2016-06-09 / News

Primary 2016

Incumbent state Sen, Susan Deschambault is being challenged by Joanne Twomey for the Democratic nomination for Senate District 32, which covers Alfred, Arundel, Biddeford, Dayton, Kennebunkport and Lyman. Both candidates are Biddeford residents. The surveys appear in alphabetical order by last name.

Name: Susan Deschambault

Age: Left blank

Occupation: Retired social worker, State of Maine Department of Corrections

Family: Son, Dominic

Education completed: BA Sociology St. Francis College/UNE Biddeford

Organizations and activities: (including past political experience):

Two-term Biddeford

City Councilor, current chairman, Biddeford

Planning Board, School

Policy Committee member,

Past MSEA office holder and director, MSEA SEIU Appointed member of Paser 1989 Member Retiree. Biddeford Police Commission; member of Maine Criminal Justice Commission for 17 years, current PeoplesChoice

Credit Union Board director.

Top three issues:

1.Education: Supporting education for all Maine children is one of the most important things we can do as legislators. Students regardless of where they live or their family’s income level, deserve a quality education. I am proud that the Legislature secured $15 million in new state funding for local schools, which will help our towns balance budgets without cuts in the classroom. Without these funds, many towns would have been looking at painful tax hikes that many just can’t afford. I fully support the Stand Up for Students citizen’s initiative that aims to increase funding for education and specifically states that the money must be used to fund public schools. It also requires the funds be used for direct classroom instruction and other critical public school personnel. This initiative would bring us to the 55 percent requirement for state funding for public schools, which was passed by the voters in 2004.

2. Addressing the opioid epidemic. We are currently facing a statewide crisis in the opioid epidemic. The Legislature took action to address the crisis by investing in treatment and recovery along with the hiring of more law enforcement officers to stop the flow of this illegal drug trafficking. However, more work is needed to focus on our youth and the effect addiction has had on the structure of the family when a member is in the troughs of addiction. Stemming the tide of addiction requires a multi-pronged plan

to include education, prevention, treatment and recovery. This is a complex but treatable illness, but in our discussions on the state level we must also recognize the co-occurring disorders that also need resources. We funded the creation of three new peer support recovery centers in underserved regions of the state. We still have a way to go in this ongoing crisis, but we took several steps in the right direction for fighting this epidemic. I am committed to seek innovated and proven methods of addressing this issue to effectively respond to our communities.

3. Economic development and job creation, Ensuring economic growth and the creation of new jobs is imperative for the State of Maine and for the future of our communities. We need to invest in training programs to prepare our young people for the careers that are currently available and we need to ensure a stable environment for business growth and development. We’ve seen great things happening in Biddeford as we repurpose our mill buildings and attract a new diverse group of entrepreneurs, we need to continue to develop and support these kinds of efforts throughout the state.

Why are you seeking elected office?

Too often, people go to Augusta and forget their roots. My roots are here in Biddeford. From my family’s laundry and dry cleaners on Prospect Street to my father’s many

businesses on Main Street, to my involvement in our local government, I love this community. My family has been a part of this beautiful community for more than 100 years, so I know first hand the struggles, dreams and passions of the people from this amazing community. As your senator, I will never forget that. People are struggling to make ends meet, and fewer and fewer people are fighting for everyday Mainers. The cost to keep a roof over your head, food on the table and gas in the car continues to go up and average Americans are struggling to keep their heads above water. I am recently retired after 43 years working in an adult coed state prison as a social worker and I knew it was time I stepped up to represent the people in Augusta. As a lifelong resident of this area I am motivated to work hard to be responsive and productive for all the people in my district. I am well versed in the workings of government. My education, work experience, years of community service and experience collaborating with various local and state agencies and organizations has prepared me well. I will use all of these tools and relationships to represent the people of District 32.

How would you address the growing problem of opiate addiction in the state?

