Election Guide for the Piscataquis County Maine House and Senate races

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On Tuesday, Nov. 6 Piscataquis County residents will be heading to the polls — please check with the town offices for specific times and locations — to vote in the Maine gubernatorial election, make a choice for the Maine’s 2nd Congressional District representative and decide five state ballot questions. Residents will also vote for their respective Maine Statehouse representative and who will serve in the Maine Senate District 4 seat.

Representing Abbot, Beaver Cove, Bowerbank, Greenville, Guilford, Monson, Parkman, Sangerville, Sebec, Shirley, Willimantic plus the unorganized territories of Blanchard Township, Northeast Piscataquis (including Barnard and Elliottsville Townships) and Northwest Piscataquis

Paul A. Stearns

Rep. Paul Stearns, R-Guilford

Age: 63.

Occupation: Stearns retired in October of 2013 after a 37-year career in public education. He taught and coached for 19 years in SAD 4 in the Guilford-area before becoming principal of Upper Kennebec Valley Jr./Sr. High School in Bingham in 1996. He then served as principal at SeDoMoCha Middle School Dover-Foxcroft from 1999-2003. He returned to SAD 4 to serve as superintendent of schools for 10 years.

Education: 1973, Hampden Academy; 1977, Bachelor of Science, HPER, University of Maine-Presque Isle; 1992, Master of Education, Education Administration, University of Maine; 1999 Certificate of Advanced Study, Educational Leadership, University of Maine; 2016 Distinguished Service Award – Maine School Superintendents Award.

Family: Stearns lives in Guilford with his wife of 42 years, Melissa, an elementary school teacher. They have two children and one grandchild. Their daughter Sara is living in Guilford and working at Piscataquis Community Elementary School. Their son Benjamin is a U.S. Border Patrol agent stationed in Rangeley. Ben and his wife Luisa have one child, Andrew.

Political experience: Stearns served as state representative in the 127th and 128th Maine Legislatures, he is currently House Lead on the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.

Community/volunteer experience: Northern Light Health Cooperator; Tri-County Technical Center Advisory Board; 128th Maine Legislature – Minority Leader – Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee; 2017 New England Commission on Education and Employability; 2016 Distinguished Service Award – Maine School Superintendents Award; 127th Maine Legislature – Education and Cultural Affairs Committee; 2015 School Leadership Task Force Member; NCSL Education Committee; Guilford Board Of Appeals; Piscataquis County Economic Development Council (Executive Board); NRA member; 2013 President – Maine School Superintendent’s Association; 2013 Commissioner of Education Award for Service; 2008 Outstanding Leadership Award – Maine School Superintendents Association; Past Chairman — Funding Committee — Maine School Superintendent’s Association; Past Member-Project Impact State Advisory Board; Lead Delegate–College Board Chinese Bridges Tour; Past President–Guilford Area Kiwanis.

Why are you running for office? There is still a great deal of work to be done in Augusta. It is extremely difficult work to get legislators from “the other Maine” to grasp the unique issues, challenges and solutions in northern/rural areas. having lived and worked here my entire adult life I have an understanding of the needs. While I have no taste for the divisive partisan rhetoric I very much enjoy the development of policies that free Mainers to succeed.

What is the most concerning issue facing Mainers at this time? I believe that the number one issue affecting, directly and indirectly, all Mainers is the lack of affordable healthcare. Without some sensible solutions to this complex issue it will continue to be a drag on the economy, on small businesses, on families, and on individuals.

Tyler Adkins

Tyler Adkins, I-Monson

Age: 33.

Occupation: Solar energy developer, former high school social studies teacher.
Education: Foxcroft Academy, St. Michael’s College (BA in Political Science; teaching licensure), Lund University (M.Sc. in Sustainability Science).

Family: Single.

Political experience: Supported various campaigns over the years, but this is my first time as a general election candidate.

Community/volunteer experience: Taught social studies at Foxcroft Academy, coached Monson youth basketball.

Why are you running for office? Piscataquis County has a lot to offer, but has been neglected by both parties for decades. The current leadership has failed in almost every way – healthcare costs continue to rise, roads are crumbling, schools are closing, property taxes increasing, and still no broadband connectivity for the vast majority. We desperately need change, with a new generation of leaders who understand the needs of the 21st century economy, have the energy to get things done, and are willing to take responsibility for getting results. I work in the private sector. If I didn’t get results, I would have been fired a long time ago. We should expect the same of our elected officials.

What is the most concerning issue facing Mainers at this time? The lack of universal broadband access throughout rural Maine is a roadblock that directly impacts every other challenge we face – declining population, rising healthcare costs, the skills gap in our workforce, attracting new businesses, the list goes on and on. Broadband connectivity is the essential infrastructure of the 21st century, just like rural electrification was during the Great Depression. With connectivity, we can leverage our low cost of living and superior quality of life to attract new businesses and families. Without it, we will continue to fall further and further behind.

