Heather W Sirocki, Republicanhttp://www.SirockiForMaineHouse.comFacebook
Office Sought: Representative - District 28
Occupation: Registered dental hygienist, Administrative Assistant
Massabesic High School, Class of 1977
Westbrook College, Class of 1980, AS in Dental Hygiene, Dean's List
Three adult children, 25, 23, 20
Why are you running for office? I am running for re-election because I have a deep appreciation for the hardworking people of Maine, our beautiful state, and a desire to serve the people of my community. Thirty years ago, my husband and I settled in Scarborough to raise our family. Our three sons were active in many programs- high school band, church, scouting, sports, Gym Dandies…as a community member and volunteer, I know that being involved and working together is the best way to help people. As a parent, I value a strong public education. Growing up on a farm in rural Maine, helped me develop a strong work ethic and love of the land. With my 100% attendance record, working in state government is a responsibility I take seriously. Having served two terms as a state representative, I am pleased with our progress with initiatives such as growing thousands of private sector jobs to promote overall prosperity, stopping abuse of our welfare programs, paying our hospitals, reforming our pension system, removing corruption from quasi-government agencies, and implementing other common sense solutions.
State Representative, 126th Legislature, 2013 and 2014; State Representative, 125th Legislature, 2011 and 2012
Member: Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human and Services 2011 to 2014
Member: Maine Children's Growth Council, 2013 to 2014 Member: Substance Abuse Services Commission, 2011 to 2013 Member: Women in Government, 2014
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?No
The federal health care law is an all or nothing offer. Maine is at a disadvantage because we had previously expanded Medicaid in 2001 and again in 2005 resulting in 25% of our population enrolled in this comprehensive no copay, no deductible, no sliding scale, taxpayer funded program . The federal law excludes the previously expanded populations from the generous reimbursement that other states are able to tap into, thus leaving Maine taxpayers responsible for both increased administrative costs and an ever decreasing federal match rate. It is estimated that the expanded population would cost an additional $800 million over the next decade. This is the same expensive program that had accrued $748 million in unpaid hospital bills that were recently paid. With thousands of frail, vulnerable individuals on wait lists, chronically underfunded nursing homes, and many vitally important programs that need funding, I cannot support another expansion of this program. This one program currently requires a total of $2.5 billion per year. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is seeking a global waiver to give us more flexibility in the program. Other options available for low income Mainers include the sliding scale hospital charity care programs, which offer care with physicians at their offices, and Maine also has more than 150 federally qualified health center (FQHC) locations. And for individuals who earn $11,500 or more per year, the federal health insurance
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?Welfare programs provide an important safety net. With one in three Mainers on some form of government assistance, we are indeed a generous state. In our quest to seek out and maximize matching funds for certain federal programs, others have been pushed aside. I support right-sizing the programs we offer, and we have improved welfare to work programs. With our rapidly aging demographic, it is important to recognize that there are 100% state funded programs that are vitally important and need to be prioritized, such as our aging-in-place programs. We have also been chronically underfunding our nursing homes. I do not support allowing the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at establishments that provide gambling, adult entertainment, or sell alcohol. With my background in dental health, I understand the everyday decisions people make prioritizing their spending. Our growing national and statewide shortage of doctors and dentists who accept Medicaid, as a result of low reimbursement rates, is also a concern. Of additional concern, out of 13,600 births, sadly Maine had almost 1,000 babies born to addicted to substances; substance abuse services that move beyond treatment and focus on recovery are also a priority.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?No
Please explain your position on the minimum wage.Studies have shown that forcing a raise in wages results in fewer people working largely because many employers are operating with very slim profit margins in our emergent economy. Paying employees more means that there will naturally be correlating pressure to increase the cost of goods and services and limits the hiring of new and inexperienced employees. Raising the minimum wage, may hurt the very people it is designed to help by limiting entry level job opportunities. The minimum wage is by design an entry level/ training wage.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?If the majority of people in Maine vote to legalize cannabis and overrule the federal prohibition, it should be taxed and regulated in much the same manner as other similar substances such as alcohol and cigarettes with age and driving restrictions.