Sonja Sleeper, Republicanhttp://nuasleeper.comFacebook Twitter
Office Sought: Representative - District 92
The American School of Kinshasa, Zaire. Now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo
University of New Hampshire, 1985 Degree in Political Science
Rutgers University, 1997 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography and Graphic Design. Academic Honors
I am single with no children. I do have four nephews, 1 niece and 3 great nephews along with two brothers, and one sister.
Hometown: South Thomaston
Why are you running for office? I am running for office to see what I can do to make a difference. I would like to start the conversation on tax reform and relief, another way to fund education, discuss reforms to public assistance programs and work to develop better opportunities for the people of Maine. People are tired and are losing faith in government or depend upon services for a living. Everyone complains about the high cost of government, education, living and the lack of opportunity. I want to focus on fixing existing services and reforming the current tax system rather than promote new. I believe there is room for discussion, compromise, relief, opportunities and a better State of Maine for the people who live and work here.
I have not previously held office although I have run for office a couple times before, I ran for Selectman in South Thomaston twice. I was not elected but that is how it goes and I count those attempts as a learning experience. In addition to running for office, I have been politically active for about 7 years now. I participate in party events making phone calls, hanging literature, organizing meetings and presentations, going to party rallys and even marched in a couple protests, notably the march on Washington DC on September 12 in 2009, and again when they had the final vote on the health plan. I regularly attended county and town meetings and have developed into a good public speaker. I was elected to party office a few times, secretary, vice chair and served as precinct captain. I have volunteered for a couple programs, neighborhood watch and teaching art in an after school program.
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?No
I do not think this expansion would be of benefit to the State of Maine, in the short or long term. Currently, it is not cost effective and it is not fair to those who are of lower income but have to purchase employer sponsored plans. Single adults who are of lower income can purchase affordable insurance on the federal exchange for as low as $29.00 a month (17,500/yr family of 2). Go to http://Kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator, to calculate your rate. I would much rather work to reform the current system to improve benefits and costs for those who need it. Mental heath is underfunded and all should be aware that the services available are poor as noted in recent news.
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?Yes
What, if anything, would you change about welfare?I would rather the term welfare was not used, public assistance programs are more accurate. There are many available to individuals in need and many are funded or subsidized by the federal government. Currently Maine's contribution to public assistance absorbs about 35% of the general fund budget, 23% of that goes towards MaineCare. This is before any federal subsidies. Education takes about 46% leaving only 25% to fund the balance of government services (excluding those funded by other sources, the DOT for example has a separate budget). There are areas of overlap in programs if we could streamline them we could improve funding and delivery. A review of some programs could result in changes to better target areas of need, say job training. For some programs as in MaineCare federal subsides cover only 68% of the cost.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?No
Please explain your position on the minimum wage.It is a short term fix and overused political tool. I would rather work on ways to improve opportunities and reform the tax and regulatory system to reduce costs and let people keep more of their money which would reduce the cost of living rather than increase it.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?No
Please explain your position on legalization?Quite simply it is a drug, if you use it, you get intoxicated and are no good for anything for a couple hours or more. You cannot operate machinery nor are you coherent in any conversation. I don't care if it is recreational or not, I just don't think it is good for anyone and especially bad for adolescents while their brains and personalities are still developing. Medicinal use?, not for that either, except to note that it's medicinal properties are available in pill form, which seems better that choosing your "brand" at a clinic.