Ryan M Fecteau, Democrathttp://www.fecteauforbiddeford.com/Facebook Twitter
Office Sought: Representative - District 11
Occupation: Editorial Director
Biddeford High School, 2006-2010
The Catholic University of America, BA in Political Science and Minor in Theology/Religious Studies, 2010-2014
Why are you running for office? The days of textile manufacturing down by the Saco River are over — that is no secret. This reality has forced our city to rebrand, reimagine, and reshape itself. A growing university and a revitalized Main Street are vital to the nourishment of Biddeford’s new potential. The narrative across the state is very similar: property taxes are rising, the workforce is growing old, and young people are seeking employment in other states. 64% of students at the University of New England (UNE) come from cities and towns outside of Maine. This is an advantageous figure for Biddeford. If more of these students choose to live and work in Biddeford, businesses on Main Street to hospitals like Maine Medical Center will benefit. It also diversifies our population with people who offer a wide-range of experiences. In six years time, the City of Philadelphia experienced a jump from 29% to 48% of alumni who chose to reside in the city post-graduation. Biddeford should strive for encouraging similar investment. I am running to be the next representative from Biddeford's District 11, because I will work tirelessly to find ways to attract young people back to Maine. By doing so, we will have the opportunity to reduce rising property taxes, rejuvenate the workforce, and maintain resources and programs that are critical to our seniors!
Served as a member of the 2011-2012 Charter Commission which proposed several changes to the city’s charter and Chairman of the Biddeford Democratic Committee from 2012-2013.
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
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has proven to live up to its name. California’s full-fledged adoption of the law has demonstrated that the premiums are actually much lower than anticipated. Expanding health care to more than 70,000 Mainers including 3,000 veterans through the ACA should have been a deal that Governor LePage accepted in May of 2013. Instead, he vetoed the legislation and sold out those who are most in need of MaineCare expansion. Even Governor Chris Christie saw the good in expanding Medicaid in his state of New Jersey.
We have seen the cost burden placed on people who are simply trying to maintain their health. The hesitation of handing those last few dollars to the pharmacists for medication is a reality for far too many. Healthcare should not be a luxury for those with high-earning jobs. Rather, it should be a system of care afforded to all. Vermont is moving closer to a single-payer healthcare system — Maine should follow suit.
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?First and foremost, this question is fundamentally flawed. The suggestion that welfare programs are "too generous" connotes these programs as some sort of gift to those who receive it. Giving someone a birthday gift or when you drop some change in the tip jar at your favorite ice cream parlor, these are acts of generosity. Welfare programs should never be considered generosity of any kind. They are absolutely critical to society. In 1994, Peter Walker of The Independent captured what was taking place in New Zealand after the country scrapped its social welfare programs. In just three years, the country experienced some challenges. Walker reports, "The numbers in poverty (as defined by a 1972 Royal Commission) rose from 360,000 in 1990 to 510,000 in 1993, about one- seventh of the population." He also reported that child abuse and neglect rose by 60 percent and those incarcerated increased by 10 percent. On top of all this, a citizen in New Zealand became more likely a victim of a crime than any citizen living in an industrialized nation. What am I trying to say here? Social welfare programs contribute to our economic security, our safety, and give citizens the best opportunity to get back to work. Do I think programs are run effectively? Well, certainly there is room for improvement. Welfare programs need to reflect 21st Century challenges. This and stimulating job growth should be the focus of those who want to improve our state.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?The discussion regarding welfare and the emotions that flare when it concerns alleged abuse are intricately linked to this very discussion. In fact, people should really consider making the issue of minimum wage their greatest concern, because at the end of the day if we cannot offer people living wages, they simply will not be able to afford to keep a job. Think about what goes into maintaining an employment. If you are a single mother, for example, you will have to find some sort of child care, transportation to work, a place to live, and food. Will $7.50 at 40 hours a week suffice? The math is pretty easy and the yearly figure is pretty disappointing. We need to find a way to raise the minimum wage while protecting the ability of Maine's small businesses to meet payroll. I do believe that $10.10 an hour takes the state closer to achieving justice for workers, but we must ensure that small businesses are not forced to close up shop as result. It seems to me that boxing the minimum wage into a blanket policy that applies to all businesses does not meet the needs of the business diversity in our state.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?Maine has not met the voter's referendum that education be funded at 55% and the lack of revenue certainly plays a large role in this failure. I support way to create revenues beyond slashing budgets and I truly believe that the regulation and legalization of marijuana provides us with a way of doing so.