2014 maine elections
Voters Guide
2014 maine elections
Voters Guide
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Alice E Knapp, Independent Green

http://voteknapp.com

Office Sought: Senator - District 23

Age: 54

Occupation: attorney

Education:

Graduated from Arlington Sr. High in Lagrangeville, NY 1977

B.A. in political studies from Bard College in 1982

J.D. from the U of ME School of Law in 1988

Family:

Divorced, no children. good friends with ex!

Hometown: Richmond

Why are you running for office? I have long been passionately interested in & committed to justice, critical thinking, & delving into issues of politics & society. I came to ME in 1985 to attend law school & fell in love with the state, its natural beauty, its wonderful people, & the fact that here more than most places, there remains a strong tradition of grass roots democracy & a real opportunity to develop community given our largely small town make-up. My professional & volunteer activities have always reflected my passions, & I have learned so much about ME her people & politics in my near 30 years here. I have served in local gov't, worked in gov't policy & senior management positions & have now run my own small business (small town solo law practice), for the past 12 years. I have long been fed up with how politics is practiced by the major parties & their allied special interest groups on the left & right, & believe that, led by our politicians, we have devolved into the politics of narrow, selfish, self-interest, which is not what Maine people are about, nor does this serve us well as a guiding political principal. There is enormous potential within ME people to create healthy, vibrant, prosperous communities, but our legislators & policymakers seem stuck within the confines of narrow, partisan, ideologically driven paradigms on every issue of consequence, & fail to look critically at what does & doesn't work or to acknowledge the legitimate issues brought to the table by all sides

Poltical Experience:

Elected to student government my senior year of high school - 1976-77; elected to the executive committee of the student forum at Bard College in 1980; elected to the Richmond Board of Selectmen 6/98, served a 3 year term until 6/01, then got reelected to finish out someone else's term 11/01-6/05, voted Board Chair in my final year of service. Non-elective political experience includes serving on the Richmond Planning Board 1991-1998, as co-chair 1995-1998. During that period I became the president of "No New Corridors, Richmond," a group working in concert with other similarly affected communities to try to get the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline routed onto existing utilities corridors. I was co-chair of the Sagadahoc Green Party through a good bit of the 1990s until I decided to run for selectman and focus on community building. I am a past president of the Richmond Area Health Center Advisory Board, past Board member of Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, I am a founding and current Board member of Maine AllCare (see our website), I served as a public member of the Sagadahoc County Budget Advisory Committee 2005-2008, and I successfully advocated for and drafted LD 1620, which in amended form was enacted 1/1/2012 as PL Chapter 588, Maine's first in the nation state law prohibiting aggregate benefit caps in health insurance plans. While an insurance regulator with the Bureau of Insurance, I marshalled ME's first "major substantive" rule through enactment

The federal health care law has offered to pay states to expand their Medicaid programs to provide health coverage to low income Mainers. Do you support Medicaid (or MaineCare) expansion?Yes

While I am unenthusiastic about the Affordable Care Act insofar as it retains and helps fund our existing wildly expensive and grossly unfair healthcare system, I don't begrudge anyone who has benefited from the law's selective generosity. LePage is not wrong that we can't afford to keep expanding MaineCare, as we have faced cost explosions and budget overruns with most if not all previous expansions while consistently leaving some 10% of the population uninsured. However, LePage's refusal to take the 3 years of offered 100% federal funding for the ACA's Medicaid expansion is driven by ideology rather than by what is good for Maine people. Having already demonstrated his willingness to dump folks off the MaineCare roles, LePage could take the 3 years of federal funding and give those eligible for coverage under the expansion a 3 year opportunity to get their health care needs addressed, after which Maine could reject the expansion if the feds withdraw full funding. That said, the ACA unacceptably continues to throw a segment of Maine people under the bus as the income cap to qualify for a subsidy is less than what the average secondary school Maine teacher earns, and the cheapest Exchange premium for a 60 year old living alone in Washington County who earns $48,000/year runs $685/month for a plan with a $5,000 deductible. We need a statewide single payer system!

Reform of the state’s public assistance programs has been the focus of debates in the State House and on the campaign trail. Do you believe that the state’s welfare programs are too generous?Yes

What, if anything, would you change about welfare?We don't spend rationally e.g. a statewide single payer healthcare system would cover ALL for less than we now spend to cover favored groups. Our welfare spending is excessive relative to our per capita income & much of it is irrational & wasteful - e.g., it makes no economic sense for some low skilled workers to work as the value of benefits they receive exceed what they stand to earn if they were employed, and they lose their benefits if they work. We do need to give those in need a hand up, but those so assisted who are able, should be required to pay some portion of their income into repaying the benefits received with those funds to go into a dedicated pool to help others in need. Our social welfare programs often provide benefits to those who don't really need them - e.g., I helped an elderly woman in my town apply for & every year receive benefits through the prescription drugs for the elderly program, and because there is no asset test required to qualify for the program, the taxpayesr paid for her non-Medicare covered prescription drugs enabling her to leave some $60,000 in CDs and valuable real estate to the beneficiaries of her will.

Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes

By how much?Yes, as it is a disgrace that full-time work at the minimum wage puts the worker so employed below the federal poverty level. We should strive for a "living" minimum wage, but I would need to know more about the potential economic effects on both business and the labor force before I would be prepared to opine on what the appropriate minimum wage should be. I think we could work a win-win by raising low income workers' standard of living with a significant increase in the minimum wage while simultaneously relieving employers of other cost burdens such as the cost of providing health insurance to their workers, high energy costs, etc. I believe we need to eliminate tax exemptions, stop taxing business equipment, reduce state income taxes and broaden and lower the sales tax rate. We must also fundamentally alter our system of property taxes as our property taxes are 6th highest in the nation and they are the most regressive taxes imposed on Maine people.

Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes

Please explain your position on legalization?Given how damaging alcohol abuse can be, I believe it to be the height of hypocrisy that alcohol is legal and recreational marijuana is not. If legalized, marijuana should be appropriately regulated to prohibit its sale or use by minors, although, as with alcohol and as is the case now, minors will continue to find ways to end-run the law. Prohibition is not, however, the answer. Instead, our focus needs to remain on building healthy communities that provide youth with appropriate opportunities to more productively spend their time, working to ensure that they are provided with meaningful educational opportunities that develop each student's creativity, skills and potential, and working to ensure that appropriate job opportunities exist for them.