2016-10-20 / News

Election 2016

Three vie for Saco House seat

Donna Bailey Donna Bailey Printed below are the responses to our candidate survey form from candidates for State House District 14, which covers the eastern part of Saco. The race is between Donna Bailey, a Democrat, Jeff Christenbury, a Republican, and Jacob Johnston, an Independent. The winner will replace Barry Hobbins, a Democrat. The Courier prints responses within each race in alphabetical order by the last name of the candidate.

Name: Donna Bailey
Age: 55
Address: 7 Scrimshaw Lane
Occupation: Attorney for almost 30 years, practicing
in the areas of probate, real estate and family law,
including serving as court rostered guardian ad litem
for approximately 15 years and genealogist, owner of
Skeleton Key Genealogy.
Family: Married, two children, two grandchildren,
three dogs.
Education: Berlin (NH) High School class of 1979
Bates College – 1983, B.A. with honors in European

Jeff Christenbury Jeff Christenbury history; University of
Maine School of Law
– 1986, J.D.; Boston
University – 2013,
certificate in genealogical
research; University of
Southern Maine – 2013,
certificate in mediation
Organizations and
Activities: Former
governor’s appointee to
the Maine Commission
on Domestic and Sexual
Abuse; former member
of Maine Guardian ad

litem Task Force; former co-chairman
of Saco Zoning Board of Appeals; Former York County
probate court judge; former member of Saco Planning
Board; Maine State Bar Association; York County Bar
Association; and New England Historical Society.

Jacob Johnston Jacob Johnston Top three issues:
1. Combating the opioid epidemic with a combination of
law enforcement, prevention and treatment.
2. Attract and keep good paying jobs so our young
people can live and work in Maine – by supporting our
schools, our community colleges and our university
system to match skills with jobs.
3. Property tax relief for low income seniors on a fixed
income. This will be my number one priority if elected,

to introduce property tax deferment for seniors – a bill
allowing the state to pay all or a portion of the property
taxes for seniors unable to afford their property taxes.
(Modeled on the MaineCare Nursing Home payment
system) so that seniors can remain in their homes.

Why are you seeking elected office?
I am running to help people and serve my community.
I would like to take the knowledge and skills I have
acquired as a lawyer and former judge and use them in
Augusta to help my community and give voice to those
who often go unheard in Augusta.

If I could change one thing about Saco, what
would it be and how would you do it?
See above – we need to do more to allow our senior
citizens to age and remain in their homes, and not allow
property taxes to force them, and other long-time families
of the community, to be forced to move because of the
property tax burden. Saco’s strength comes from its
diversity of families who have lived and worked here for
generations, to people who have recently moved here for
the great community we have, and all those in between.
We need to ensure that diversity is preserved going

Name: Jeff Christenbury
Age: 31
Address: 20 Cleveland St.
Occupation: Teacher at Thornton Academy
Family: Single
Education: BS Boston University (broadcast
journalism), St. Joe’s (working on MSED in educational
Organizations and activities (including past
political experience): Former Saco city councilor,
former Saco mayoral candidate, former chairman
of Citizens for Saco Education, the political action
committee that pushed for withdrawal from the Regional
School Unit.

Top three issues:
1. State funding: We need to study how to balance our

needs vs. our wants. Maine
is an incredibly generous
state when it comes to social
services, so much so we are
a magnet for people from
other parts of the region to
come, take advantage of our
services and not necessarily
contribute to our society.
How can we balance our
generosity with the need to
lower taxes and not stifle
economic growth?
2. Education: The RSU

law has been a disaster in
many communities. I would like to re-examine how to
effectively consolidate costs without forcing communities
to do so. Also, state funding of education should be
looked at, specifically, the capital expenditure funds the
state gives to local communities. The state gives tens
of millions to communities to build new schools and

perhaps that funding could be better spent in other areas
of education to improve our educational standing in the
3. Maine’s identity: Some of the referendum questions
on this year’s ballot may fundamentally change some
things about Maine. We are becoming a short-sighted
state, one that is about to raise the minimum wage
and legalize another addictive, intoxicating substance.
Maine has become a guinea pig for new social policies
and much of the money and influence has come from out
of the state. I want to make sure we think of the longterm effects of these new policies before voting positively
simply to be the first state to do so and show how
progressive we are.

Why are you seeking elected office?
I stepped up to fill a vacant slot over the summer and
am running so people have as many choices in their
elected leaders. I’ve served in the public realm before
and know the attributes of an effective elected official:
wisdom, patience and flexibility. People shouldn’t want
a rubber stamp for a particular political party in their
elected leaders. I hope to use this election season to bring
up certain issues for discussion to move Maine forward.

If you could change one thing about Saco, what
would it be and how would you do it?
It may sound small, but Saco needs to become
more of a destination in the cultural scene. Our
neighboring community Biddeford has greatly
expanded their restaurant scene. Other communities
like Kennebunkport, Wells and Ogunquit have become
must-visits for foodies from around the state and region.
Saco has a great downtown structure and the riverfront
to utilize, and I wish Saco could embrace new ideas to
expand our identity as a cultural destination.

Name: Jacob Johnston
Age: 35
Address: 62 Pleasant St.
Occupation: Business Owner
Education: BA in Communication at University of
Southern Maine

Top three issues:
1. Increasing revenue sharing to get more money into
our schools and out of Augusta.
2. Increasing technical and skilled-based training and

certification for all ages of the
3. Changing the State of Maine
Property Tax assessment formula
policies to keep life-long residents in
Saco from being pushed out.

Why are you seeking elected
I am running for office because
I have a belief that we are all in
this together as citizens of Maine,
that Saco is changing, and that
we must shape this change, or
we will be shaped by it. I believe
in the common good. Saco must

maintain and continue to be a place where community
continues to exist. Saco faces many challenges. Property
taxes are high and have begun to push out many

life-long residents. College debt has prevented many
young professionals in our community from qualifying
for home loans and has pushed them into renting,
with this increase in demand causing rents in Saco to
almost double in the last five years. In this new and
changing economy, workers need constant retraining
and technical enhancement of skills. These are just
some of the challenges that face us and I plan to address
these challenges if I am elected. Finally, party politics
is broken in this state. I see a future in Augusta where
elected officials are not defined by their party, but are
just concerned citizens working for the concerns and
needs of their districts. We have seen, on the left and the
right, what happens when we polarize and play personal
politics and get away from the actual work of legislating
for our citizens.

If you could change one thing about Saco, what
would it be and how would you do it?
This is a community that has so much – great beauty,
great schools, great people. I see as one of the biggest
challenges in this community is the divide between
the haves and the have-nots. There are so many hard
working people in our community that work multiple
jobs and can barely scrape by. They are so consumed
with the daily grind of figuring out how to make ends
meet, they never have a chance to figure out how to
get by. Many of them see education as their way out.
However, far too often, they start down that path just
to have life cause them to detour off of it and leave
them with college debt and no degree. I see the way to
resolve this with introducing trade programs that can
provide certifications in six-month programs which are
partnered with local businesses, whether the industry is
automotive, electrical, software engineering, mechanical
design, or pharmaceutical (such as businesses like
IDEXX), only these partnerships can truly place degree
with need effectively in our community. This is the future
of education.

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