Dave Miramant, D-Camden: My father was in the Air Force so we traveled throughout my childhood. My high school years were spent on the outskirts of Boston, where I became very politically active around the issues of civil rights and the Vietnam War.
I realized that politicians were not making good decisions and seemed to not be listening to the people they were supposed to represent. I committed myself to learn about the ways I could change that from the inside and set out to educate my self about the issues I would be expected to know if I was ever elected in the future.
During my career as an airline pilot for Delta Air Lines, I used my travels to talk to folks around the country and the world about what worked and what didn't. I also learned how to develop the best solutions by collaboration.
I started on the Camden Selectboard, Personnel Committee and Budget Committee then served in the House of Representatives for Camden/Rockport and eventually the Maine Senate for Knox County for the past two terms.
My wife Dee and I raised our children here in the Midcoast and Ash and Josh still comment on what a unique and wonderful place it was to grow up in. I want to make sure it stays that way for as long as people choose to raise their families here.
What are the three most pressing issues facing Maine today, and how would you like to see them resolved?
Fair taxation that meets the obligations of revenue sharing to the towns, along with fully funding the state aid to education at the 55% level that was established many years ago. This calls for comprehensive tax reform that allows our visitors to contribute to the services they expect while keeping Mainer’s property taxes in line with their ability to pay. Making sure incomes keep pace with the economy and bring the workers into the state to fill our job needs at every level. We can do this by providing assistance with education that has a residency requirement or else payback of the benefit. We can become more welcoming to immigrants who are grateful for the opportunity for a safe place to live, work and grow a family. And we can teach more of our own children about the chance they have to create opportunities by having a vision and the motivation to turn an idea into a reality.
Affordable health insurance and healthcare. This is a human right and should be available to all. By expanding Medicaid to everyone, we will be able to control the cost of administering the program while reducing the waste of every dollar that goes to obscene insurance and drug company profits.
Clean, renewable affordable energy. We have an obligation to future generations to reduce the pollution to our land, air and water. We have the technology for local solar generation and offshore wind that can set us free from the bonds of the oil and coal companies. Our own University has developed the technology to harness some of the greatest wind resources in the world while creating jobs that pay well and can’t be exported to other states or countries.
How will you protect the local (municipal) taxpayer as you help shape a state budget?
Meet the funding obligations of the state by fully funding education at 55% and municipal revenue sharing at 5%. Breaking these agreements has driven the cost of education and other state-mandated obligations onto the property taxes. These taxes hurt lower-income workers and those on fixed incomes disproportionally.
Scientists have reported that the Gulf of Maine is warming (Gulf of Maine experiences marine heat wave, scientists say and Senators Collins, King push for research into warming of Gulf of Maine) How will you work to ensure that Maine’s fisheries are vital and productive, and that the habitat and marine life are protected?
As a member of the Marine Resources Committee and the Coastal Caucus, I was briefed on rising seawater temperatures and sea levels and the tools available to accurately predict the effects. I will sponsor and support bills that require planning based on the projections so that we can avoid or mitigate the problems.
What are your positions on energy policies and use of renewable energy (solar, wind, tidal turbine)? Should the state of Maine encourage renewables with tax and policy development?
We need to support and incentivize the move to clean renewable energy. We have the technology to generate power locally with the sun, offshore windmills designed and built here in Maine to harness our unlimited wind resource, and new technologies in the works to efficiently generate power from tides and currents.
How do you want to see Maine laws governing the commercial growth and sale of marijuana to evolve?
Marijuana can be used as a health supplement and a potent medicine for a range of diseases, and used recreationally as a safer psychotropic. I see less need for tough laws. I consider our real challenge to be making sure the truth gets out regarding the research.
Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate running for District Attorney, Maine Senate and Legislature, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their position on issues important to the state. The candidates have responded with their individual written answers.
What issues are emerging from your conversations with the public as you go about your campaign, and what solutions do you envision?
Fair taxation and fully funding education. This calls for comprehensive tax reform that allows our visitors to contribute while keeping Mainer’s property taxes progressive.
