Roger J Katz, Republicanhttp://rogerkatzforsenate.comFacebook
Office Sought: Senator - District 15
Cony High School Class of 1967
Harvard College BA 1971
Boston University Law School JD 1975
Married to Birdie Katz 2 kids: Jonathan(32) and Shari (30)
Why are you running for office? After being Mayor of Augusta, I have served in the State Senate for the last four years. I consider it an honor every single day I walk into the State House. It is a privilege to work on the important issues of the day: how can we create an economic environment that encourages individuals and businesses to invest and create new jobs? How can we increase natural gas supply and alternative energies to help lower electric costs? How can we ramp up to a 21st century education system so that our kids can compete worldwide? How can we adopt sensible welfare reform while protecting the most vulnerable among us? How can we pass comprehensive tax reform to lower our reliance on the regressive local property tax? Those are among the questions I ask myself each day. I am proud that I have always approached my work in a bipartisan way, whether as Mayor or Senator. We don't need "us vs. them" between the two parties; we need to work across the aisle to get things done. And whether as a member of the Appropriations Committee passing several bipartisan budgets or on the Government Oversight Committee cleaning up the mess at the Turnpike Authority or looking into the operations of Riverview, I hope I have earned your trust.
Augusta Mayor 2006-2011; State Senator 2011-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?Yes
This is an example where I tried to find common ground between the two parties. I introduced the compromise legislation that would have expanded Mainecare but ended our participation when the federal government stopped paying 100% of the cost. My bill also would have mandated savings within Mainecare and used those savings to provide more services to the developmentally disabled, who are the most vulnerable among us. The legislation passed in both the House and Senate but we were unable to muster the votes to overcome a veto by the Chief Executive. I feel that this expansion, funded with federal dollars, would have improved the health of Mainers while at the same time infusing almost $1 billion into the Maine economy. By failing to pass this, that money is now going to help other states.
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?We clearly must provide a safety net to help the most vulnerable and we certainly need to provide compassionate help for those going through a crisis in their life. At the same time we must avoid creating a culture of dependent among those who do not need our continuing help. We do need sensible reform. In the last Legislature, I negotiated the compromise which put in place a 5 year limit on TANF, subject to a few narrow exceptions. This last year I worked hard to impose a work search requirement on people before they receive benefits. I though those were common sense changes and, if re-elected, I will continue to work on these issues.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Other
Please explain your position on the minimum wage.I am not yet decided. However, giving the reduced buying power of $7.50 since it was adopted years ago, I am open to the discussion, including possibly carving out exceptions for younger or student workers.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Other
Please explain your position on legalization?Let's sit back, take a deep breath (no pun intended) and let the experiments in Colorado and Washington State play out and see how it works out there.