Thomas R Longstaff, DemocratTwitter
Office Sought: Representative - District 109
Occupation: Retired College Professor
Winthrop High School class of 1953;
Cambridge School of Radio Broadcasting, Certificate 1957;
University of Maine at Orono, BA, 1964;
Bangor Theological Seminary, MDiv, 1964;
Columbia University, Ph.D., 1973
Married to Cynthia Curtis Longstaff. Five children, ages 53, 51, 42, 36 and 33
Why are you running for office? Serving the community in which I live has always been important to me and it remains a high priority. While still in high school I served in the Maine National Guard and after graduation I enlisted in the Marine Corps and served for three years during the Korean War. I have been a firefighter in 3 Maine communities and an advanced EMT. I have been active in many non-profit organizations and am currently Chair of the Board of the United Way of Mid-Maine and am on the Board of Directors of the Mid-Maine Global Forum. I am honored to represent the citizens of Waterville in the Legislature.
Moderator of the Town of Unity, 1963; Co-Chair, Waterville Charter Commission, 2004-2005; Waterville City Council, 2006-2010; Maine House of Representatives since 2010
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
Accepting the Medicaid expansion is controversial but I am convinced that providing health care for some 70,000 Mainers, including some 3,000 Veterans is the right thing to do. This program will ease the burden now laid upon taxpayers, hospitals and nursing homes and provide access to medical services which are currently unavailable to too many people.
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?While I do not believe that Maine's public assistance programs are too generous it seems clear to me that some reform of our welfare system is critical. Fraud, either by recipients or providers, is unacceptable. Attempts to identify fraud and improve our programs for public assistance have thus far proved to be only minimally successful. We need to be more aggressive in identifying waste as well as fraud. The Legislature also needs more accurate and precise information about how funds allocated for public assistance are spent.
Do you support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour?Yes
By how much?Ideally I would like to see the State's minimum wage rise to $11.50 an hour but this cannot be done in a single step. I would support raising the minimum wage in increments that make a real difference in the lives of working Mainers. $15,000 per year is not a living wage. Many people are making impossible choices, struggling (often unsuccessfully) to balance the costs of food, fuel, medications and health care. As a state we can do better than this.
Would you support legalization of marijuana?Other
Please explain your position on legalization?I am honestly undecided on this issue. I have heard strong arguments on both sides. Aside from the question of whether marijuana is a gateway drug or not we have many other complicating factors to consider. Currently federal, state and municipal regulations are often in conflict and this is unfair to potential users of marijuana. Would legalization be only for medical marijuana or recreational use as well? Ultimately the state should develop a policy which could be implemented through legislation presented to the voters for their decision in a clearly stated referendum question.