Brian L Jones, DemocratFacebook
Office Sought: Representative - District 99
University of Maine, Orono, Maine: Master of Education in Educational
University of Southern Maine: Bachelor of Arts in English, minor in mathematics (1980)
I'm happily married to Anni, my wife of 35 years. We have three children, ages 32, 30, and 26, and a five-year-old grandson
Why are you running for office? The good people of northern and western Waldo County deserve a knowledgeable, experienced Representative who shares their common values and is willing to make decisions based on those values. We share the belief that every sick person should be able to see a doctor; the belief that an honest day's work should be rewarded with an honest day's pay; and that it's a shared responsibility to help our neighbors who, through no fault of their own, find themselves needing the help of the community. And we must hold Augusta accountable. The State has not lived up to its promises to our communities. Quality education is key to economic growth, yet the state fails to fund public education at 55 percent as mandated by the people of Maine. The state also fails to provide fair revenue sharing. These failures merely shift the tax burden to property owners. The property tax is the nastiest of all, unfairly affecting those least able to pay it and land intensive enterprises like farming. It is most unfair to our senior citizens living on fixed incomes. To add insult to injury, the State has cut the Circuit Breaker program, which provided property tax relief to our poorest neighbors. I will continue to demand that the state pays its fair share. I've listened closely to my constituents' concerns and have been their voice in Augusta, whether their concern is a broad issue like the economy or help in navigating the labyrinth of of state government. I want to continue this work on their behalf.
Representative to the Legislature District 45, State of Maine (2012-present);
Selectman, Assessor, and Overseer of the Poor Town of Freedom (2011-2014);
Member Board of Directors, Maine School Administrative District 3 (2005-2006);
Member Town of Freedom Budget Committee (1997-2002);
Chair of Town of Freedom Planning Board (1987-1991)
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
I support the expansion of Medicaid to cover those whose incomes are too low to qualify for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. In the wealthiest nation on the planet, no on should go without access to health care. We spends more on healthcare per capital than any other nation, but we get poorer overall results for our people. I fully support a single payer health care system. Until we can achieve that goal, we must work within the context of the existing Affordable Care Act and expand Medicaid to our less fortunate neighbors so all families have access to a family doctor.
Please know that of the roughly 70,000 who currently don't have access to affordable health care, about 3,000 are veterans.
By expanding Medicaid, we can create good paying healthcare jobs at time when our economy woefully trails the rest of the nation. It's estimated that our economy will also see a $1million per day boost in economic activity directly and indirectly through the expansion.
The argument that we can't afford it or we don't have the money is specious. Maine's cost of the expansion will be minimal for the first three years, and the decision to proceed or to withdraw can be reviewed and changed if desired then.
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?Other
What, if anything, would you change about welfare?Public supports for our poorest neighbors have to be properly designed and effectively administered to support those who can’t support themselves and help those who can to find access to meaningful economic activity. Election year rhetoric has pitted the poor against the poor, the so-called deserving against the undeserving, the struggling low wage worker against those unable even to find these jobs. This divisiveness and finger pointing obscures the real reasons for poverty in our area: few jobs, low wages, lack of proper education and training, lack of affordable childcare, and high costs for heating and housing. Until we address these underlying fundamental issues surrounding poverty, we’ll continue to spend scarce resources on relief. Public assistance in Maine should be effectively administered and managed. It currently is not. We cannot afford million dollar studies, never completed, that tell us what we might want to hear; we cannot afford to lose $20 million in federal funds to support care for our mentally ill because of lax oversight; and we cannot afford the the federal government's consideration of penalizing the state $7 million because our welfare cash assistance program doesn’t meet federal work-participation standards. I do not consider Social Security and Medicare welfare.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?No one working full time should live in poverty, and everyone who labors deserves a living wage. Given that a third of Mainers live below the poverty level and one third of jobs in Maine don’t pay enough to cover the basic needs of a family, I support raising the minimum wage. Raising he minimum wage doesn't kill jobs. Studies have shown that raising the minimum wage does not have a negative effect on employment. In fact, an analysis of state minimum wage increases showed that those states that boosted their wage had job growth slightly above the national average. Raising the minimum wage does not only affect teenagers. Nearly 90 percent of minimum wage workers are 20 years old or older. Additionally, more than a third of minimum wage workers are married, and over a quarter are parents. Raising the minimum wage does not hurt small businesses. According to a Department of Labor survey, 58% of small business owners say raising the minimum wage would increase consumer purchasing power. 56% say raising the minimum wage would help the economy. In addition, 53% agree that with a higher minimum wage, businesses would benefit from lower employee turnover, increased productivity and customer satisfaction. To what level and how quickly the wage should be raise are policy decisions that deserve studied deliberation.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Other
Please explain your position on legalization?I believe this question should be decided by the voters. I think it would be amiss, however, for the Legislature not to take the lead and make sure that any referendum question were properly vetted to consider any unintended consequences. For example, to make sure that marijuana were regulated like alcohol; that provisions were made for abuse prevention and treatment for those with substance abuse problems; that considerations for public and workplace safety were made; that structures were included in law to prevent its use by minors; and that our agricultural community has access to the market, for example. I will oppose and legalization efforts that merely create new markets for tobacco companies and leave our local farmers out.