Credit: George Danby / BDN

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Chrystina Gastelum of Biddeford is a business owner and massage therapist. She’s a member of the city’s Conservation Commission.

I was stunned Friday evening watching the U.S. Senate debate. Until then, you’d almost not know that there were four folks running for the office. During the debate, Lisa Savage stood out as the most competent and honest candidate and because of that and many other qualities, she is the most qualified to represent the people of Maine in the U.S. Senate. The only problem is we have heard next to nothing about her in the news.

Savage answered the questions she was asked concisely and clearly. Her front-running opponents dodged questions and answered in calculated sound bites for use in their highly-produced, expensive campaigns. Maine people deserve to be represented by straightforward, honest people who are transparent about their motivations and their intentions. Savage has run a campaign devoid of the usual “dark money,” PACs and corporate donations.

Savage’s policy positions make practical sense for the people of Maine and the United States. She is for revitalizing our economy and cutting spending on endless wars by taking care of the folks at home and redistributing funding toward building energy-efficient infrastructure via the demilitarized Green New Deal, instead of continuing to support a bloated Pentagon budget. She pointed out the example of Bath Iron Works quickly pivoting their production to make COVID-19 testing supplies in the midst of a global pandemic. Imagine what they could do with more planning for solar or wind energy! She is for providing affordable health care to all Mainers. And, for the record, she is for funding the Veterans Administration and fully accounting for the actual cost of the military.

Mainers are independent thinkers with less influence from corporations than some of our neighbors. We enjoy the homegrown, locally produced products and services for which Maine is known. Why would we want to be represented by a candidate who is supported by outside interests? Savage is driven by her experience as a school teacher and as chief negotiator for her local bargaining unit of the Maine Education Association. She understands the needs of working people — most folks in Maine — and has the experience to represent us.

As independent thinkers, Mainers appreciate the opportunity to vote for the best candidate. We do not have to compromise and vote for the person we think will beat our least favorite candidate. Instead, with ranked-choice voting, we can vote for our actual first-choice candidate, even if they are not on a major party ticket, without fear of “throwing away” our vote or “spoiling” the election. Many Mainers will agree that Savage is a better choice than either of the front-runners, regardless of what their party affiliation is or has been.

If the newspapers and other news organizations around the state would include Savage‘s transparent and down-to-earth campaign in their coverage and in the polls, we would all be able to make a much more informed decision in the coming election. We, the readers, are counting on them to provide the most complete, accurate coverage possible.

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