Senate District 34 a race of opposing platforms
WELLS — Incumbent Republican Ronald Collins and Democrat Jason Kilbourn will square off Nov. 8 over who will represent Senate District 34, which includes Acton, Kennebunk, Lebanon, North Berwick, Wells and parts of Berwick.
Collins, 70, lives in Wells and is a graduate of Kennebunk High School. A former salesman, he’s been married for 42 years to his wife Linda, both of whom are lifetime York County residents.
Collins has a background in Maine state government and local town politics, having served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives and as a member of the Wells Planning Board and Comprehensive Plan Committee. He has also served as president and director of the Wells Rotary Club, and is former director of the Wells Chamber of Commerce.
In the Senate, Collins is a member of the Government Oversight Committee and Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation.
Kilbourn, 62, is a self-employed environmental business consultant from Kennebunk who has been active in Kennebunk town politics. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and recently served as regional vice president for Casella Resource Solutions, a large waste and environmental service company.
Collins said opioid addiction in Maine has reached epidemic proportions, and that the state must provide education that addresses the consequences of taking such drugs while providing care and treatment necessary for addicts looking to recover.
“Maine has a serious opioid problem, and most addicts want to change their lives and become productive members of our society again,” Collins said. “We must provide the treatment that they so desperately are seeking.”
Kilbourn agreed that education and treatment are essential, but said additional steps may be required.
“I frequently hear personal stories of the toll that drug addiction and drug-related crime is taking,” Kilbourn said. “I would reform medical prescription practice, strengthen law enforcement and expand treatment, counseling and health care, including in prisons.”
Both candidates expressed the importance of helping hard-working Mainers, but had differing approaches to providing assistance.
“Mainers work hard to raise their families. They cannot afford to pay even more to government in taxes. Augusta’s tax-and-spend culture must end,” Collins says on his campaign website. “I support a full audit of every government program, especially the Department of Health and Human Services, which consumes about 30 percent of the state’s general fund spending.”
Collins said if taxes were cut, more businesses would likely locate to Maine, creating jobs with good wages that could help keep younger people in the state.
Kilbourn said the state should provide job training for Maine residents.
“Hard-working Mainers should be able to provide for themselves and their families with good jobs,” Kilbourn said. “Let’s improve training opportunities in the skilled trades from high school through community college, building beyond the successful programs at York County Community College.”
Kilbourn also said “better child care access, affordable housing, MaineCare expansion, restored state revenue sharing to towns and property tax relief will help secure the happiness and health of our people and families.”
Establishing renewable energy, Kilbourn said, would be a priority if he were elected, as it would generate jobs and create a stronger tax base.
“I will fight to reintroduce and pass a great bipartisan solar energy policy, without any increase to the cost of government,” Kilbourn said. “Without state incentives, small Maine businesses have grown to employ over 400 people in good jobs in solar energy.”
— Staff Writer Ryder Schumacher can be contacted at 282-1535.