Republican Jeff Martin is running against incumbent Democratic State Senator Joe Brannigan for the District 9 seat in the Maine Senate. Martin, who resides in Portland with his wife, Kirsten, and their two children, owns Foreside Real Estate Management. His political experience includes a stint on the Maine Legislative Action Committee for the Condo Association Institute (CAI). You can see if Martin will be on your ballot on Tuesday, November 2 here.
What are your top three legislative priorities for the upcoming session?
Jobs and the economy, fiscal spending, and welfare reform.
How do you plan to implement each of these three goals?
It takes principled leadership to change the culture in any organization. I will stand by my principles that government should work for the people and not the other way around.
Which three state programs do you think should be maintained or expanded?
I think Envision Maine’s report Reinventing Maine Government is a great first step to where legislators should first look to reorganize Maine’s government. It highlighted a billion dollars worth of savings in Maine government.
Which three state programs do you think should be cut or eliminated?
Cite at least one example in which you cooperated with a member (or members) of another political party.
I successfully worked with former Democratic State Senator Michael Brennan in a stakeholders' group on developing a five-year vision for Portland schools. Our work produced 4 of the 5 adopted vision statements.
What are your thoughts concerning the state budget?
It is fiscally unsustainable. We can't continue to start the year with a $1 billion shortfall and expect that government can work properly. We need adults in Augusta that are not afraid to make the tough decisions so that we can keep the promises--like funding teachers and state pension obligations--that government has made.
What are your thoughts concerning the Clean Elections law in Maine?
This is my second time I have run as a "clean" candidate. Honestly, I think the term "clean" is a little disingenuous of a term as it has only shifted the "dirty" money voters who supported this law to want to reduce or eliminate it. I think "Maine Taxpayer Election Fund" is a much more transparent term.
What is your opponent's greatest strength?
I don’t know if it is his greatest strength, but my opponent has dedicated a lifetime of service to the community. His service is something I respect and admire, and I am honored to be his opponent.
What are your thoughts concerning the state's education (K-12, as well as higher education) policies?
We are close to the top in the nation on spending but our results don’t reflect that investment. Not enough of the money we spend on education is getting to the teachers and the classroom. That needs to be addressed. We also need to make higher education affordable. I support an optional fifth year of high school to give students an option to receive an associates degree or the first two years of a bachelors degree through the public education system.
What are your thoughts concerning same-sex marriage?
As a Senator, I will support same-sex marriage.
Cite at least one example in which you've differed with your political party.
I think the answer above is a good example.
What are your thoughts concerning the state's taxation system?
I think we desperately need tax reform. However, the last package was a jobs killer and was rightly defeated by Maine voters. The reality is that when an investor decides what states to invest in a couple percentage points in taxes can make or break the deal. And that results in lost jobs and lower overall tax revenue. I believe that we need fair reform that reduces the burden on the middle and lower class and stimulates investment in jobs.
What are your thoughts concerning term limits for legislators?
I have mixed feelings on this. While term limits didn't push any of the long-time fixtures in the hallways of Augusta toward retirement, I do believe that service in the legislature should be treated as a short-term public service and not a career.
What is your opponent's greatest shortcoming?
I think my opponent can best answer that question.
What are your thoughts concerning the state's transportation policies?
Transportation issues are part of the jobs and economy equation as we need a solid, reliable transportation infrastructure to get our goods to market quickly and cheaply. Transportation projects that show the highest potential to grow and support a local economy will get my support first.
What are your thoughts concerning the state's public assistance programs?
I think everyone agrees that a strong safety net is needed to help those that have fallen on difficult economic times. However, temporary public assistance should not turn into a long-term way of life. The current system undermines hard work and traps families in poverty. I support reforming the system to place emphasis on supporting a path to self-reliance and away from dependency.
- John C.L. Morgan
Related: Ann Peoples on the Issues (October 20, 2010)