Cary M Weston, Republicanhttp://www.westonforsenate.comFacebook Twitter
Office Sought: Senator - District 9
Occupation: Small Business Owner
I graduated from Bangor schools and earned a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from the University of Maine
I live in Bangor with my wife Tori, who is a small business owner as a housecall veterinarian, and my three children: Maddie (10), Serena (5), and Spencer (3)
Why are you running for office? Because I have a passion to make a difference by using my leadership skills, business experience, and track record of collaboration to help affect positive change for the Bangor region and the state of Maine.
I have served as an elected member of the Bangor City Council and served as the Mayor of Bangor.
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
Congress failed the states by leaving this gap open in their poorly formed insurance overhaul. As a State Senator I will be working with others to fight for this to be fixed at the national level as it should have been. In the meantime, we have too many people in need and too many financial challenges to face to not look at federal options to help us care for them. While we are large geographically, Maine as a whole is slightly smaller than the city of Philadelphia. In fact, we're about the size of Dallas. We simply do not have enough resources to support the growing medical and behavioral challenges we face.
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 have programs in place to help those in need but unfortunately we also have many folks taking advantage of a system and decreasing resources for those it was designed to help. Photo ID for EBT cards is a tool that law enforcement can use to help fight misuse of the cards. State reports show that EBT card use outside of Maine and NH is growing in areas where high drug activity takes place. In fact, according to DEA officials and state reports, eight of the top ten cities outside of Maine in which Maine EBT card are used most often happen to be the cities and towns from which we most often see out-of-state drug dealers arrested in Maine. I'm encouraged by the recent common sense reforms, including a working component to receiving certain benefits. As a state senator I'll continue to work towards common sense reforms to ensure that those who need the help have it for them, that those that misuse the system are handled swiftly and appropriately, and that the working tax payers of Maine have a voice at the table.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Other
Please explain your position on the minimum wage.Raising to what? We have a history of gradually increasing the minimum wage in Maine and I think that's a responsible path to take. Public conversation recently has used the minimum wage conversation as a silver bullet to fixing an ailing economy. I disagree with that premise. The fact is, we have too many people working too many jobs that pay too little. Our economy needs help and that's due to years of overlooking the core basics of what builds a strong, vibrant, and long-standing economy. We need to change that. We need to look at systematic changes that will help us now and over time. We need to reform our education system so that we're creating skilled workers for areas of opportunity and not just piling up student debt with four year degrees that may not add value to the economy. The trades, such as electrical, carpentry, welding, and plumbing have tremendous promise in our state and there are jobs ready for those trained. We need to look at a real energy policy and investing in actions that will lower the cost of energy for homeowners and businesses instead of subsidizing energy efforts such as wind and solar. These programs have cost far more than they've helped and have not moved the needle to energy reform. Finally - we need to look at infrastructure investments - physical and virtual - to ensure we have the best place for jobs to start, grow, and flourish. Simply saying we should have a higher minimum wage is not the answer.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?No
Please explain your position on legalization?As a dad of three children, I can say that the drug culture we face in Maine concerns me and I want to do something about it. Unfortunately, we have created a popular culture that has decreased the concern for the effects of marijuana on the developing brain and because of that, federal data now shows there are more kids smoking marijuana than tobacco. Federal data shows and public safety professionals acknowledge that marijuana is a gateway drug and 1 in 9 kids who start smoking marijuana develop greater addiction problems. We have far too many drug, crime, and economic issues in our community to be adding another challenge through legalization of marijuana.