Cathy Breen, Democrathttp://www.cathybreenforstatesenate.comFacebook Twitter
Office Sought: Senator - District 25
Occupation: Community Volunteer
Tufts University, B.A. in Political Science and History, 1987
University of Illinois in Chicago, M.Ed., 1994
I am married to Jay Geller, and we have two children age 19 and 16.
Why are you running for office? I am running for a seat in the Maine State Senate because Maine needs people with my experience in listening to taxpayers' priorities and developing budgets and legislation that reflect them. During my six years on the Falmouth Town Council (2005-2011), I consistently championed high quality services at the best possible price for local taxpayers. As a result, the municipal side (v. school) of the local tax rate remained flat during my tenure. I spearheaded the passage (by 75% of voters) of Falmouth's 2007 Open Space conservation referendum. This program has not only conserved over 500 acres of wildlife habitat and recreation space, it has netted over $1 million in non-local funding to support the effort, making it one of the most successful municipal land conservation programs in Maine history. It came as a result of years of listening to conservationists, snowmobilers, hunters, real estate professionals, developers, hikers, wildlife biologists and more. I would like to bring this experience to Augusta to help other towns deal successfully with the ongoing challenge of residential sprawl. This type of thorough and inclusive leadership can help Maine's challenges with the economy, higher education, health care and more.
I served on the Falmouth Town Council 2005-2011. I served on the Park District Board in Oak Park, Illinois 1997-2000.
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
Health care is a basic human right. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aims to expand access to quality health care by extending federally funded health insurance to more people. Governor LePage's refusal to accept federal dollars to expand health insurance has left roughly 70,000 Mainers without coverage. This means that these Mainers have no choice but to seek health care in emergency rooms (where they can't be turned away for lack of payment) when their illnesses or injuries have reached a crisis. The larger community is already paying for these highly expensive visits through higher insurance premiums, higher hospital bills, and taxes. Expanding insurance coverage to every Mainer who's eligible under the ACA will not only allow more Mainers access to preventive medicine and early intervention, which are less costly than emergency room visits, but it will bring millions of federal dollars into the state, boosting the health care sector of our state economy.
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?No
What, if anything, would you change about welfare?Maine has the lowest amount of payment to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) in all of New England. I have no tolerance for welfare fraud, and I encourage voters to report it when they it see by calling 866-348-1129. The best change to welfare is a strong economy and a strong public education system (pre-K - 12 as well as higher education) that gets Mainers ready for the 21st century job market.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?No one who works a full-time job should need public assistance to make ends meet. But what's happening because minimum wage has fallen so out of sync with inflation. And the majority of workers earning minimum wage in Maine are women, many of whom are raising children who are growing up in poverty despite their mothers' hard work. I support an incremental but meaningful increase in the minimum wage.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?No
Please explain your position on legalization?I strongly support medical marijuana, but, as the parent of two teenagers, I'm just not there on wholesale legalization. I wish that the public debate on legalization focused more on the detrimental effects of marijuana (like alcohol, narcotics, etc.) have on the developing teenage brain, which have been well researched and documented.