the rug will not be pulled out from under them somewhere down the road before they make the capital and human investments that will be required. What the Legislature can do is assure the job creators that they will be treated fairly, that their efforts are appreciated, and that they will not be treated as a political football by legislators who have no idea what it takes to create and sustain a successful business. The most important thing is not so much specific proposals or legislation, the need for which can change over time, but the knowledge that the Legislature is receptive to working with people who wish to create a vibrant business climate in Maine.

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?

For one thing, see some of the above answers. A vibrant economy with good paying jobs is the first thing that will help keep younger people in Maine. We should be receptive to those who wish to immigrate here, so long as they do it legally and are willing to join with us in the efforts to make Maine a better place for all. We need to place technical and vocational education higher on the priority list so that younger people will have more career options available to them. Many of the trades do not have enough people to fill the job openings currently existing, and there can be attractive opportunities there to become well paid employees and eventually start their own businesses. We need to reduce our tax burden so that all people will be able to keep more of what they earn, recognizing that other states are making themselves look as attractive as they can to young people. We need to constantly upgrade our technological capabilities so that we're at least on par with the rest of the world. We can create initiatives where individuals preparing to graduate from some of our leading colleges are encouraged by Maine employers to join their organizations where there is opportunity to grow professionally while still living in a wonderful state. These and other ideas should be designed in the form of incentives rather than mandates which serve only to get in the way of new ideas and job creation.

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

Candidate did not answer this question.