Christopher W Babbidge, DemocratFacebook
Office Sought: Representative - District 8
B.A. History University of Maine Portland-Gorham, 1972
Hancock Fellow, 1986-87
(post graduate summer study at USM, Wake Forest, Colby, and Orono)
Teacher at Kennebunk High School, 1981-2012
Social Studies Dept Chair: 1981-2004, 2009-2011
instructor, Muskie Summer Scholars Program, Bates College, 1989-2006
Married 41 years to Linda A. Babbidge, dental hygienist in Kennebunk
Three daughters, all who went K-12 through Kennebunk schools, earned degrees at Bentley College, Dartmouth College, Gettysburg College, University of Southern California, and Simmons College.
Five grandchildren, ages 7, 6, 5 (twins), and 4.
Why are you running for office? My priorities are for controlled spending, a strong economy, protection of seniors, a clean environment, quality education, affordable energy, and fairness for the little guy. But why me? I'm prepared, I have done it before, and Augusta today needs a change. 1) I’m well-prepared: I’ve spent a lifetime studying leadership, history, and government, with many meetings with leaders in Augusta. As a native Mainer and long-time Kennebunk resident, and have studied our town while serving on a Charter Commission and Comprehensive Plan Committee. And having taught Kennebunk students who are now 17 to 51 years, and being a teacher who has always lived in town, I know our neighbors. 2) I have done this before. I served four years in the State Legislature representing the taxpayers, families, small businesses, and town officials of Kennebunk. Recently a Portland City Councilor said to me, “You were only there four years? You certainly left a big mark.” I am proud of my record of accomplishment. I worked hard and late, and was there when it counted. I spoke up when it was needed. Finally, 3) Augusta has become more like Washington, with constant name-calling and distrust. Mainers deserve better from their government, and my approach to leadership is to develop a relationship, earn trust, and engage in an honest exchange of civil discourse looking for ways to agree for the public good. I was an effective advocate before, and I would be honored to be entrusted to serve again
State Representative, House District 141, Kennebunk, 2004-2008; Committee on Utilities and Energy, 2005-2006; Committee on Natural Resources, 2007-2008; Kennebunk Charter Commission, 2002-3; Comprehensive Plan Committee; Professional Elections: President, Greenville Teachers Association; President, Maine Council for the Social Studies; Presidential Election of 2000: President, Maine Electoral College; Political Party Elections: Elected Delegate to represent Maine at National Convention (Denver 2008, Los Angeles 2000, Chicago 1996); Chair, State Rules Committee, 1999-2002; York County Delegate to State Committee, 1990-2002
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
This is the right thing to do. We should absolutely accept our share of this money to help our fellow workers. It has no cost to state government for three years, and while our national government spends on subsidies to rich oil companies and bailouts of banks (our two most profitable industries), money for Maine is comparatively insignificant. But it will improve lives immediately, and save lives and money in the long term. For some of Maine's less fortunate hard-working population, this will mean the difference between life and death. Maine's Republican leadership has chosen to follow the directives of their national party (and its contributors in the health insurance industry) to stop the Affordable Care Act, and, by doing so, they have thrown 70,000 Mainers under the bus. Giving these Mainers, including thousands of veterans and many single Moms, a family doctor, screenings, and birth control, is not just right but also cost-effective. First, depriving Maine people of these services (which each of us would demand for our own families) while our federal taxes contribute to coverage for other Americans is an injustice. Preventive medicine will save millions. We must stop extreme expense of the continuation of too-frequent trips to the emergency room for primary care, and the often too-late trips to the E.R. for serious illness. And the stimulus of $300,000,000 annually into the troubled Maine economy will create jobs and have a ripple effect.
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?I would insist on efficiency while defending its purpose. We have the responsibility, within our means, to help our less fortunate to get back on their feet and contribute to society. Within our ability to do so, that responsibility includes helping children, the elderly, the sick, and the disabled. We should provide temporary support and incentive to get the able-bodied to work and contributing to the tax base. Welfare fraud, like white-collar crime or tax evasion, will always be a concern. It is our task is to be there for those who truly need it while making the benefit difficult to abuse. Any fraud is too much fraud. The good news about the Governor's DHHS investigation is that the violations reported represent less than 2%. It was also revealed that eight new fraud investigators costing taxpayers nearly $700,000 per year had found only $53,000 in recipient fraud in their first five months. Unfortunately, politicizing the issue is effective because we're ALL against fraud. But, as court records of the past four years reveal, the cost of welfare fraud against Maine taxpayers by the recipients is in the thousands of dollars, but that by the providers (corporations) is in the millions. Indeed, we must be diligent to ensure ALL public funds are targeted and properly spent. But it was a Republican President, Teddy Roosevelt, who reminded us that it is government's responsibility to ensure equality of opportunity, and that sometimes means providing a "hand up."
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?In the 122nd Legislature, I was in a hard-fought battle on the floor of the House of Representatives to raise the minimum wage from $6.50 to $7.50 over 4 years. It hasn't been raised since I left. President Obama has addressed the threat to our middle class with a $10.10 proposal. Opposition comes from ideological Republicans who fear it is too big and will cause job loss. The facts are these: 1) Although Democrats instituted the minimum wage, Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush 41, and Bush 43 all signed minimum wage increases. 2) The average increase of the ten increases since FDR has been 41%; Obama’s $10.10 represents a 39% increase. 3) The panic about job loss is not supported by the unemployment data. When I was in college, the minimum wage was 54% of the average hourly wage. Today it is 36%. The minimum wage was 20% above the poverty line. Today it is 19% below the poverty line. Nobel economists say the problem is demand. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers today must use public assistance. A significant increase would actually save the government money in reduced public assistance and provide a stimulus to the economy. If Maine goes this alone, the amounts would have to be incremental, but Maine workers should know I’m in their corner. Hard work deserves the dignity of a living wage.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?No
Please explain your position on legalization?I am not convinced that the potential benefits outweigh the potential harmful effects of legalization. A man's home is his castle, and I believe in tolerance of behavior in the home that does not harm others. But I am disappointed that medicinal marijuana has evolved into a separate industry and is not dispensed, like other medicinal drugs, by a licensed pharmacist. Formal legalization of marijuana would increase availability and indirectly sanction use. I don't see this as a positive development for Maine youth. I also believe that increased incidences of impaired driving combined with the long-term health effects of smoking cannabis, together, outweigh any projected economic advantage of legalization.