Michael D Thibodeau, Republicanhttp://mainesenategop.comFacebook Twitter
Office Sought: Senator - District 11
Occupation: Business Owner
Graduated from Hampden Academy in 1984
Married to Stacy Thibodeau
Two daughters, ages 24 & 25
Why are you running for office? I am extremely optimistic about Maine’s future. We have a workforce that is second to none in the country, abundant resources, and I believe untapped potential. At the same time, I’m concerned about our young people leaving Maine in search of better opportunities. In the past four years, we have made tremendous strides in lowering taxes, removing regulatory barriers, reforming welfare, and paying down our hospital debt. Much more needs to be done, however, in order to make Maine more welcoming to businesses that will bring jobs, allowing our children and grandchildren to stay in Maine and raise their families here. In order to do that, we need to have an efficient government that Maine can afford, and I am certain that I can help make that happen by continuing to serve in the Maine Legislature. I have been part of the solution in Augusta. When I speak with people in my district and listen to their stories about their struggles and triumphs, I am reminded of why I ran for office in the first place: to be a public servant to all of my constituents, regardless of their party affiliation, and to contribute my service to this State that has been so good to me and my family.
Winterport Board of Selectmen-1984-1987; Maine House of Representatives: 2006-2010; Maine Senate: 2010-Present; Senate Republican Leader: 2012-Present
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
Maine has already expanded its Medicaid program more than most states. This expansion of 100 percent government funded health care has put Maine in a financial bind. It created more than $700 million in hospital debt that we just recently paid off. Increasing enrollment in the program has been the source of yearly cost overruns in the state budget. In the past two years, the Legislature has looked at nearly a half dozen proposals to expand this "free" health care yet again to mostly able-bodied Mainers who are capable of working. We simply cannot afford it. Moreover, the over-enrollment of this program has come at the cost of elderly Mainers and those with disabilities who remain on waiting lists for vital services.
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?We need to protect the social safety net for those who truly need it. We do them a disservice when we tolerate welfare abuse. Recent studies have shown that EBT cards are being used at an alarming rate outside of the State of Maine and even at places like Disneyworld. Time and time again, we are hearing news reports about EBT cards being part of items confiscated during drug arrests. We have all heard or know directly of cases where people are gaming the system and have made welfare a way of life. We have an obligation to take care of the elderly and the disabled, and to provide temporary assistance to those who have fallen on difficult times. Those people should not have to compete for limited resources with those who are abusing the system.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Other
Please explain your position on the minimum wage.I think it is important to first note that Maine’s minimum wage is already higher than the federal rate. We need to proceed very cautiously any time we are considering increasing the cost of doing business in Maine, which raising the minimum wage would do. Higher operating costs provide a disincentive for businesses to locate or stay in our state. I believe the minimum wage discussion is something that should happen at the federal level. What I would like to do is foster a business climate in Maine that creates a higher effective minimum wage-one where the economy is so strong that the demand for labor drives up the rate. We see that in Bar Harbor where the demand for workers is so high during the summer months that it’s almost unheard of to see workers starting at minimum wage. In North Dakota, which is currently experiencing unprecedented growth, Wal-Mart was recently offering more than $17.00 per hour for entry level jobs. A strong economy here in Maine will drive up the effective minimum wage, and that will benefit all of us.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?No
Please explain your position on legalization?No