Ralph Chapman, Democrathttp://ralphchapman.org
Office Sought: Representative - District 133
Occupation: Education / Training Consultant
Tufts University, BS Applied Physics, 1973
Married with five grown children, mid twenties to mid thirties.
Why are you running for office? Public policy formation requires analytical problem solving talent, communication skills, and most importantly, an understanding of types and use of power in group dynamics. Unfortunately, most of our governmental systems are based on a carrot-and-stick power structure which inherently tends toward corruption. Inspirational power, the far more effective type of power, is discouraged by the legislative structure. For a very long time, we have tried to elect better people, and we have tried to promote better policies. The outcome has been a more dysfunctional government, a polarized electorate, and a hodge-podge of inconsistent, sometimes whimsical, policies. The problem is not the quality of the people running for office.... most of my legislative colleagues are decent, sincere people. What is missing, is a more wide spread knowledge of how to work on problem solutions with groups of people with widely varying perspectives: in short, leadership capabilities. We can all make a difference by teaching leadership skills to our children and helping one another in learning these skills. It has taken me four years in the legislature to arrive at this point in my understanding of the systemic problem with the legislative process. I hope to be able to positively impact the process with this increased understanding.
I am a first generation politician... no one else in my extended family has run for elected office. I spent six years (two terms) on the publicly elected Budget & Advisory Committee in my home town of Brooksville. Since then I have been a state representative for four years (two terms), and am running for re-election to my third term.
6 years Budget & Advisory Committee 2004 - 2010
2 years 125th Legislature 2010 - 2012
2 years 126th Legislature 2013 - 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?Yes
Tens of thousands of Mainers could have health insurance at little to no cost to Maine taxpayers. The rejection of Medicaid expansion seems to be related to the fear that Maine taxpayers will be stuck with the costs if the federal government does not follow through with their stated commitment.
This fear does not take into account our ability to make changes in the system in the future, if needed. Meanwhile, denial of health insurance for our neighbors costs us all more in the long run.
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?No
What, if anything, would you change about welfare?Welfare is a last resort. To reduce the dependence on welfare requires boosting the ability of people to find gainful employment that pays a liveable wage and provides needed flexibility to accommodate transportation needs, child care needs, and elder care needs. Education, workforce training, and retraining efforts could be improved. The rebuilding of the middle class will be an important step. Lack of providing welfare does not necessarily reduce public expenditures, it merely shifts costs to public costs in emergency room care, criminal justice system involvement, etc.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?Minimum wage should be scaled with the federal poverty level for a family of four. This allows for reasonable health, child, and elder care. At present, with a 2014 federal poverty level for a family of four at $459 per week, the poverty level is reached (for a forty hour week) with an hourly wage of $11.50 per hour. This should be adjusted once per year to track the federal poverty level determination. The result will be a reduction in public assistance programs, additional disposable income to boost the economy, and a reduction in the societal angst arguing about welfare so that we can concentrate on rebuilding the middle class.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?Marijuana use is pervasive. It's illegal status undermines the trust and effectiveness of law enforcement. The underground market helps feed other illegal activities. The effects of marijuana use are not as severe as those from alcohol or opioids. Legalization provides a mechanism that simultaneously reduces the underground market, allows for quality control, allows for an additional revenue stream for governmental functions, and provides a transparent system for changing the regulatory environment, as needed.