Diane M Russell, DemocratFacebook Twitter
Office Sought: Representative - District 39
Occupation: Public Relations & Social Media Manager
University of Southern Maine, Media Studies, (Concentration in Media Criticism) 2005, BA
Hometown: Bryant Pond
Why are you running for office? The work I started on ranked voting reform, rational legalization and energy efficiency investments is not complete and I'd like to see it through. I'd also like to push for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Maine State Constitution, ensuring women are considered equals to men under the eyes of the Constitution.
Maine House District 120 - 124th, 125th, 126th Legislatures
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
How can it not make both moral and economic sense to insure 70,000 more Mainers, including 3,000 veterans?
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?I'd stop doling out tax breaks for the rich. It's time to end Welfare for the Rich.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?The minimum wage should at least be raised to $10.10, but if it had kept pace with inflation - as it was always intended - it would be up over $20 per hour. Try living on $7.50 per hour and see just how quickly the funds run out.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?I've been the leading legislative advocate for legalization for two reason. First, Prohibition has failed by nearly any measurable metric available while costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Second, irrespective of how one feels about legalization, it's here. I've been saying for several years now that it's coming. In fact, I believe the Press Herald printed a rather scathing editorial about my "mischievous" behavior when I first rolled out a bill. However, I was right. It was coming, and now it's here. The question lawmakers should be asking ourselves isn't whether to legalize or not, but how are we going to do it rationally, responsibly and in a manner that most effectively protects our children while bringing in revenue for the state. I'd rather see our taxpayer dollars go toward building schools - which my bill will do - than to a failed Drug War or worse, to the drug cartels. The Legislature has one last chance to get ahead of the issue this year (in fact, we're a bit behind) before a referendum takes this right out of our hands. We can let the industry decide what our laws look like as the casino industry has, or lawmakers - elected by, and responsible to, the people - can do so. I'd rather we have a deliberative, thoughtful approach that ensures the best outcome for the people of Maine. Once the policy framework is in place, then the people of Maine should have the right to vote in a referendum on the question of legalizing. I've done all I could to do this right.