Election 2012

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Elizabeth E. Dickerson

Party affiliation: D
Residence: Rockland
Races:

On the Issues

How do you propose the Legislature closes Maine’s budget gap?

While we need to look at our budget, I have been curious to note through this process the faulty data that seems to get submitted as part of the LePage administration. This administration seems to have a way of finding money when convenient. Or not finding it. I attended an educational seminar a year ago, in which the "skyrocketing cost of education" was presented. Interestingly, the spike started in the early 1970s, when special education became federal law. Should we not educate students who need special services? This fact of why the spike existed was not discussed. I believe that we need to assess, soberly, the programs we want to provide, assess the costs for providing them, and then decide to provide them. We don't invest enough in education. We are about to opt out of a health care expansion that could save the state money. We have high costs for corrections due to the state's drug problems, and yet the programs in place do not seem to be sufficient. Does it make sense to save money by cutting education and health care services, and then end up spending MORE because the problems later on down the road increase? We are watching our governor raid the tobacco settlement money that was intended for the Healthy Maine Partnerships, that benefited Maine children in Maine schools with the issues of healthy lunches, obesity...we may save that money now, but we will pay exponentially later. And, it does not help that we are giving tax cuts to upper income earners.

Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal in Maine?

Yes

Do you support school choice?

No

Do you think Maine's school consolidation program has been successful?

I am an educator in RSU 13. Our consolidation enabled us to combine two very small high schools, save 350 grand in administration costs, and provide programs for the children which were not affordable previously, such as computer science programs. There have been growing pains in our case, but it's been worth it.

Do you think Maine should expand MaineCare as proposed by the president under the Affordable Care Act?

Absolutely, Yes.

What is the biggest thing Maine can do to attract more jobs to the state?

Invest in our children's education and our senior's abilities.

Do you support lowering the state income tax? What state spending would you cut to make up for the loss of revenue?

No.

Are Maine's public assistance benefits too generous? How should they be changed?

I teach many low — income students. Rockland is 41% LMI, or Low to Moderate Income. We have many students who are struggling with shelter, food, clothing. I think that we should stop scapegoating those who are less fortunate.

What should the state do to lower energy costs?

I sponsored PACE in my city, a program through Efficiency Maine that helps people gain access to low interest capital to do energy retrofits and upgrades. We had the first PACE project in Maine, here in Rockland. The best case scenario is to weatherize and upgrade. So many people cannot afford to do so, and do not have access to traditional bank capital. Small micro loans like these really help. We need to invest in the technologies that we were talking about in 2008: solar, particularly, wind, but overall, we really need to just plain old learn to build efficiently and use less energy, to carpool, to ride our bikes, and to work to implement core city development instead of suburban sprawl and public transportation.

Should Maine place more restrictions on abortion?

No.

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