Over the last few months I have been knocking on doors, attending community forums and listening to my neighbors. I believe this is something all candidates for public office should be doing if they want to give voters of their districts the ability to meet the candidates they are asked to support.
While I’ve done a lot of this for the last 24 years as a member of our community, it has taken on special meaning to me this year as a candidate for state representative for House District 18 (East Bangor, Veazie and part of Orono).
Like many Mainers, I’ve had a couple of careers. After graduating from the University of Maine’s School of Social Work, I worked in our community to find solutions to problems faced by those who often had no voice: adults with mental disabilities and youth at risk of substance abuse. I also worked as a child protective caseworker. Then, as a small business owner, I worked with hundreds of businesses across Maine to find solutions that allowed them to compete in the global market place.
I guess you could say that I’m a problem-solver. Throughout my career, my job has been to assess situations for individuals and businesses, then develop strategies for success.
I’m running to be a state representative because I believe I have both the public and private sector experience required to work on effective solutions to the big issues we face in Maine — energy, health care, economic development and taxes.
Small businesses are the heart of Maine, providing the largest percentage of jobs in our economy. For 12 years, I ran a business, created jobs, balanced budgets and sought new market opportunities. I understand that Maine must develop and support the economic conditions that allow businesses to grow, expand and create good paying jobs with benefits.
I know the cost of adding a job to the local economy. For years, we watched health insurance premiums increase sometimes 50 percent in a single year. Combined with increasing taxes, it makes for a challenging climate for entrepreneurs trying to turn their ideas into jobs for Maine families. I want to put my experience to work for you in Augusta to advocate for policies that will help create jobs here in Penobscot County.
Our national and regional economies are facing tremendous strain. When I started my Web marketing business in 1995, few people could predict just how much we would come to rely on the World Wide Web in our daily lives. My business partner and I saw the opportunity to help local businesses and nonprofit organizations use cutting edge technologies to reach new clients.
We need representatives in Augusta who will not just dream of a better economy in eastern Maine, but who have the ability to take action and get things done.
The current energy crisis is a prime example. While the crisis originated with policies in Washington, solutions can be found right here in Maine. Throughout this campaign, I have been advocating that we need a smart, comprehensive and sustainable plan that secures Maine’s energy future. We have abundant natural, renewable resources right here in our state that, if used properly, can create not only energy security for our future, but also fuel the growth of the Green Economy.
Maine government should be focused on developing and growing a vibrant Green Economy — renewable energy generation, research and development of new technologies, expanding the work force in the area of energy conservation and sustainable construction. But in order to do this, we must also get a handle on taxes and the explosive cost of health care.
As my opponent Tom Mooney has stated on these pages, “Send Experienced Community Leader to Augusta” (BDN, Sept. 29), we need to elect a candidate with a proven track record of helping the people who need it most and improving Maine’s economy. I would add that we also need representation that will help build bridges for success.
I believe I am that candidate and I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 4.
Jim Martin is the Democratic candidate for House District 18, which includes East Bangor, Veazie and part of Orono.