Diane M Denk, DemocratFacebook
Office Sought: Representative - District 9
Occupation: Teacher/former businesswoman
I received a BA in Speech from Loyola University in Chicago in 1973.
I earned an MS in Labor Relations from Loyola University in Chicago in 1978.
I was awarded an MAT in Special Education Teaching from National Louis University in Chicago in 1998.
I studied Employee Benefits through a Wharton School of Business program at Roosevelt University of Chicago in 1986.
I am married to Roger Hansen, retired stockbroker and now a volunteer football and wrestling coach in Kennebunk. We have three sons, Blake, Mark and Doug, three daughters-in-law Anne, Ralinda and Tanya, and four grandchildren, Jake, 10, Grace, 6, Avery, 4, and Lauren, 1.
Why are you running for office? I am running because I believe Maine can do better, can get back on its feet and people can renew their pride in a hardworking state that succeeds. I believe to make this happen we must do the following: 1) Strengthen the working class by ensuring that everyone has a good job. To do this, we must support our small and start up businesses and train our workforce so they can hit the ground running for these competitive positions. Each job must pay a sustainable wage with comprehensive benefits. 2) Our students must have a quality education and be able to afford to go on to college or training programs which prepare them for jobs in Maine rather than in other states. We must stop the brain drain. 3) We must respect and care for our seniors. As the most graying state in the country, it is our mission to ensure that seniors don't have to sell their houses because they can no longer afford the property taxes. Should they wish to downsize, we must be able to offer affordable senior housing. Should they be unable to drive, we need to ensure that there is reliable transportation. Home healthcare is critical as we enable seniors to age in place. Should they choose to work, we need to stop penalizing them by taxing incomes that supplement Social Security. 4) As stewards of this beautiful state, we must leave future generations a good health environment and protect its water, air and lands and prevent overdevelopment and ruination for business purposes.
I was the Public Member of the Maine Board of Dental Examiners for 5 years. I served as Chair of the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport Democratic Committee. I served as Chair of the York County Democratic Committee. I am the Secretary of the NAACP. I Chaired the Maine Democratic State Committee's Outreach and Community Service Subcommittee. I was elected as a Presidential Elector and member of the Electoral College in 2012.
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 do support this program. 70,000 Mainers currently have no coverage in a program that would have cost little or nothing in this state yet was rejected due to partisan volleying with human lives. Basic health coverage provides the essentials for our citizens to enjoy quality lives, get comprehensive care, have good preventive care for their families, and stop using the ER as their first line of defense against illness. If elected this will be an important goal of mine...to give the people what they need. We are one of the most developed countries on the globe yet our citizens have lesser care than many undeveloped nations. It is time to end this game and get our families, their children, our seniors, the disabled and our veterans quality healthcare.
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?I believe that welfare is a byproduct of a failed economy. If we cannot provide alternatives to welfare to families, such as good jobs, how can we ever hope to get them off state assistance? I feel we must strengthen our businesses, particularly our smaller businesses and start-up businesses, ensure that they can pay a sustainable wage and provide for the needs of families. No one ever grows up hoping to become a welfare recipient. But hopelessness can be crippling and when I am in the legislature I will work hard to make sure that Maine gets jobs and that we can train and retrain our out of work citizens.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?No one can raise a family on $7.50/hour. Families who work 40+ hour weeks at this rate are constantly one step ahead or usually behind the bill collector. This must stop. Paying low wages keeps families at the poverty level and creates further dependence on the state. It is time Maine takes a leadership step and raises it to $10.10. I will work in lockstep with anyone who agrees to work on this measure.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?I would first decriminalize the possession of marijuana. Second, I would study it closely to see how and to whom it can be sold in order to benefit Maine and its citizens. We should tax it and earmark the proceeds for senior housing and healthcare. Marijuana is not as dangerous as alcohol or tobacco so it should be permitted for responsible use.