Gary A Connor, Democrathttp://garyconnor.orgFacebook
Office Sought: Senate - District 34
Occupation: Medical Researcher
Graduated with honors 1995;
Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, School of Nursing
Non-matriculated course work completed towards Baccalaureate in Nursing
Regis College, Weston, Massachusetts;
Salem State College, Salem, Massachusetts
Married 17 years to Kendra;
Eight children ages 16, 15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, & 2
Why are you running for office? Too often, highly qualified people stay out of politics because they are either too busy or frustrated by the bickering that they see. Like them, I am very frustrated by what I see in Washington and here at home. When I previously served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives, I had a strong record of working with all sides to find solutions to our challenges. Two of my most major accomplishments, the bond to build Maine's first dental school and a law to make access to vaccines available to every child in Maine, were through coalition building among people that are normally not on the same side of issues. For the vaccine bill (LD1408), we brought together insurance companies, doctors, family advocates, vaccine manufactures, republicans and democrats over several years to craft a law that worked for everyone. That law has saved insurers money, decreased the administrative burden on doctors, and helped kids receive the right vaccine at the right time. These efforts were just recognized at the National Immunization Conference in Atlanta Georgia on September 29, 2014, where the Maine Immunization Program received the 3 awards, one that is directly linked to LD1408.-Most Improved Average Coverage for Nine Vaccinations from 2010 to 2013. I am running because Our district deserves a high energy Senator who will work with anyone; Our seniors deserve someone in Augusta that cares about a dignified future for them
Maine House of Representatives 2006-2010; American Academy of Pediatrics: Maine Legislator of the Year 2008; Maine Primary Care Associations: Legislator of the Year 2009; Maine Center for Disease Control: The Pump-Handle Award 2010
-Standing Joint Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs to determine spending priorities for all of state government. (2008-2010) -Standing Joint Committee on Health and Human Services to determine impact of proposed new legislation. (2006-2008) -House Chair, Commission to Study Primary Care Medical Practice, Member, Long Term Care Commission; Substance Abuse Services Commission; Maine Council on Poverty and Economic Security; Joint Select Committee on Health Care Reform Opportunities and Implementation
Seated member of the National Conference of State Legislatures Committees: * Critical Health Access Project * Health Information Technology * Health and Human Services
Current President: Kennebunk Hockey Boosters, Kennebunk Lacrosse Club Immediate Past Vice President: Kennebunk Youth Football Executive Member: Maine Vaccine Board (Appointed by Governors Baldacci and LePage), Maine BioScience Association
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
Coverage of 70,000 Mainers, including 3000 veterans is not only the right thing to do, it makes economic sense. First off, if I offered you $2 for every $1 that you give me, would you take that deal? At its simplest, Medicaid (which is a match of federal dollars for state dollars spent) represents an influx of money into Maine. Bringing dollars into Maine should be the goal of every member of the legislature. I agree that federal dollars and state dollars are all tax dollars, but the question for me is "Where do I want those tax dollars to go? Maine? Louisiana? Texas?" I'd like that money to be here in Maine, so we can invest it in Maine's economy.
There's a second reason that this makes economic sense- By not covering 70,000 Mainers, the people don't just "go away", these folks end up seeking care in emergency rooms (where the costs are highest) and those costs are passed on to all of us (the insured) by the hospitals.
I've described the economics, now I'd like to point out the morality of the issue. Americans are the most generous and responsive people in the world when crisis strikes. From ice bucket challenges to concerts for hurricane victims, we respond by opening our hearts and purse-strings. Lack of adequate health care is a crisis for the people and families that are affected- we have a simple way to respond and we should.
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'd change a lot about welfare, but none of it involves demonizing the recipients or using the word welfare to described earned benefits such as Medicare or unemployment benefits. I am running for office because I want to change the way we approach the challenges we face. Providing adequate care for those less fortunate is not a democrat or republican issue, it shouldn't be an "us versus them" issue that is used to target and label groups. The folks that do not want "their hard-earned money" distributed to others are NOT, in nearly all cases, cold-hearted people. Just as the recipients of services are NOT, in nearly all cases, bad or lazy people. So, first I'd change the dialogue. Next, like many, I want to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse from all sides of the system. Do I care if a 6 year old kid whose family receives "food stamps" eats Oreo cookies? Yes I do- I want that kid to have the same occasional indulgence that all children should have. If we eliminate the real cheaters from the program, the resources will be there so we can better help families and seniors in need- and even let them have an occasional cookie. Then, we need to look at barriers to work. Does that single mother have adequate childcare if she starts to work, will she lose her health insurance if she starts to work? How do we eliminate those barriers? I think with the right people working to solve these problems, we can eliminate those barriers.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?I support a living wage. We need to support our local economies so that wages can grow.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?I feel that access to marijuana is easier for teens than alcohol. By legalizing, regulating, and taxing its sale similar to alcohol and tobacco, we restrict the way it is accessed and improve the resources to treat addiction. In my view, we would take a portion of all sales and put those dollars towards treatment programs for addictions. Not everyone who drinks alcohol requires treatment, and similarly, not everyone who uses marijuana will need treatment. There are smart approaches to every issue we face. I do not pretend to know all the answers, but my record shows that I will work with anyone to find the right solution that has maximum benefit for those involved. I'd like to be sent back to Augusta to work on all of our challenges.