Dwight H Ely, Democrathttp://Ely4House.comFacebook
Office Sought: Representative - District 28
Occupation: Berry Farmer
Marietta College 1969-72 BA (with the help of the G.I. Bill);
Ohio State University 1972-1974 MPA (Masters of Public Administration);
Boston University MBA (Masters of Business Administration);
USM & UNE Certification Secondary Education 1990
Married; three children ages 30, 33, & 34.
Why are you running for office? I am running to represent Scarborough in the Maine House of Representatives because I am concerned by how far and how fast Governor LePage has taken Maine in the wrong direction and disappointed that District 28's current Representative has so consistently supported the Governor in this process instead of supporting bi-partisan solutions that have been proposed to address Maine's problems. Specifically, I am looking forward to being able to vote in favor of accepting $350 million in federal revenue that will provide health care coverage to thousands of Mainers, help keep our hospitals operating in the black, and create at least 3000 good Maine jobs. I look forward to being able to vote in favor of restoring the funding level to the Revenue Sharing Program with local towns to its traditional level thus providing relief to property tax payers and helping to support local school budgets. I look forward to voting in favor of increasing the minimum wage, perhaps the most effective way to move hard working Mainers off public assistance programs. I look forward to voting in favor of programs that will support the development of sustainable alternative energy sources and programs to help Mainers make their homes more energy efficient. I look forward to supporting small business in Maine in the creation of job growth. I look forward to seeing Scarborough's vote cast in favor of finding bi-partisan solutions to Maine's problems instead of supporting any governor's vetoes.
I had the pleasure of serving on the Scarborough Board of Education 1992-1994. I have also had experience working with the Maine Legislature as a staff member of the non-partisan Office of Legislative Assistance. I was the Legislative Assistant assigned to the committees on: agriculture, natural resources, and environment.
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
Not accepting the $350 million in federal revenue was perhaps the most costly and unfortunate mistake made by any governor in Maine's recent history and many of the allegedly factual arguments against participating in this program came from the Alexander Group Report which has been subsequently totally discredited.
The Governor and Scarborough's District 28 incumbent tout the fact that they paid off the $200 mill plus debt owed to Maine's hospitals. First, they did not pay off the debt; the people of Maine did that through the proceeds of sale of the State's liquor contract which was up for renegotiation. But second, by denying Maine access to the $350 million in health care revenue from the federal government, they put hospitals right back in jeopardy of incurring more debt. Low income Mainers are still receiving health care coverage but frequently this coverage has to be provided in a hospital's emergency room. This is unnecessarily expensive health care and it is either paid for by Maine taxpayers or absorbed as a loss by the hospitals.
Maine needs to correct this mistake as quickly as possible and join with every state in New England in participating in this program. It will provide more efficient health care for thousands of Mainers, help keep our hospitals operating in the black, and create at least 3,000 good Maine jobs.
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?Talking about reforming welfare, getting people off welfare, and catching welfare cheats is as much a part of America's election tradition as shaking hands and kissing babies and this tradition is alive and well in Maine in 2014. Who could possibly be opposed to making welfare more efficient? If I could change anything about welfare it would be to refocus the debate on welfare to where the really big bucks are, the area where the state could have the greatest opportunity to spend its scarce resources more efficiently: corporate welfare. Any number of studies have been done by universities and non-partisan research centers that question the effectiveness of using public assistance to support corporate activities. Governor LePage's recent $15.6 million failed deal with Wall Street is but the latest example of a problem that truly does need greater scrutiny. So, do I believe that the state's welfare programs are too generous? It depends on which programs you are talking about and we need to have a discussion on all of our welfare programs.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?I taught U.S. History. Included in the curriculum is the discussion of, "The American Dream" and the idea that if one works hard, they will get ahead. I believe that anyone who is working 40 hours a week should meet the definition of "working hard". However, working at $7.50 per hour will not allow anyone to ever "get ahead". That wage level does not come close to meeting one's basic needs and that is why so many of our low income wage earners work full time but still need, and qualify, for public assistance. The fastest way to move many low income workers off public assistance is to raise the minimum wage. It is estimated that over 50% of our food service workers receive public assistance and there is abundant documentation that the business that rely on these low income wage earners encourage their workers to seek public assistance. The tax payer is subsidizing these employers by making it possible for them to rely on this low wage work force. This is wrong in many ways. Society relies on these workers to provide a service it needs and values. These workers need and deserve a "living wage".
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Other
Please explain your position on legalization?Given the movement to legalize marijuana that is spreading across the nation in the states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California as well as six other states, I believe that the legalization of marijuana is ultimately going to be inevitable. So far the experience from these states indicates that to continue to criminalize the use of marijuana is a waste of human potential as well as waste of taxpayer resources, and that the regulated sale of marijuana is actually an amazing source of tax revenue. Maine needs to study and learn from these state's experiences so that it is ready to deal with this complicated and controversial issue. I am not advocating legalization. Maine is not ready. However, I do support Maine getting ready, and when ready, I would support is legalization.