Representing Atkinson, Brownville, Dover-Foxcroft, Medford, Milo and Lake View Plantation, plus the unorganized territory of Orneville Township

Norm Higgins

Rep. Norm Higgins, I-Dover-Foxcroft

Age: 73.

Occupation: Retired educator.

Education: University of Maine, BA and M. Ed.

Family: Married to Helen Higgins for 50 years, two children, and eight grandchildren.

Political experience: Elected to two terms as the state representative for House District 120. Served on the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, served on the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.

Community/volunteer experience: Foxcroft Academy Board of Trustees, Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church Board of Trustees, Thayer Parkway Board of Directors, Dover-Foxcroft Youth Hockey and Friends of FA Hockey, Dover-Foxcroft Board of Selectmen, and HAD 4 Board of Directors.

Why are you running for office? My campaign has been based on local experience matters. Being a resident of Piscataquis County for 50 years has given me the opportunity to know our communities. Engagement matters. Living and working every day in our communities gives me the opportunity to attend municipal, school, and civic functions. Independence matters. Being an Independent provides the opportunity to work with both parties to find the best answer to our issues. I believe the blend of local experience, active local engagement, and an independent voice provide the basis for getting things done.

What is the most concerning issue facing Mainers at this time? The inability of two political parties to work together is the most concerning issue. The partisan politics, nurtured by special interests, creates conflict, and competition. Collaboration is replaced with confrontation. The lack of communication eliminates cooperation and gridlock rules the day. We have important work to do on education, healthcare, workforce development, caring for seniors, and property tax relief. Minimal results will occur unless we learn to respect others and engage in productive dialog. As a leader of Independents in the Legislature I look forward to continuing our work to unite and build a more prosperous county and state.

Richard A. Evans, MD

Richard Evans, MD

Age: 71.

Occupation: General surgeon, solo private practice.

Education: Howard University, Washington, D.C., Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with a Minor in Chemistry: Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; Residency in General Surgery, Mercy Catholic Medical Center, Philadelphia and Cooper Medical Center, Camden New Jersey.
Family: Spouse Bonny Evans; children Tonya, Nathan and Dorey; seven granddaughters

Political experience: I have not held a publicly elected political office. I have however been actively involved in the political process, especially during the run-up to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I served on multiple panels across Maine in the education of our citizens regarding healthcare. On a regional and national basis, I served as President of the Maine Medical Association, advocating to the Maine Legislature on the behalf of patients, physicians, and for the public health of Maine citizens. As Maine’s Senior Delegate and Chair of the New England Delegation to the American Medical Association, this advocacy combined the regional interests of all New England residents, advocating and successfully implementing multiple national policies that affect the lives of all Americans.

Community/volunteer experience: Based on my experience, I have found that mentoring is the best way to introduce and encourage students on how to enhance, navigate, and pursue the many opportunities available to them in preparing for and advancing their career choices. These avenues are not always readily available or evident to them when they begin this process. I have taken a particular interest in the mentoring of medical students, many of whom have returned to Maine to practice.

Why are you running for office? Some of may recall the “Declaration of Conscience”, delivered on the floor of the U. S. Senate on June 1, 1950 by Maine’s own Margaret Chase Smith. The essence of her speech was that “standing for right is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.

As I have been going around the various towns in our county, I am dismayed by the calamities under which many of our citizens are living. I was raised in a family of five boys and one girl. My father, a truck driver only went to the eighth grade. My mother, our home-maker, only went to the ninth grade. We lived in one of the most poverty stricken and violent neighborhoods in Houston. I saw how my parents struggled from day to day, just to make ends meet. I know what it feels like to go to bed at night without a meal, or to go to school without a lunch. I know what it’s like to not have the proper school supplies or the latest fashion in clothing, most of which were “hand-me-downs.” Today, it seems that these same struggles are occurring far too often for far too many of Maine citizens, especially in our rural communities.

We cannot allow this cycle to continue. I do not believe that the status quo is addressing the needs of everyday people in our communities. If we continue to allow these wrongs to go unchallenged, it leaves the impression that those wrongs have the approval of the majority. The status quo demands that we make changes now, changes that directly address the needs of the people in rural Maine. We know what is right and what needs to be done. This is a historic time and It is up to us to demonstrate that we are committed to paving the pathway for a better life for our children and our grandchildren. We are facing a test of our moral character and must stand for what is right. We are one Maine, one people, with opportunity for all. This is why I am running for House District 120.

What is the most concerning issue facing Mainers at this time? I believe that there are actually two significant issues facing Maine today. The first is healthcare, not just access, but also cost. The second is education. These two factors are intertwined. It is imperative that Maine implements Medicaid Expansion. Health is the first wealth. The federal monies that accompany this expansion would have a very positive effect on Maine’s overall economy and job creation, not to mention the significant value of preventing the uninsured and under-insured from seeking needed healthcare or being forced into bankruptcy. Many Mainers are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet, and are still being left behind. The significance of our rural hospitals cannot be overstated. Mayo Regional Hospital is one of the largest employers in our area. 45 percent of patients who present to the emergency room qualify for Medicaid assistance. The hospital cannot sustain this amount of uncompensated care.

