2014 maine elections
Voters Guide
2014 maine elections
Voters Guide
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Christine S Burstein, Democrat

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Office Sought: Representative - District 96

Age: 56

Occupation: Family Nurse Practitioner, Business Owner

Education:

University of Maine at Augusta - Associates Degree in Nursing 1977-1979

Columbia University, New York, NY Bachelor's of Science in Nursing , Dean's List 1993-1995 (GPA 4.1)

Columbia University, New York, NY Master's in Nursing Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, 1996 GPA (4.0)

Family:

Married 22 years to John Burstein (aka Slim Goodbody from Captain Kangaroo days)

One son - 16 years old; one step son 36 years old; 3 dogs and 2 cats.

Hometown: Lincolnville

Why are you running for office? I am running for office because I have a strong belief in public service. I value being part of a community and doing my share to help. I believe I have the skills to bring people together. As a nurse and nurse practitioner I am trained and experienced in helping people understand each other, especially in complex situations. These skills are needed in Augusta where partisan politics is preventing solutions to build our economy, improve education, guarantee access to basic health care, protect our beautiful environment and ensure we have efficient government that gets the most out of every tax dollar. I am also a mother, school board member, and business owner. I have worked my way from the chicken factory to finishing graduate school at Columbia University. I've worked nights and evenings, worried where my gas money was coming from, worked extra to cover the insurance bills or car payments. All of this can help me understand, empathize and be a more effective representative for my constituents.

Poltical Experience:

Five Towns CSD school board member, 2013 - present; Board Member Maine Women's Lobby, 2013 - present (non partisan Women's organization)

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 fully support Medicaid expansion. If we don't our hospitals will suffer and the average citizen will end up paying more when the uninsured go to the emergency rooms. As a nurse practitioner I can tell you that "an ounce of prevention" (preventive care) can save a pound of expenses in the long run. As a tax payer I can tell you that expanding Medicaid in Maine makes good economic sense. The federal government is standing by to invest in Medicaid expansion. The first few years of expansion will cost Maine very little and many people will benefit a lot. Expanding coverage expands the number of people accessing and paying for care. Increasing revenue from the expansion of care-seekers increases the work force to respond and increases tax revenues. By the time we get down the road to a decrease in the federal match for Medicaid, we will have expanded our own tax revenues and be in a position to carry any additional costs. Health care is a right, but we also have to view expanding coverage as an economic investment. The health care industry is the fastest growing industry in Maine. It provides good, well paying and rewarding jobs for Mainers. We cannot lose with Medicaid expansion. It is the right things to do.

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?It all depends on what programs you are talking about. Before analyzing the appropriateness of state subsidized social services, we really need to be sure we all define social services the same way. This past week our state was hit with the news that more than 500 people are about to lose their jobs in time for Christmas. The chances of those folks getting new jobs, keeping families fed, mortgages paid and health care up to date are slim to none with out some form of social service. I worry that social services are being equated with fraudulent people taking cash from taxpayers to spend on frivolous things. There is nothing frivolous about heating oil, milk, bread, medical bills and rent. Do we need to be conservative with the limited resources we have? Absolutely. Do we need to help peop0le help themselves so they don't become completely dependent? Absolutely. We need a transparent system with well trained personnel who receive the appropriate amount of supervision and support. We cannot afford to lose money to inefficient systems. On a timely basis we need to look at who gets benefits, how they are spent and what are they doing to get on their own feet. Hopefully Maine's economy will start to improve and I mean to work towards that. But in the meantime , there will b e Maine citizens in need and we do need well run social programs to help them through hard times.

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

By how much?Raising the minimum wage is essential. So many hard working families cannot afford essentials/basic needs. Mainers help each other. Drive through most Maine towns and you will see a sign advertising a free meal or a food pantry. But it is not sustainable and it is not wise to allow Mainers to survive on charity. We also know that when wages rise, spending rises which helps the economy. I would phase in the increase. I would look at other states and see how they have done it successfully with out hurting the small business owners, the Mom and Pop stores. Mainers work hard and they deserve to be able to live on the full time salaries.

Would you support legalization of marijuana?Other

Please explain your position on legalization?Yes and no. Yes - We have a long history of capitalizing on tax revenues for alcohol - a drug with much more dangerous effects that anything science tells us about marijuana. Legalizing marijuana will benefit Mainers in a variety of ways. First and foremost it will allow us to regulate it and ensure a safe product. Second, it represents enormousness potential for revenue and for building jobs in our state. Two states have now legalized marijuana for recreational purposes and none of the worries have materialized. The research confirms the relative safety of marijuana used responsibly. My only hesitation is dealing with operating a motor vehicle or machinery and the use of marijuana. We need to see what other states have done and determine what has been effective in maintaining public safety.