Steve Woods position statements (May 15, 2014)

1. Summarize your views about using bonding to fund capital improvement and what areas are most in need.

Bonding is one arrow in the economic development quiver, but it must be targeted to hit the mark. Are we aiming for jobs, long-term infrastructure? Then the answer is probably yes. Operating costs for programs that are in the red? No way.

2. Have you a position on the national park proposal for northern Maine?

In favor. Economic diversity is needed in all areas of our state. A public park would create dozens of jobs, increase property values near the park boundary and diversify an economy shattered by job losses in the paper industry … without undue impact on ownership of the land or on the paper industry’s ability to harvest. Maine’s opportunities for open space, recreation and first-class ecotourism are sought-after the world over. This would boost — not degrade — the long tradition of private property rights in interior Maine.

3.  Have you given thought about funding the University of Maine System?

UMS is a critical engine of ingenuity and intellect in our state. It needs to be fully funded, not cut, but its administration needs to be scaled back so that the benefits of public funding flow through to students, especially those in job-producing fields of study such as STEM and IT.

4.  Do you support expansion and state subsidy for wind energy generation in western mountains of Maine?

Most sources of energy are subsidized, and Maine can be a leader in this and other forms of new energy technology, including tidal and offshore wind. Wind energy can also be a source of development in rural areas where there are now few opportunities. That said, people in rural areas throughout Maine should have a say in siting ridgetop wind development.

5.  Should the Maine Department of Environmental Protection be required to develop a comprehensive climate change adaptability strategy?

Yes. Especially on the islands, the costs associated with climate change are too great for Maine to ignore, from sea level rise decimating taxable waterfront value to warmer oceans destroying our prized fisheries. We should also prod the federal government for grants to study and act on what is essentially a national security issue.

6.  Do you support renewed effort to expand Maine Care for all ACA eligible citizens?

Yes. Without reservation. As someone who has implemented health care for nearly 100 Maine employees and been a part of 1 million health screenings for blue chip companies worldwide, I know the benefits to people and the cost savings to business associated with extending health care to citizens.

7. Would you support a California style “top Two” open primary system in Maine?

Unsure. I like choice and participation, so the more candidates who qualify, the more robust the debate.

8. Do you support the state’s aiding the creation of a private east-west highway in northern Maine.

No, this is an unwise giveaway of public resources to a private company without a clear stated benefit to the public.

9.  How can property tax relief be best accomplished in Maine?

By right-sizing tax collections with expenditures, stopping the excessive underwriting of underperforming communities and creating economic density zones where capital, knowledge and technology can be best leveraged to create economic development.

 

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