On the issues: Senate District 13 Candidate Chloe Maxmin

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 8:45pm

    Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate running for Maine State Legislature, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their position on issues important to the state. Candidates responding with their individual written answers will have their responses stored in the Pilot’s 2020 Election Resource Guide. Chloe Maxmin, Democrat, seeks to represent Maine Senate District 13, which represents Alna, Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Edgecomb, Hibberts Gore, Jefferson, Louds Island, Monhegan Island, Newcastle, Nobleboro, Somerville, South Bristol, Southport, Waldoboro, Washington, Westport Island, Whitefield, Windsor and Wiscasset. 

    1. Please provide a concise biography of yourself.

    My name is Chloe Maxmin. I grew up on my family's farm in Nobleboro and am running as a Democrat and Clean Elections candidate to represent Maine Senate District 13, challenging Dana Dow. For as long as I can remember, I have cared so deeply about our community and knew that I would devote my life to our shared home. I went to Lincoln Academy for high school and Harvard for college. The day after I graduated, I moved back to build my life in Maine.

    I have worked with people across Maine, New England, and the country for fifteen years to call on our political system to fight for us and with us. We struggle every day with rising healthcare costs, declining school funding, property taxes, student debt, a changing climate, and more. We need our politicians to stand up for us.

    My love for our community and the lack of courage in Augusta inspired me to run for office in 2018. Since then, it has been my honor to represent House District 88 (Chelsea, Whitefield, Jefferson, and half of Nobleboro).

    I’ve been proud to sponsor legislation that came directly from my constituents — from workforce development around green energy to rural transportation access and more. My promise in 2018 was to represent, to be accessible, to be honest, and to be in the community instead of getting stuck in Augusta. That has been my charge.

    I have not voted party-line in Augusta. I do my own research on bills to make the best decision for my community.

    Now, I'm running for State Senate. The work of politics is about electing good people who will listen to us, represent us, and listen to the will of the people. But it’s also more than that. It’s about what we can do together, what we can build in our community, the conversations that we have with respect, the ways that we can unite over what we have in common rather than what separates us.

    2. What are the three most pressing issues facing Maine, as a state, today, and how would you like to see them resolved?

    1) Resilience: This is at the heart of our campaign. It means strength in District 13 to protect our past, feel safe in the present, and stay strong in the future. Resilience is about withstanding any challenge while holding on to all that makes our community special. Resilience is more than a thought — it needs to be baked into our public policy. We need resilient energy systems that ensure that Mainers don’t sit in the dark for days after the storms that are only getting stronger and stronger. We need resilience in local agriculture, supporting farms across the region that take care of the land, feed our communities, and make sure no one goes hungry. Small businesses are also the core of a resilient community, building a local economy that can sustain itself. We also need proactive policy to ensure a resilient coastal economy that supports our fishermen and our fisheries for years to come. Lastly, it's about a strong education system that can support our children and teachers without crippling property taxes.

    2) Broadband: Everyone in District 13 needs access to broadband. As COVID-19 has shown us, connection to the Internet is essential to access emergency resources. We also know that education — for young folks and adults — is more accessible when broadband is available. It is also how we ensure that residents can move to our community to build their business and their life.

    3) Transportation: Access to some mode of transportation is the great equalizer in rural communities. It is vital that we have those systems in place. It is how rural communities access food, jobs, healthcare, family, and all that we rely on to survive and thrive. Maine DOT released its Maine Strategic Transit Plan, which concluded that transportation access is far below demand. In Lincoln County, only 12% of need is met; Knox County is only 7%; Kennebec has 15% of need met. In the 2016 Shared Community Health Needs Assessment for Lincoln County, transportation is one of the biggest health factors leading to poor health outcomes in our community. Transportation access is an essential need for our community.

    3. How will you protect the local (municipal) taxpayer as you help shape a state budget?

    This is one of the biggest issues on my mind when we go back to Augusta: to ensure that the budget shortfall from COVID does not increase our property taxes. Our tax structure in Maine puts so much of the burden on individuals and municipalities to fund our state, and this structure worries me when we are facing some of the toughest times. I vow to stand up for my community, our ability to live here and thrive here, and advocate for solutions that create a more equitable state. I will protect us as we navigate the next years of the state budget. 

    4. Given the shortfall of housing in your district, how should the state approach the need for more workforce housing, as well as re-entry housing for the formerly incarcerated, and emergency shelter for those suffering through extended power outages?

    This is definitely an issue in our District. I have heard story after story of local folks getting priced out of the communities that they grew up in because of changing demographics and cultures. I want to fight for the Maine that we all know and love, to keep our culture the way it should be. This means working towards a vision where everyone in our community has access to housing. 

    We know that this is even more important now that we are living through a systemic crisis that is testing the limits. When there is crisis — whether it’s a pandemic or a storm — we need shelters. We need homeless shelters. We need shelters for folks seeking safety from domestic abuse. These services are very limited in our District.

    I support re-entry housing for the formerly incarcerated to ensure a sustainable pathway to recovery. 

    I also envision workforce housing that supporters workers and businesses coming to our state.

    I see District 13 as a potential hub for these three needs. With our working waterfronts, farms, proximity to larger industrial centers, and rural nature, we are the perfect place to ensure affordable rents, affordable housing centers, re-entry housing, and emergency housing. It is in the rural places that we need these safety nets as well as the opportunity to build out our local economies in a way that keeps our people and our money right here. 

    5. What legislative committees would you like to serve on and why?

    When I was first elected as a State Representative in 2018, my Committee preferences were based on the needs of our community. I was placed on the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee. It has been an honor to serve. This Committee intersects with so much of our lives here in District 13, and I would like to serve on it again.  

