Senate 6 candidates talk economy, lobster and the world’s largest flagpole

ELLWORTH – Republican Senator Marianne Moore and Democratic challenger Jonathan Goble, the two candidates running for the Senate District 6 seat in the Nov. 8 election, answered questions Oct. 12 at a League of Women Voters of Maine forum. The forum was moderated by Ellsworth American Managing Editor Cyndi Wood.

District 6 includes Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Franklin, Gouldsboro, Great Pond, Hancock, Mariaville, Osborn, Sorrento, Sullivan, Waltham, Winter Harbor, portions of the Unorganized Territory, and all of Washington County.

Moore, the incumbent, is in her second term and currently serves as Senate chair on the Health and Human Services Committee. She is challenged by Goble, a Vietnam veteran who is currently a member of the White House Rural Stakeholders Group and state director of the Democratic Council on Veterans and Military Families.

Goble and Moore focused on various approaches to sustaining and enhancing the district’s local economy as well as the state economy, but agreed that small businesses, as the backbone of everything, must be supported.

Goble said that jobs and career prospects in the district are daunting and that the Legislature needs to invest in infrastructure to create more and better jobs.

“We don’t have much in the way of big industry, it’s more of a small business space, and it’s the small businesses that provide the jobs,” Goble said. “Our income levels are low, the odds are slim, and there are things lawmakers can do to address these issues. In turn, to encourage business development and build infrastructure from roads to broadband, both will employ people, but they will provide the foundation our economy needs to be a 21st century economy.”

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Moore said the biggest economic problems in the district are the threat to the lobster industry and the rising cost of living.

“Right now, I think the most pressing issue is definitely supporting our lobster fishing families,” Moore said. “Their livelihoods are currently in jeopardy, although they have worked continuously to meet all demands placed on them. As a state senator, I have continuously campaigned for them at federal and state level.”

On the rising cost of living, Moore said she would oppose policies that would further increase costs.

“I’m also quite concerned about the rising cost of living with the high inflation rate we’re seeing,” Moore said. “I would have to carefully consider the proposed policy changes. If they raise the cost for our hard-working Mainers, I’ll be against it.”

Regarding health care, the candidates agreed that accessibility in rural areas is an issue that needs to be addressed.

“As the Republican head of the Health and Human Services Committee, I always have access to quality health care on my mind,” Moore said. “I will continue to advocate for programs that encourage health professionals to practice in rural Maine.”

Moore also spoke about the importance of accessing mental health care, especially for young people, in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

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“Access to mental health services has become increasingly necessary as a result of the pandemic,” Moore said. “Our young people have lost so much in this time. Thankfully, telemedicine is now more readily available and I was pleased to support legislation making it a covered service, but I will continue to work to ensure mental health services are provided, particularly in our rural areas.”

Goble agreed with Moore, saying that while the cost of health care is a concern for many Mainers, the services are often unavailable to them even when they can afford it, especially specialty care.

“We see a lot of talk about availability of insurance and whatnot, and that’s true, but it’s only half the story in rural Maine where services just aren’t all available,” Goble said. “Washington County, including some parts of eastern Hancock County, lacks specialty care. It is imperative that we find a way to encourage physicians and other specialists to locate in Downeast Maine.”

He said the issue of availability was especially true for mental health professionals.

On abortion, both candidates opposed amending Maine law to further restrict access to abortion care.

The candidates also agreed on federal regulations for lobsters aimed at protecting endangered right whales. Both said the science doesn’t support the regulations and that they would cause unnecessary harm to the lobster industry.

“Maine, as a state, must commit to using the best scientific knowledge on how both lobster fishermen and right whales can live,” Goble said. “It should be possible to find that path, but it certainly won’t be possible by relying on outdated views.”

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“We haven’t seen a right whale entanglement here, yet it’s Maine’s lobster fishermen who are supposed to shoulder the burden of protecting the whales that move further offshore,” Goble said.

The candidates were also asked if the proposed Flagpole of Freedom Park, which if built will feature the world’s tallest flagpole, would be a good thing for Washington County.

“Do I think the project is great? It looks fabulous, it looks amazing, the whole idea of ​​it,” Moore said. “Will it fly in Washington County? I’m not sure, it’s really a big project, it’s going to take quite a bit of money to make it happen and it’s all going to be private funding.”

In response, Goble recalled the “world’s largest pig” attraction at the North Carolina State Fair.

“I’m very nervous about the plan,” Goble said. “How often do people visit the world’s biggest pig or the world’s tallest flagpole?”

Reporter Malachy Flynn provides updates on the Schoodic beat, which includes the cities of Eastbrook, Franklin, Hancock, Sorrento, Sullivan, Trenton, Waltham and Winter Harbor. He also reports on the town of Tremont on Mount Desert Island. He is happy to receive tips and suggestions for stories in the area. To contact Malachy with tips or questions, email him at [email protected].

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