Government that effectively responds to Mainers' needs. I support bills to foster job growth and wage increases, address the opioid crisis, and honor the voters' will.
Voters approved expansion of Medicaid. How do you want to see that implemented and funded?
Administering Medicaid is simple: hire more people and make sure they are getting the services to eligible Mainers. Funding will draw from the 90 percent of federal funding, as well as the money saved by folks seeking early, effective treatment, and uninsured folks not relying on the Emergency Room for care.
What is your position on the proposed 145-mile Central Maine Power transmission line that the company hopes to build from Quebec, through Beattie Township, and the expansion of 92 miles of existing corridor to Lewiston, and another 26.5 miles from Windsor to Wiscasset?
This is the most unnecessary and environmentally destructive project I have heard of in a long time. It is more of the same from CMP: high rates, bad service and a lack of consideration for anything except profits.
Two young Maine children were killed under horrific circumstances in 2017. How would you improve the caliber of DHHS, specifically child protective services?
We must protect the workers of critical agencies from administrations who try to save money by understaffing important positions. We passed several new laws to give workers more tools, and in the next session we will provide the appropriate staffing and protect it from future shortsightedness.
What committees would you like to serve on and why?
I would like to continue on the Transportation Committee, using what I've learned about managing our transportation needs. My other choices would be either Labor, Commerce and Economic Development, drawing on my experiences owning businesses and past union membership, or the Energy Utilities and Technology Committee to support clean energy.
Maine’s economy relies on small and micro-businesses. How will you help the entrepreneur succeed in this state?
Promoting our existing resources such as the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Finance Authority of Maine. I will also push for a state bank to keep any interest we pay on bonds in our state treasury, saving millions of dollars each year.
Does Maine have enough mental health care resources? If not, what needs to improve and how?
No, the prisons have become home to too many folks who need help not punishment. With a commitment to helping our neediest folks we can save money while bringing them back into society as they can handle it.
What is your vision for affordable health care?
Universal single payer. Everyone should be covered and costs should be controlled. For too long, the insurance and pharmaceutical companies have been bleeding us dry while denying restricting or denying coverage and making prescription drugs prohibitively expensive. This needs to end.
Maine has built up a fiscal surplus. How should it be used?
We should pay the state share of education at 55 percent, restore revenue sharing of 5 percent to the municipalities, provide incentives for renewable energy, establish a sustainable source of revenue for infrastructure maintenance, and fund the numerous bills that were approved but that the governor vetoed.
What are your positions on the following November ballot questions?
Number 1 is important for our aging population and we need to find a way to make it happen. The rest are necessary to maintain our infrastructure and protect our resources. It shows the need for a state bank to keep all the interest paid here in the state.
Question 1: “Do you want to create the Universal Home Care Program to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, regardless of income, funded by a new 3.8% tax on individuals and families with Maine wage and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes, which is $128,400 in 2018?"
Question 2: “Do you favor a $30,000,000 bond issue to improve water quality, support the planning and construction of wastewater treatment facilities and assist homeowners whose homes are served by substandard or malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems?”
Question 3: “Do you favor a $106,000,000 bond issue, including $101,000,000 for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities and equipment related to ports, piers, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and $5,000,000 for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?”
Question 4: “Do you favor a $49,000,000 bond issue to be matched by at least $49,000,000 in private and public funds to modernize and improve the facilities and infrastructure of Maine's public universities in order to expand workforce development capacity and to attract and retain students to strengthen Maine's economy and future workforce?”
Question 5: “Do you favor a $15,000,000 bond issue to improve educational programs by upgrading facilities at all 7 of Maine's community colleges in order to provide Maine people with access to high-skill, low-cost technical and career education?”
Please feel free to expand or add any thoughts here that we have not touched upon.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your State Senator for District 12 over the last yfourears. I hope you will allow me the chance to finish the work we started. There is much to be done, and with the changes coming to Augusta we will move Maine forward together.