    6. Maine’s economy relies on small and micro-businesses. How will you help the entrepreneur succeed in this state, especially given the pandemic?

    One of the big themes of our campaign is resilience. This is because the pandemic has shown that we are not built to sustain the hard times that are here and will continue to be in our lives. From COVID to climate change to rising sea levels — this is our opportunity to build ourselves up in a stronger way. Supporting small businesses is a huge part of this. It is how we keep our economies local, vibrant, and — most importantly — sustainable. We have seen how federal loans have failed to give us the relief that we need. We have seen how state programs have lacked the transparency to deliver relief — to owners and employees. 

    One of the principles of my governance is: listen to those who are impacted. We often listen to those who hold power. But I wanted to listen to those who are in the thick of it. As we rebuild, we need to listen to our small business owners and employees. They need to be in the process as we build our path forward. 

    7. What is your vision for affordable health care?

    One of the biggest reasons why I am in office and running for State Senate is because those that we elect have stopped listening to us — answering phones, emails, etc. — and therefore stopped representing us. For example, every single person that I talk to, from every Party, wants affordable health care. Why doesn’t our government reflect that need? 

    Accessible and affordable health care for rural Mainers is more important now than ever as COVID-19 surrounds us. It must be a human right. Part of this is ensuring that our rural health centers have the funding that they need to keep their doors open and service the community. Healthcare access also includes resources for the devastating opioid epidemic in our community and support for mental health. These are parts of our community’s health that touch all our lives but often receive the fewest resources. That must change.

    8. Does the State of Maine need to improve its public health system?

    Yes, it does. Even with our existing health system, we suffer from high deductibles. And many of us still can’t access the services that we need. Whether it’s a ride to the pharmacy to pick up our medications or mental health resources, our healthcare system is narrow and does not provide for our full needs. What’s more, health care access is still a challenge in rural places. If we do not have a car, we can’t get what we need. And often the resources in rural Maine cannot meet our medical needs. 

    9. What are the greatest strengths in your district, and how do you hope to support them?

    District 13 is diverse. We have ocean, lakes, rivers, ponds, streams. From waterfronts to the woods to fields — we work in and with our environment every day. We are rural, and we believe in our rural values: working hard, respecting each other, and showing up when times get tough. We are independent and caring. We are rooted in a strong culture of the past, and we know that we want to preserve it for generations to come. We believe in our ability to care for ourselves and our neighbors — from supporting small businesses and local farms to the strong network of food pantries and neighborhood services that keep us going. 

    10. What are the greatest problems to address in your district, and how do you intend to address them?

    Again, the challenge of resiliency is our greatest problem. So much of our District’s economy is intertwined with our natural resources. As our climate changes, so do our lives here. The drought this summer has hit farmers hard. Warming oceans threaten our coastal economy. The examples are endless. The vibrancy of our economy is intertwined with the health of our environment. 

    Access is also a problem here. Access to transportation, broadband, healthcare, food, school funding--rural communities experience the idea of “access” in a different way. We need basic resources to ensure that our lives feel safe and so that we can earn what we need for ourselves and our families. 

    11. What is your position on law enforcement reform in the State of Maine?

    Much of the conversation around law enforcement recently has come out of the Black Lives Matter protests. There is a deep history of racism in this country, a history that is still with us today. Black Lives Matter does not value certain lives over others. It calls on us to hear the pain and experience of the Black community in America today.

    Our law enforcement in District 13 does more than enforce the law. They are part of how we support each other, take care of our seniors, understand the complex needs of our community. There are conversions to be had around law enforcement, just like there are conversations to be had around any issue or agency. Todd Brackett, the Lincoln County Sheriff, endorses our campaign because we understand these complexities. I support our local law enforcement as we navigate these challenging times.  

    12. What are your thoughts about the state’s response to the pandemic?

    I keep saying: we need to stay safe to stay open. I am grateful that the Mills administration has followed a science-based approach to keep Mainers safe and open our economy. This is what we need to get through the winter--for our health and our economy.

    As a Legislator, I have been very disappointed with the lack of transparency around the state’s response, how businesses and individuals can access the services that they need, and how the unemployment system has functioned. I know many people who could not (and cannot) get what they need. I also hear stories of fraud within the system that takes away from hard working Mainers.

    I am also outraged that Republicans refused to answer the Poll that would have allowed us to go back into Session. We were elected to process bills, fight for our communities, and serve. We cannot do this now because of Republican intransigence. 

    13. Do you support construction of the 145-mile Central Maine Power transmission line from Quebec to Massachusetts?

    I do not support the CMP corridor. 

    14. Free space! Is there anything else you want voters to know about you or your vision not addressed through this questionnaire?

    The deep crises that we face in Maine stem from a political system that has lost touch with its people because we keep electing individuals who are not transparent, responsive, or accountable. The theme that I hear most in my conversations with you is that we deserve to feel represented. This is our big work together.

    We are building a new kind of politics that is rooted in community and values, not partisanship. We know that real representation starts with the people of Maine. Our work is about respect, listening, inclusivity, and fighting for each other. This is important now more than ever as we recover from COVID-19. What kind of world will we build?

    We’re committed to a 100% positive campaign. We believe in a politics that can bring us together, not tear us apart. We will build it together, and what we build will last far beyond Election Day.

    There are so many issues facing our community, and I am here to talk with you about anything that you’re thinking about or is impacting your life. I will be honest and open about my views on the many challenges and opportunities in our community.

    Please call or write anytime: 

    Cell: 207-200-6224

    Email: ChloeForSenate@Gmail.com

    Facebook: @ChloeForSenate