River L. Payne

River L. Payne

River L. Payne

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 16 from Hollis

Running against Donald G. Marean. View your ballot →

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

I serve as the General Assistance administrator for my Town, and find that our residents genuinely need help. Rather than cutting services, we need to look at ways to better equip our citizens for a successful life through solid education, and encouraging healthier lifestyles for everyone.

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

Sales tax is a regressive tax. This means that it hurts poorer people more. I have read that one percent of Maine residents hold 60% of the State's wealth. Why would we implement policies that further this inequality?

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

One of the strongest arguments I hear is that alcohol is a far more dangerous chemical than marijuana, yet alcohol is legal. It seems possible that Maine could learn from the successes and failures of other state's recent legalization policies, and implement a successful legalization program. Colorado is already building public schools and helping college students with the revenue. I feel that legalization is inevitable. I can't help but wonder If we wait too long, the federal government will implement its version of the program for us.

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)

My understanding is that this initiative will affect less than 2% of our citizens, and provide much needed funds to education. It is unfortunate that our Legislatures were unable to carry out the will of the voters, and properly fund education. I think the initiative needs to be clearer that the surcharge only applies to the taxable income above $200K.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required)

My understanding is that around 1500 guns have been traced to Maine because they were used in a crime. This means that we sell a lot of guns to individuals who can't get guns in nearby states because they can't get past the background check. Recently Ive heard some confusion regarding this initiative: please remember that partners, parents, children or siblings (blood or adopted), grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, first cousins, in-laws, step parents or siblings, half siblings are all exempt from a background check. This initiative is just trying to close a loophole so were no longer the go-to state for bad guys in other states.

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

Yes

Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

Maine has not raised its minimum wage in decades, and inequality has only increased. Most individuals I meet that are against the minimum wage, are not the same individuals who work for minimum wage. As someone who has worked for minimum wage, I would agree - it is time for a raise.

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)

For me, this is the most exciting initiative on the ballot. Maine could become the most democratic state in the country if it passes. I implore everyone to vote Yes on 5!

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?

It seems we tend to focus on the end of the story when it comes to addiction, not the beginning. The beginning is raising children who feel safe, whole, and valued. This requires parents who feel safe, whole, and valued. In some ways, this is outside of the scope of government. In other ways, it is within the scope of government by respecting our citizens through adequate and honest healthcare, fair wages and labor laws, fair taxation, and providing a solid education for our children so that they are less likely to be influenced by fear, and more likely to make good decisions.

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 have not given this issue enough thought to answer.

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

I think that our Legislative process requires more thought and research. I would support longer Session time, and pay that reflects that.

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

Yes. Democracy is dependent upon respect for others.

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

No. It is proven that those states have lower wages, and more dangerous working conditions. And that is what happens when you give up collective bargaining.

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

No, I feel this issue should be completely voter-driven.

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

There are many things we can do. One is to reward and recruit technology companies that understand the magnitude of keeping their employees highly trained. Technology changes so rapidly, that committing to stay at the edge would place Maine on the global map. Also, investing in our physical infrastructure (roads, ports, telecommunications) is an obvious - but partial -answer. Im not sure how our State reaches out to Research & Development companies; but with Maines beauty, its hardworking workforce and extensive land, it seems that this is another important avenue I support exploring.

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?

The first idea that comes to mind is to provide financial incentives for college graduates to stay by offering help with student loans in exchange for a time commitment. In this way, more educated youth will grow roots here. This could also be used to recruit out-of-state graduates.

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

Obesity and obesity-related health issues continue to rise in Maine. This negatively affects the individual, the family, school/work, and a healthcare system that is already strained. I do not feel enough is being done to address this issue.