Samuel K Chandler, Independent Greenhttp://www.mainegreens.orgFacebook
Office Sought: Representative - District 36
Occupation: Teacher/Social Worker
Bachelor of Music Performance with a Jazz Piano Concentration --- University of Southern Maine --- Spring, 2012
I have many friends who I consider chosen family, and some of them have children.
Why are you running for office? Too many people in Maine are struggling while wealthy pockets are growing deeper. I believe there is an urgent need for a refocusing of our state resources on the poor and currently underserved. As a social worker and teacher, I have seen first hand the many ways our current systems bring people down. I'm running as a member of the Green Independent party because we are the only party which does not accept corporate donations. I believe the people of Maine are tired of the duplicitous political system, with ideologies being swayed by the power of the corporate dollar. I want to be a public servant who focuses on providing energy and ideas to accomplish great and meaningful legislation that fits the needs of the wonderful populous of Maine.
I've worked on several issue and political campaigns. My political experience is rooted in my experience as a social worker and musician, which has connected me to areas of legislative need in areas such as mental health, housing and food scarcity. I have since researched potential policy solutions for these issues and the other which are listed on my platform.
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
As somebody who would have qualified for health coverage if this expansion had been accepted, this issue hits close to home. While I support and will work for a state run single-payer healthcare system, I can’t imagine denying federal funding which would lead to healthcare for Maine’s citizens. That being said, the forced buy-in to private insurance is a poor model, which has led to the United States having the most expensive healthcare model in the world, while having one of the least effective amongst developed countries. It’s time that we institute a single payer system, allowing for reduced bureaucratic costs and executive payout, as well as the freedom to purchase pharmaceuticals at a large scale for the best price.
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 would love to see reduced dependence on our current welfare systems. Through implementation of community-based organizations and cooperatives, we could see communities helping to reduce the burden on the state to help those in need. Caring for people in economic, physical and mental crisis is the duty of all Mainers, at the community, city and state level. The weight on our state systems is heavy but if we work together we can reduce that burden. But! We cannot underfund the programs we have in place. I would fully fund our welfare systems so all those in need of access would have access. Then we could begin to implement alternatives that could reduce pressure on those systems. Underfunded programs often cannot function properly, and if the programs aren’t functioning, then they don’t serve their given purpose, which ends up costing the state even more money. Programs like food stamps, if successful, pay money into our local economy, and benefit all.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?I'm in support of the $15/hr minimum wage increase. This would be a two tiered increase, wherein businesses with over 500 employees (mostly out-of-state) would be required to raise wages to $15/hr starting in 2015, and businesses with under 500 employees would have the wage increase phased in over the course of the next 6-8 years. Big business can afford to pay their workers more. The rest of the businesses would follow suit slowly, and would adapt to a changing economy, where more wealth would be flowing in our local communities. People formerly requiring state assistance would now be being paid a living wage and could purchase goods and services from other Mainers. This would be part of my plan to revitalize our communities by circulating wealth through all our citizens.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Yes
Please explain your position on legalization?I support taxing and regulating marijuana sales at the state level while encouraging farmers to grow what is currently the United State's #1 cash crop. This would provide wealth to many of our rural communities which over the past 50-100 years have lost the industries they used to depend on. Decriminalizing marijuana would allow us to release the disproportionately non-white prison population who are incarcerated for non-violent, non-threatening crimes. It would also reduce the strength of the crime-based black market trade of illegal substances in our state, as people are given a cheaper, legal option. I believe in ending marijuana prohibition. Paired with this should be legalizing the growing of hemp in Maine, which could be a useful crop for many of our up and coming young farming communities across the state.