David L Bright, Unenrolledhttp://davidbright.usFacebook Twitter
Office Sought: Representative - District 100
Occupation: Farmer. Prior to that I worked in the publishing industry for 36 years, including 26 years as a reporter, editor and computer specialist at the Bangor Daily News.
1966 graduate of Newton High School, Newton Massachusetts;
I hold a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maine at Orono.
My wife, Jean Hay Bright, and I operate BrightBerry Farm, an organic fruit and vegetable operation in Dixmont. We have four adult children, living in Washington state, Oregon, California and New Hampshire.
Why are you running for office? I am running as an independent candidate for this district, not as a Democrat, Republican or Green. In recent political times – both here in Maine and in Washington – we have seen too much rancor and not enough representation. I believe the only way to end the dysfunction and disrespect is to not be part of it – hence my candidacy as an independent. I am running to support farms and other small businesses, to improve public discourse, respect and understanding of our government, and to assist citizens and businesses alike by maintaining and improving the public infrastructure such as high-speed Internet, energy diversity, education, health care, transportation and community services. I support civil rights and wish to help move Maine towards a fair and equitable single-payer healthcare system I support: — A system of income and property taxes that treats everyone fairly, is based on ability to pay, is easy to understand and administer, and doesn’t overburden farmers and other small businesses who need a lot of equipment to earn their living. — Reducing the local property burden by assuring fair and equitable state funding for education, revenue-sharing, state-aid highway maintenance, public safety and homestead exemption programs. — Revising the state budgeting process so that it is based on actual historical revenue amounts over a recent multi-year period, rather than the current system of making up a budget and then trying to guess where the money will
While not having run for political office before, I did serve 12 years on the Board of Supervisors of the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation Commission, and for a number of years on the Town of Winterport Budget Committee. I have been active in Maine political campaigns going back to the Ken Curtis re-election campaign in 1970. I was an alternate to the Democratic National Convention in 1972, and also worked on the Presidential campaigns of Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson and Dennis Kucinich. In 2006 I helped manage the campaign for my wife, Jean Hay Bright, in her run against former Senator Olympia Snowe.
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
My ultimate goal is single-payer, universal health care for all and I see the Affordable Care Act (including expanding Medicaid) as a stepping stone on that path, not as a final healthcare destination. That being said, the vile and vindictive attacks on the ACA, and especially on the efforts to get additional MaineCare for those who are most in need of care, are disgusting. These attacks seem made with few, if any, legitimate concerns about whether ACA or MaineCare can improve the lives of many Americans, but almost solely to attack and weaken the President and those who advocate for a healthier nation where doctors and patients, not insurance companies, make healthcare decisions. The legislative compromise to allow the 100 percent reimbursement for Medicaid over the first three years and reevaluate it as the federal rules change was the right thing to do – both politically and ethically – and I find it hard to understand how those who so selfishly opposed it can call themselves public servants.
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?No
What, if anything, would you change about welfare?Increase services to provide food, shelter and medical care when they are needed, also job assistance (training, transportation, day care). The way to build a strong economy is to make sure all people are healthy, have adequate nutrition and the training and support they need to be productive citizens. Maine has a long tradition of neighbors helping neighbors, and in some cases that’s done through publicly funded social service programs. Those who are fortunate enough not to need these services should have compassion for those who do need them. In many cases these benefits are going to children, and these children should not be punished for the actions or inactions of their parents.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?The $10.10 proposed by the President is a minimum. A more realistic number would be $15. That would considerably reduce the number of people who are working but still qualify for SNAP, Medicaid and other public benefits.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?Like alcohol, tobacco and gambling, marijuana use has now become a popular and politically acceptable practice on the part of many Maine citizens. Illegal marijuana has always been widely available in Maine, and can be found under cultivation both indoors and outdoors throughout Maine. There are arguments about marijuana leading to drug addiction, just as there are about beer leading to alcoholism, or lottery tickets leading to gambling addiction, yet an educated adult public legally indulges in these latter two, not to mention continued use of tobacco which has known and well-documented cancerous results. The state encourages and profits from the latter three, while federal, state and local governments spend untold amounts of time and money trying to quash the sale and recreational use of marijuana, often ruining careers in the process. And governments collect no revenue from marijuana sales. The trend to legalize recreational use of marijuana is growing around the country, but still in its infancy. Maine has an opportunity to move forward and develop responsible laws around this topic. The Legislature should get out in front on this, not be left behind. The revenues should go into the general fund where they can used to pay for all government functions, including substance-abuse prevention.