Karen A Gerrish, RepublicanFacebook
Office Sought: Representative - District 20
Noble High School, Berwick, Maine Class of 1986
University of New England, Biddeford, Maine, Elementary Education
University of Southern Maine, Gorham, Maine, Elementary Education
University of Southern Maine, Gorham, Maine Applied Technical Education
One son, age 21 Ryan
Why are you running for office? I have a 21 year old son who I do not want to leave Maine due to lack of opportunity. Maine needs serious tax/welfare reforms. My tax approach would be broad/low. When you go across the board and look at our level of taxation and compare it to the other states we compete against for corporations, workers, and money, we are in a bad position. Our income and sales tax is higher. Our corporate tax is ridiculously high. Unfortunately, as we continue to lose young people and get older as a state, we lose earning age people who work taxable jobs, and our revenue goes down, and the response is typically to raise taxes to fill the gap, which of course makes the problem worse. The answer is to work to increase investment and growth in our state. As that happens, our tax base will grow and broaden and we can lower taxes at all levels, which will then help reverse the tide of decline we have seen for so long. But that will take a firm, unwavering commitment to growth and opportunity at the state. Regarding welfare, Maine is already among the most generous states, when it comes to welfare benefits. The problem is they are so generous, we can not afford them, which jeopardizes support for the truly needy. Our system also sets up perverse incentives, which has caused too many able bodied young people to not work. We should look at things like ending the curtailing cash payments through TANF, and restricting assistance to only those who truly need it. This is why I am running.
Town of Lebanon Budget Committee 2008-2011
Town of Lebanon Board of Selectmen 2011-2014, Chairwoman 12-13
Maine Republican Party Executive Board 2010-2014
Associate Member of Maine Taxpayers United
Nominated by US Senator Susan Collins to represent Maine at the National Republican Women's Summit in Washington DC in 2010 and 2011.
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
We have seen what reckless expansions of Medicaid have brought Maine, as the state was unable to afford payments to hospitals, resulting in the massive hospital debt we just dealt with this year. Expanding Medicaid to cover able bodied, working age adults will only make our problems worse.
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?Yes
What, if anything, would you change about welfare?As I said above Maine is already among the most generous states in America, when it comes to welfare benefits. The problem is they are so generous, we can not afford them, which jeopardizes support for the truly needy. Our system also sets up perverse incentives, which has caused too many able bodied young people to not work, even though they can. We should look at things like ending the welfare benefit cliffs, curtailing cash payments through TANF, and restricting assistance to only those who truly need it.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?No
Please explain your position on the minimum wage.I believe raising the minimum wage only hurts the small business person here in Maine. When small business owners are forced to pay an increased wage to seasonal workers such as teenagers, they, then cannot afford to give a needed raise to the single mother who earns and deserves it. Raising the minimum wage hurts small business owners here in Maine.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?No
Please explain your position on legalization?As a mother and an educator I will never support the legalization of marijuana.