ORLAND — Nathalie Arruda is seeking a place in the Maine State Legislature representing House District 131 (Orland, Dedham, Otis, Penobscot, Verona Island, Prospect and Stockton Springs), the campaign announced Tuesday.
The Orland resident is challenging incumbent state Rep. Karl Ward (R-Dedham), who is seeking a third term.
Arruda, a 35-year-old mother of three and member of the Hancock County Democratic Committee, says she is looking to improve life for regular Mainers through legislation that benefits working class citizens in her district and throughout Maine.
“While most of the rest of the country has been recovering from the 2007-09 Recession, Maine has experienced three additional periods of recession since then, and those have hit rural Maine especially hard,” she said. “Housing, healthcare, education, child care, elder care, transportation, home repair – all these can be huge challenges when the stagnant economy means our cost of living has increased much more quickly than our household income.”
Arruda says she supports the creation of new businesses and tax incentive programs that encourage growth in local industries, but for those businesses to succeed they need qualified workers and communities that are thriving.
“We need a community of people with homes and vehicles in good repair, access to nutritious food and affordable healthcare, adequate funding for education, support for children and families, strong civil rights, and upgrades to infrastructure such as roads and broadband internet,” she said.
Arruda said perhaps her most important motivation for running for office is to help families like hers thrive in the struggling economy.
“That’s such a big topic for me, from my perspective as a mom,” she said. “We’ve lost so many young people; young people who Maine needs to grow our communities. It can be so isolating as a young family with not enough resources, so it’s important to create pathways for families to stay in our area, especially since there are so few of us.”
But supporting families, particularly ones that are struggling, is about more than providing help financially.
“It’s about making sure there is access to jobs that pay a livable wage and have good benefits. It’s about making sure there is better access to broadband internet, particularly in rural areas. We need to move past the stigmas held towards low-income people, and put in real effort to get people working and thriving.”
Arruda says she’d like to see the Legislature make progress in public health, including universal healthcare, addiction treatment, and access to rural health clinics. She also lists funding for infrastructure improvements and sustainable energy initiatives, and helping a new generation of farmers in Maine as key points of interest for her campaign.
The Clean Elections candidate says she wants the young people and women of Maine to step into leadership roles in Augusta.
“It’s time for some young, fresh faces to work on behalf of our communities in the Legislature,” she said. “I receive no lobbyist or PAC money; this means I will work for the people in my District and in Maine. It would be an honor for me to represent not just my generation and the women of Maine, but also those of us who are struggling in this state and who feel like we haven’t been heard by our government.”