2014 maine elections
Voters Guide
2014 maine elections
Voters Guide
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Richard Burns, Unenrolled


Office Sought: Senator - District 34

Age: 57

Occupation: Carpenter/Artist


B.A. Social Science, Univ. of Maine, Augusta 2003


Married, five children, five grandchildren.

Hometown: Berwick

Why are you running for office? "We, the people," have been separated from the machinery of government by a two-party monopoly that has created a barrier between use and the effective functions of government. Government should look and sound like the people it represents. It does not, and it will not, unless the demand for change emanates from the people, upward. If we want good government, we must stand up for it... speak up for it... and run for the offices that permit us the opportunity to make government both fair and functional.

Poltical Experience:

Elected to the Maine House of Representatives from 2004-2008 and served on the Health and Human Service, as well as, The Labor Committee. I gave up my seat in the house to run for the senate seat after observing the forces of special interest lobbies concentrating their influence in that body in an effort to undo the work achieved in bipartisan fashion in the larger body, the house.

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?Other

I am an advocate for a Single Payer Universal Health Care System that would put health care back in the hands of the people. It should be noted that the private sector health insurance industry is also adversely impacted by the loss of jobs from global trade. As the jobs, that once provided health insurance as a benefit, leave The United States for elsewhere, the insurance market shrinks. As the market becomes smaller, rates paid by those left in the market necessarily go up. As rates go up, those remaining employers are forced to drop insurance policies or shift the burdensome costs to their employees. It is an unsustainable system that must make way for a Single Payer system... it will not be "free" but it will be more cost-effective than the current and failing system.

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?Other

What, if anything, would you change about welfare?The Preamble of the United States Constitution asserts that the role of our constitutional government is to "promote the general welfare." This, in my opinion, does not mean that we should create "welfare programs." It means that we, as a nation, are obligated to create an economy of opportunity for all members of society. Unfair global trade agreements have cost Maine more than 332,000 manufacturing jobs since the advent of NAFTA and the empowerment of the World Trade Organization. This has had an adverse impact not just on Maine Families but also on Maine's small business economy which is dependent upon consumers having earned income to spend on Main Street. As more jobs leave the state, the demand for welfare programs that burden the taxpayer grows. The Trans-Pacific-Partnership, yet another global trade agreement being negotiated in Washington D.C. can only mean the loss of even more jobs and a demand for even more programs. It is beyond the time for Maine's Legislature to do more than give lip-service to the problem. We need to collaborate with other state legislatures and demand that the federal government "promote the general welfare" by revising trade so that it does not continue to undermine our families, our state and our nation. Welfare programs are an important social security system for our neighbors in need but they are not a way of life for Mainers eager to work and provide for themselves and their families.

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

Please explain your position on the minimum wage.I'm an advocate for Living Wages and refer frequently to the United States Supreme Court Case, West Coast hotel vs Parrish. The court said that to pay less than a living wage imposes an unfair burden on the rest of society, who with their tax dollars must subsidize the living of the underpaid worker. The way to welfare reform is to stop subsidizing big-business by allowing them to pay workers less than their due and creating government programs funding by the rest of society to pick up the slack.

Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes

Please explain your position on legalization?The costs associated with the criminalization of a natural herb have become increasingly burdensome. Use of this herb by adults is a personal choice that can just as easily be policed in the same fashion as alcohol consumption. Additionally, it creates a revenue stream, which may then reduce property-tax burden; it brings hemp back into the Maine economy creating both farming and textile opportunities. Marijuana is proving itself to be a major player in the realm of medicine. Maine’s economy can benefit significantly from the decriminalization of the herb, as well as research and development that promote its medicinal values.