As I have mentioned above we are currently facing a statewide crisis in the opioid epidemic. The Legislature took action to address the crisis by investing in treatment and recovery along with the hiring of more law enforcement officers to stop the flow of this illegal drug trafficking. However more work is needed to focus on our youth and the effect addiction has had on the structure of the family when a member is in the troughs of addiction Stemming the tide of addiction requires a multipronged plan to included education, prevention, treatment and recovery. This is a complex but treatable illness but in our discussions on the state level we must also recognize the co-occurring disorders that also need resources. We funded the creation of three new peer support recovery centers in underserved regions of the state. We still have a way to go in this ongoing crisis, but we took several steps in the right direction for fighting this epidemic. I am committed to seek innovative and proven methods of addressing this issue to effectively respond to our communities.

What do you consider your greatest political achievement?

My greatest political achievement has been not just in holding a single office, but in the approach, consideration, professionalism and dedication I have given to all the elected and appointed positions I have served in. I sought and served on the Biddeford City Council for two terms and every vote I made was researched, deliberate and cast for the greater good of the city and its citizens. The same can be said for the work I did on drafting school policies, serving on the police commission, as a member of the York County Budget Committee and as a member and current chairman of the planning board. On my first day as a state senator I voted to strengthen recruitment and retention for law enforcement, direct care workers and mental health providers, as well as increased grants for Maine college students and new funding for county jails that will help keep property taxes in check — all while putting tens of millions of dollars into the state’s savings account for a rainy day. I cast 140 votes during the end of the second regular session of the 127th Maine Legislature — 100 percent of the votes recorded — after I was elected to the Senate in early April. I made sure I was ready for every vote. I believe in our communities and our state. There are many exciting developments happening and I want to make sure we continue to move forward. The people deserve a senator who will listen to them, represent their interests, and get the job done. And, I will work with those who share the same vision to build a better Maine. The people elected me to represent them. It is an honor to be your senator.

Name: Joanne T. Twomey

Age: 70

Occupation: retired

Family: Married high school sweetheart, John, for 33 years, widow. Two sons and four grandsons.

Education completed: Thornton Academy graduate, many adult courses, and completed a course in substitute teaching.

Organizations and activities, including past political experience: City councilor for six years, state representative for eight years, mayor for four years. Vice president, equipment manager of Pee Wee Football League, president of Stop Incineration Now, volunteer at Kennedy School for the Right to Read program.

Top three issues:

Minimum wage, health care and jobs.

We need to increase the minimum wage. Unlike my opponent, I will be supporting the people’s referendum of $12 an hour. It is not a living wage but it needs to start addressing the cost of living. I want to help Troy Jackson, who will be the leader in the Senate, to ensure it is implemented.

The governor’s refusal to take any more Medicaid money is deadly. Robert Fennell, 90 years old, could hardly walk and was begging not to cut health care because he could not afford his wife’s care. Seniors should not be begging for basic needs in the richest country in the world.

Jobs, good paying jobs are needed, and the cost of electricity is something we have to address, Climate change is real and our drinking water and clean air are crucial, the recent lead scare and people rising up to stop flouride in our water is also something we need to address.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am seeking office because the governor’s policies are hurting people and hurting Maine. I have the experience needed and have the courage of my convictions. I also do not believe in coronations; five people got to choose who would be on the ballot. Not all the towns represented in this district got to vote; Arundel, Lyman and Kennebunkport did not have a vote in this process. It is important that every town be represented. I plan to introduce legislation to address this issue if representatives do not finish their term. Having served on the Natural Resource Committee and having had a 100 percent environmental record gives a strong voice to keeping our air and water clean. My 18 years of public service fighting for economic and social justice speaks for it self. Having been given an award for my work on single payer health care by the Maine People’s Alliance also shows my commitment to ensuring health care should be a right not a privilege. My voice for the working people has not been silent as I also had a 100 percent labor record. It is time to send someone who will fight for

working people and not vote to circumvent the people’s referendum on raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour. The district has different issues and I want to be a voice and a vote for then all.

How would you address the growing problem of opiate addiction in the state?

The opiate addiction needs to have a summit with all professionals involved, including doctors who need to have a big part in this discussion. We need to treat addiction as a health issue and why it is so easy for people to get pain medication.

What has been your greatest political achievement?

My greatest accomplishment was two-fold: the high school renovation to make sure our students did not lose accreditation; and not going ahead with the scam of Maine Energy, taking public money to retrofit the facility. Walking away was the downfall of this facility.

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