Education is the greatest value investment that Maine can make when it comes to determining the stability and economic future of Maine. It is the surest way to decrease the poverty level by promoting future careers that are so needed in our changing economic and work environments. Education drives our economy, improves the skills of workers, provides the necessary credentials for our young people to meet the needs required for new job sets, thus encouraging them to remain in Maine. If we are serious about the future of our state, we must realize that the advantages offered through education must be a top priority. Education is the key to establishing a better road forward for Maine.

Representing Abbot, Alton, Athens, Atkinson, Beaver Cove, Blanchard Township, Bowerbank, Bradford, Brighton Plantation, Brownville, Cambridge, Charleston, Detroit, Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Garland, Greenville, Guilford, Harmony, Hartland, Kingsbury Plantation, LaGrange, Lake View Plantation, Medford, Milo, Monson, Northeast Piscataquis, Northwest Piscataquis, Palmyra, Parkman, Ripley, St. Albans, Sangerville, Sebec, Shirley, Wellington and Willimantic

Paul Davis Sr.

Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville

Age: 71.

Occupation: Retired Maine State Police, property manager with wife Patty.

Education: Associate degree University of Maine

Family: Wife of 49 years, two grown children, four grandchildren and one great grandchilld.

Political experience: School board, selectman, legislator.

Community/volunteer experience: Member Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis Club. I do volunteer auctioneering, I raise thousands each year for charity. I am town moderator for several towns and school districts. I have never charged for these services.

Why are you running for office? To improve the quality of life for the citizens of Senate District 4.

What is the most concerning issue facing Mainers at this time? There are several but I believe the high cost of healthcare is a big concern for Mainers across the state.

Sue Mackey Andrews

Sue Mackey Andrews

Age: 69.

Occupation: Healthcare, Education and Early Childhood Consultant; small business owner and someone who has worked in both the public and private sectors; small business owner for more than 20 years.

Education: BS from UMass/Amherst, graduate studies in pediatrics and early childhood at UMass Medical Center/Worcester

Family: Married to Fred Andrews; we have raised two daughters here — both of whom attended and graduated from Dover-Foxcroft schools and have graduated from Maine colleges. I have lived in D-F for 40 years.

Political experience: SAD 68 School Board 4.5 years, ran previously for this Senate seat in 2009, 2010. Currently a child and senior advocate in Augusta — 10 years advocating for public health/public health nursing, substance use prevention and treatment, healthcare, education, healthcare, mental health/disability services, Medicaid expansion (pro bono).

Community/volunteer experience: Received the Pete Myrick Award in 2017 for community services to this region. Co-Chair, Helping Hands with Heart — a cross sector community collaborative working to improve the lives of all people who live in this rural region. SAD 68 School Board 4.5 years, ran previously for this Senate seat in 2009, 2010. Former member and president (two years) Piscataquis County Economic Development Council. Former board chair (two years), board member and current member of the FunDevelopment Committee of Pine Tree Hospice (15 years). Former advisor and champion for The Commons (aka Central Hall). Former Co-chair of the Womancare (now Partners for Peace) Capital Campaign Committee.

Why are you running for office? For too long, our region hasn’t had a voice in Augusta and it shows. Our region has declined substantially where so many rural Mainers struggle with food insecurity, lack of access to healthcare, and are challenged to find a job that pays a livable wage. I moved here to raise my girls about 40 years ago and living here has been a gift for us all. I will be a strong voice for this region, promoting healthcare, economic development, support for education, and will advocate for services that have been lost to rural Maine communities resulting in increased food insecurity, poverty, senior isolation and substance use disorder. Piscataquis county and surrounding rural towns are now the sickest, poorest and oldest in the state. We need to address these issues, together.

What is the most concerning issue facing Mainers at this time? At “the doors,” the majority of folks talk about healthcare issues — the lack of health insurance, the high cost coupled with the deductibles, and the repercussions of not having access to preventative health care. This is a universal issue. People who have healthcare worry about keeping it; many are working more than one job just to pay the premiums. People without healthcare desperately want it, and go without basic preventive care – often letting what started as minor health problems become serious medical issues. Poor health so often keeps Mainers from being able to work. Parents of uninsured adult children worry about “what will happen” to their son/daughter’s family if they are hurt on the job. As the costs of healthcare insurance escalate, employers are having to find ways to reduce their contributions for employee healthcare. While voters worry about our schools, getting a decent paying job, or property taxes – by far, they talk more about healthcare than anything else. We need to find comprehensive and cost-effective solutions that work for all Mainers.

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