Eloise A Vitelli, Democrathttp://NAFacebook
Office Sought: Senator - District 23
Occupation: non-profit administration UMA/WWC
Master of Science in Education, University of Southern Maine, 1979;
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Italian, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa 1971
Married to Bob Kalish and have two grown sons ages 26 and 32.
Why are you running for office? I have spent my entire professional career creating opportunities for Maine people to access education, skills training, quality jobs and to start small businesses through self-employment. I have worked collaboratively and in partnership with diverse individuals and organizations across the state over many years to get things done. I believe strongly in Maine's potential if we come together to build on and celebrate our primary assets - our people and our place. I believe the public sector - government at all levels, must be an able and willing partner with the private sector, non-profits, community groups and individual citizens in order to accomplish a quality of life and equal opportunity for all or our people. I am running because I want to contribute my skills, experience and passion to this effort.
I was elected to the Senate in August 2013 in a special election to fill a acancy in District 19. I served on the school board in Arrowsic and Union 47 for ten years. I also served as chair of the Sagadahoc Democratic Committee between 2004-2008. I have been appointed to serve on a number of Boards and Councils including the Maine Family Development Advisory Council, the Permanent Commission o nthe Status of Women, and currently serve as co-chair of the Maine Economic Growth Council. a joint appointment of the Presiding Officers and Governor.
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
It is the right thing to do and will save Maine millions of dollars.
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?We need to make sure that welfare benefits go to those most in need and are used appropriately and as intended, to provide temporary support to children and families. We need to be vigilant in reducing abuse of public support and ensure such cases are rare. I voted to ban the use of benefits for such items as cigarettes and alcohol as part of that effort. Maine has been at the forefront of welfare policies that actually move people out of poverty not just off public benefits through such programs as the Parents as Scholars and support for self-employment as a pathway to self-sufficiency. We may need to look further at transitional, tiered benefits for such things as child care and transportation so that families do not fall off 'the cliff' as tehy move towards economic self-sufficiency.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?Raising the minimum wage is an issue of economic fairness. Putting money into the pockets of low-wage workers, the majority of whom are women and working adults, will keep more money in our communities as families will have more to spend on food and other necessities and will cost all of us less in public subsidies. I have seen proposals and would support increases in the range of $10 - $12/hour phased in over several years.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?It needs to be very carefully regulated and monitored; tax revenues should go to the general fund. We need to proceed cautiously and learn from the states that have gone before us in ensuring appropriate regulation, promoting public education and safety.