2014 maine elections
Voters Guide
2014 maine elections
Voters Guide
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Karleton S Ward, Republican


Office Sought: Representative - District 131

Age: 50

Occupation: Owner & President, Nickerson & O'Day Construction, Brewer, Maine


University of Maine, Associate of Science in Civil Engineering

University of Maine, Bachelor of Science in Construction Management (1993), Summa Cum Laude, Top of Class - College of Engineering-1993

Chi Epsilon, National Civil Engineering Honor Society

Phi Kappa Phi, UMaine University-wide Honor Society

Tau Alpha Pi, National Engineering Technology Honor Society

Graduate, Associated General Contractors Project Manager (1997) and Executive Management (2001) Programs, Dallas, TX

Bangor Region Leadership Institute (1998)

Maine Development Foundation Leadership Maine (2009)

LEED-Accredited Design Professional (2009)

Inductee - UMaine Engineering "Hall of Fame", Francis Crowe Society (2008)


Married 27 years to Dr. Kathy Ward, partner at Penobscot Eye Care in Brewer

Katie, age 20, 3rd year pre-med at Penn

Ryan, age 18, 1st year pre-med at Johns Hopkins

Braeden, age 13, freshman at John Bapst Memorial High School, Bangor

Hometown: Dedham

Why are you running for office? A native Mainer, I have watched as 40 years of single-party control of the Legislature has left our state where we are losing our best and brightest to a massive brain-drain out-migration, our roads are graded "D" by the American Society of Civil Engineers, our energy costs are cost-prohibitive for business, our worker's comp system is too expensive, our total tax burden ranks us consistently in the top ten, and our internet infrastructure is second rate. The ruling party's answer: more welfare and higher taxes, crippling employment, killing jobs and driving employers away while hurting those that hang on in business in Maine. Is it any wonder that Maine has become the oldest average-age state in the Union? Is it any wonder 13 of 16 Maine counties shrank in population last year? Is it any wonder out state's population went down last year? Is it any wonder that Forbes Magazine ranks DEAD LAST for business climate in America? We can do better and we must. I will take my experience operation a competitive business in a tough industry (construction) in the toughest possible business climate and I will illuminate, educate and connect the dots directly to the Maine people. We will show them that "business as usual" by the ruling party hasn't worked...and never will. And over time, we can turn our Ship of State away from the maelstrom that we are tipping into - a whirlpool caused by shortsightedness and misplaced priorities. It all starts now.

Poltical Experience:

I have taken an increasingly active role in private lobbying related to construction and education issues in my role on the Board of Directors of the Associated General Contractors of Maine and the Board of Trustees of John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor. As the President and CEO of one of Maine's largest construction companies, I have weighed in with our legislators regarding issues such as workman's compensation, taxation, lead abatement, road maintenance, education funding, and many others. I am a graduate of the Maine Development Foundation's Leadership Maine (Omicron Class) which included a thorough program on legislative function and when elected, I will be the third member of that class serving in the House. My practical and business management experience and fresh perspective and formal training has more than adequately prepared me for this important work. I will be active - unlike my opponent, who, after 1 term several years ago (in which she was involved in just 3 bills of any substance) earned the descriptor "invisible" and was promptly voted out of office. The voters expected better and they spoke loud and clear.

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

I attended all 7 of my annual town meetings this spring and vowed that I would "vote my town's conscience over my own". I have knocked on over 2000 doors in my District (thus far) and overwhelmingly, the feeling with my voters is 1) we already have too much welfare in Maine and 2) the Federal Government is already $17,500,000,000,000.00 in debt and we cannot take on any more. Therefore, I would reflect THEIR feelings and vote against.

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?Our eligibility standards are already too easy to meet. I've spoken to dozens of Mainers who tell me the same thing: we have created a permanent class of welfare-recipients who choose that lifestyle over work because the system encourages it by making it more profitable to receive the various available welfare benefits. DHHS aggressively pushes and sells these programs to Mainers who could be working. My voters feel this is a path to ruin and Maine needs to change direction. I would suggest providing job training to welfare recipients - costs to be reimbursed to the State. My voters also strongly favor measures designed to reduce and eliminate welfare fraud and to create a "delay" between moving to Maine and receiving welfare. These reforms would discourage the influx of folks we've witnessed who come to Maine because of our welfare system. It is time to get this program back to what Mainers originally envisioned for it: a safety net of last resort - NOT a permanent way of life.

Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes

By how much?Minimum wage is not meant to be the wage for a family breadwinner. It it almost exclusively a wage paid to very-low skill, entry level, single employees. That minimum wage is intentionally low is an incentive for inexperienced, untrained and typically young employees to invest in building their skill and increasing their "stock value". Most voters I've spoken with would like to see a modest increase to help keep pace with inflation - around $1.00/hour. I would represent their sentiments.

Would you support legalization of marijuana?No

Please explain your position on legalization?All my life, I've worked to help make the lives of others better...particularly young people. And it has been proven, beyond any medical doubt, that marijuana use permanently damages brain function and actually injures the brain - particularly younger folks. I could never, in good conscience, agree to legalize something that I know is damaging to kids. And my constituents agree by a wide majority. The fact that use has become more common and there is the potential for revenue (tax) generation from this makes no difference to them. I'd also like to comment on the questions being asked. I would prefer to be asked about issues that could move this state forward such as lowering taxes, opening up our ports, providing more available natural gas, reducing the size of state government and getting our workman's comp system more in line with other states. Legalizing marijuana may be a hot-button issue in Portland but the rest of the state is suffering...and my focus will be there. Yours should be too.