2016-10-14 / Front Page

Lauzon challenges Grohman for House District 12

Staff Writer

Grohman Grohman BIDDEFORD — In the race for House District 12, which covers part of Biddeford, incumbent Democrat Martin Grohman is hoping to retain his seat in the Legislature against political newcomer and Independent candidate Matt Lauzon.

Grohman, 48, is the co-founder of a Biddefordbased manufacturing company, and was first elected in 2014. A husband and father of two, he grew up as the youngest of eight children on a dairy farm in Carthage and says he “understand(s) what it means to do the chores.”

Grohman said he is seeking reelection to be an “advocate” for the citizens of Biddeford, with the goals of reducing government spending and property taxes while boosting economic development in the city.

“I am dedicated to creating public-private partnerships and other initiatives to spur economic development, revitalize neighborhoods and continue to support our growing downtown business districts,” he said.

Lauzon Lauzon Lauzon, 31, was born and raised in Biddeford. A graduate of Babson College in Boston, he was recognized as a distinguished alumnus for his work and volunteerism. While in college, Lauzon started his own company, Gemvara.com, which is now a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Co.

Lauzon said he became interested in state government when he represented Biddeford High School at Dirigo Boys State, where he was elected governor. He said he came back to Biddeford last summer to focus on advocacy work, and is running for the Legislature to ensure people’s representation in government.

“I believe government works best when all voices are heard,” Lauzon said. “My approach is driven by what I’m hearing from you, the citizen. As an independent candidate, you are the only people I am beholden to.”

Property taxes are among Grohman’s top concerns. He is proud of the work conducted in the 127th Legislature to restore the Homestead Exemption, which had expired in 2010, and said he cast a key vote to bring $700,000 in education funding to Biddeford.

Grohman said he also supports “sensible” investments in infrastructure.

“Aging roads, bridges and water systems are safety and security issues,” he said. “Working together, we need to get our fair share from the state.”

Lauzon said he wants to bring large employers to Biddeford to bolster the city’s employment, and seeks to make health care and energy affordable for those living in poverty or with fixed incomes.

“My experience in business and investing can be used to attract and retain employers that provide high quality jobs,” he said. “With my roots here, I have seen and felt the impacts of layoffs.”

Both candidates say solving the state’s opioid crisis will be a top priority if elected.

Grohman said during his time as a legislator, he has toured suboxone clinics, met with sober house therapy groups, and met with police to understand what is being done to combat addiction at the community level.

Grohman said he supported legislation, now in effect, that imposed limits on prescription painkiller drugs and requires that prescriptions be entered into a database to prevent what he calls “doctor shopping.”

He also voted to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that allows pharmacists to dispense Narcan without a prescription, he said.

“We have to solve the epidemic of opiate abuse in our state,” Grohman said. “We’ve tried to arrest our way out of the problem, and that has not worked.”

Lauzon called the opioid crisis “our state’s biggest challenge, by far.”

“As I knock on doors in my district, I am hearing almost unanimously that this is the top concern people have,” he said. He acknowledges that an effort is being made to find solutions, but believes more needs to be done by both policy makers and the public.

“I believe it is more a matter of hearing all voices and finding a balance of programs that help those seeking help get it, make it clear to heroin dealers that we are not open for business and we bring people together to raise awareness to prevent more people from becoming addicted,” he said. “... I have the experience with advocacy to be a strong voice in the fight to solve the heroin crisis.”

Grohman said his experience and temperament give him an edge over his opponent, and noted his “wide and unusual combination” of endorsements from agencies such as the Maine League of Conservation Voters, Maine Education Association, Maine State Employees Association and the Maine Credit Union League, among others.

Grohman also said he hopes to continue bringing bipartisanship to the Legislature, having been ranked as the most bipartisan legislator in the current session.

Lauzon said he should be elected because of his advocacy experience and ability to draw voters from both sides of the partisan aisle.

“I believe I’m well positioned to make sure that all voices are heard and that we bring people together both in the State House and here in the community,” Lauzon said.

— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or abennett@journaltribune.com.

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