Mark R Andre, Republicanhttp://markandre110.com
Office Sought: Representative - District 110
Occupation: Nurseryman, self-employed
Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA 1988-92. BA History and Political Science.
Married 15 years. 3 children ages 13, 11, 6
Why are you running for office? I am running for State Representative of District 110 to reduce wasteful spending by the Maine Legislature and reduce the tax burden on the hard working families of Oakland and Waterville. Over the course of the past few years, Waterville has seen its fair share of tax dollars spent on projects that do little to improve economic conditions and create jobs for our area. Millions of dollars spent on new police and fire stations with little regard paid to the wishes of taxpayers who are expected to fund them. Most recently, $44,000 spent to fund a study for a possible over or underpass at the intersection between Main Street and the Hathaway site. Waterville's current Mayor has blamed Maine's Governor for the Town Councils' spending habits, stating that cuts to state Municipal Revenue Sharing are the reason Waterville's streets are now lined with purple garbage bags. My opponent in the race has shared in this criticism, arguing for increased state Municipal Revenue Sharing to fund the wasteful spending of not only Waterville, but municipalities throughout Maine. There is a clear choice facing voters this November. Continue to elect politicians who have a proven record of spending money on projects that make little to no meaningful difference in their lives or elect individuals that know the difference between your wallet and their wallet. For the record, I know the difference and if I'm forced to spend a dollar of your money, I will make sure it's a dollar well spent.
Candidate for the Maine Legislature District 76, 2012. Board of Directors, Venture Out Condominium Association 2000-2003. Monroe County Tourist Development Council District Advisory Board 1999-2003.
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 expansion of Medicaid that is offered under the Affordable Care Act is only a short term fix to the health care problems our state faces. When the federal subsidy expires, the unaffordable cost of Medicaid expansion will be passed on to Maine taxpayers and the resulting tax increases will pose an unbearable burden. In general, the cost of providing health care in our country has increased as a result of complex billing and administrative regulatory requirements. In many cases, high overhead costs have forced doctors to close their private practices and move into group settings, decreasing competition. The ACA only worsens the problem by further increasing the complexity and cost of providing health care services. It is the wrong approach. Subsidizing unaffordable health care only makes it unaffordable for everyone. The right approach is to look at ways to uncomplicate the system and reduce the cost of providing health care. Once this is done, the goal of providing health care to all Americans, regardless of income, will seem a much more attainable goal.
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 the parent of a handicapped child, I know only too well the importance public assistance programs in Maine. While my family has been fortunate enough to be able to provide for our daughter without the use public assistance programs to date, if anything ever happened to my wife and I, she would be completely reliant on the generosity of others for not only her basic care, but survival. That said, there has been a disturbing trend in welfare services in Maine. We are taxing working Maine families that can little afford to give and providing subsidies to those who, in many cases, appear better off than the person paying the tax. I have spoken to well over 100 local business owners since August and there is a common story repeated often. People are not taking available employment because it might interfere with the State benefits they receive. This is not a personal problem with people not wanting to work. People are making a rational financial decision between what the State is offering in benefits versus what an employer is offering in pay. The State is winning. I'm not smart enough to know what the ultimate fix to this trend is. I only know that if it doesn't change, these programs may not be around for children like my daughter who may need them some day. We need to have an open bi-partisan discussion on this issue without the associated political rhetoric.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Other
Please explain your position on the minimum wage.The current pressure to raise minimum wages has been caused by inflation in the basic costs of living over the past few years, particularly in food and energy. It is hard to argue that $7.50 per hour is a sufficient wage to support a family on. What must be realized however is that many small business owners and their customers have been hurt by inflation as well. Sales, particularly at small retail stores, are down. I have spoken to many business owners that work 60-80 hours per week, are losing money on their businesses, and have had to take out loans to pay their employees. One owner asked if it was possible to have the minimum wage applied to him. Given current business conditions, raising the minimum wage will cost Maine jobs and many small businesses. Better to attack the inflation that is plaguing both employees and businesses alike. Repealing the ethanol mandate, which diverts over 1/3 of our corn production to fuel production and has resulted in massive inflation in food costs for all Maine citizens, would be a good starting point. Once inflation is controlled and business conditions improve, I would support increasing the minimum wage.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?Well over half the residents of Maine have smoked marijuana. Like alcohol prohibition in the 1920's, it is unreasonable for government to restrict and criminalize individuals for the enjoyment of a practice that is viewed as being acceptable by the overwhelming majority of its citizens. I also believe we should move rapidly toward legalization. There would be a distinct advantage to being the first state in the Northeast to legalize. Maine tax revenues would see a two fold increase from increased tourism revenues and excise taxes on marijuana sales. This would go a long way in supporting many of the valued programs our State offers, including education. It would seem a small tradeoff for permitting a practice people are already freely engaging in anyway.