State House District 41 Candidates

District includes Orland and Verona Island, plus four Waldo County towns.

Meredith Ares

Age: 67

Residence: Searsport

Party: Democrat

Present Employment: Retired (20 years in insurance industry, 10 years as assistant to president/CEO of midsized manufacturing company)

Highest Level of Education Completed: Degree in business administration from Raritan Valley Community College in Bridgewater, N.J.

Previous Elected Public Office(s) Held: None

Why Are You Running for Office?

I am running for the Maine House because Augusta has gotten away from putting Maine people first. This economy demands new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent. That starts with establishing common-sense priorities.

The 125th Legislature made cuts to education and cut essential services to our poor, elderly and disabled neighbors. They rolled back consumer protections, cut retirement benefits for Maine state workers and enacted a huge tax cut that mostly benefits the wealthiest Mainers and large corporations. They voted to let health insurance companies raise their rates at will and then transfer the cost of caring for the sickest Mainers onto the taxpayers. That tells us a lot about the priorities of this Republican-dominated Legislature.

My priority is people. House representatives are elected by the people to work for the best interests of the people. Improved education, better access to health care and adequate essential services for those in need serve the best interests of the people. Relieving the tax burden on small businesses so they can create jobs serves the best interest of people. A tax code that requires everyone to pay their fair share would be in the best interest of the people.

It is not necessary for us to spend more money to provide funding for common-sense priorities. We must simply spend the money we have more wisely and more efficiently. This requires conscientious legislators in Augusta who think and lead, not politicians who just blindly follow their party line. We need to elect people who will work together and listen to each other with open minds. I am that kind of person.

No matter what party we align ourselves with we are all Americans and Mainers first. That means we have shared values. We all want government that works, programs that achieve good results and that give taxpayers good value for their money. These shared values provide a platform for working together across party lines. I will seek out sincere and dedicated representatives from both parties and engage our shared values to put Augusta’s house in order and bring jobs and prosperity to our towns.

James S. Gillway

Age: 48

Residence: Searsport

Party: Republican

Present Employment: Town manager, Searsport

Highest Level of Education Completed: Graduate of University of Maine

Previous Elected Public Office(s) Held: State representative (two years)

Why Are You Running for Office?

I am James S. Gillway and I am the State House representative for District 41. I represent the towns of Orland, Verona Island, Frankfort, Prospect, Stockton Springs and Searsport.

I live in Searsport and have been a resident here for over 24 years. My wife of 25 years, Bobbie Jo, and I have raised three adult sons here. All of our sons live in this district. My great-grandparents owned a farm in Winterport and my grandparents ran a sawmill next door to them. My father was a ship’s engineer who returned to Winterport after retiring. I am proud of my hard-working Maine heritage.

After graduating from the University of Maine in 1985, I went to work full time for the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department as a patrol deputy. Two years later, I decided to settle down in Searsport. I spent 18 years working for the Searsport Police Department with the last 15 years as chief of police. My next job didn’t take me far away; I was hired as Searsport’s town manager, a post I currently hold. Altogether I have been employed by the town of Searsport for over 25 years.

On two different occasions the town granted me leave to help the U.S. State Department with international police missions in Kosovo and Iraq. These missions gave me intense hands-on understanding of many very different government systems.

In 2010, I was elected to represent District 41. I believe my experience and understanding of local budgeting and history of conservative local spending gave voters confidence in my ability to reign in spending in Augusta.

I have been a champion of home rule in the legislature. With my understanding of local budgeting, I discovered that many of the decisions in Augusta simply shifted tax burdens from the state to local property taxes. I fought hard to get my fellow legislators to be aware of this and in the last session many measures were put in place protecting towns and cities.

The state of Maine needs to get its economy growing again. We need to get people back to work. This is the most important issue facing us. A healthy work force helps support communities and the services they provide.

One of the first initiatives the last legislature undertook is a series of meetings to see how to cut the red tape that strangles our system and discourages job creation. We also reformed several existing systems such as workers compensation and insurance regulation to help foster a better climate for job creation. We also invested heavily in education. We must stop exporting our most valuable resource, our children.

I am blessed to be here in the state of Maine and honored to be serving this state and my local community in the capacities that I do. I pledge to work hard to represent my district and to do everything possible to pull Maine out of hardship, help create jobs, educate our youth and put our neighbors back to work.

For more political news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Fenceviewer Staff

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