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L to R: Lucas Lanigan and Jack McAdam

All the candidates for Sanford’s three state legislative districts appeared at Candidates Night on October 12, 2022, and answered questions from moderators Shawn Sullivan and Tammy Wells.

The candidates for District 141, which represents most of Springvale and part of Sanford, as well as the towns of Shapleigh and Newfield (see map below), are Republican Lucas Lanigan and Democrat Jack McAdam. Each candidate began with an opening statement.

Mr. McAdam co-owns McDougal Orchards with his wife Ellen. He worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 36 years, including 32 years on multimillion dollar fisheries research vessels. He worked his way up from second mate to captain of the Albatross 4 and Delaware 2 out of Woods Hole, MA. In 2005 he was offered a shoreside position at the University of New Hampshire, as an advocate for civilian mariners on NOAA vessels around the country.

Mr. Lanigan thanked the organizers of the event and said he hoped to earn the voters’ trust and their vote to serve in Augusta when the time comes.

Question 1: What is your personal stance on abortion? What would be your guiding principles if called upon to vote on a bill seeking to further restrict access to abortions?

Both candidates indicated they believe the issue is between a woman and her doctor, and would not support any restrictions to abortion access.

Question 2: If the need for budget cuts arises this winter, what would you cut and why?

Mr. McAdam responded that he could not answer the question without seeing a line-item budget. Mr. Lanigan said that doing away with wasteful spending and layers of bureaucracy would top his list. He said if he had to choose between cutting free community college, and cutting assistance that allows seniors to stay in their homes, he would cut the college.

Question 3: What in Maine needs to change, and how would you work to change it as a legislator?

Mr. Lanigan said that he would work to reduce Maine’s food, fuel and electricity costs which are among the highest in the country. He would renovate the welfare system, which he said traps people in a social safety net that doesn’t allow them to get their heads above water.

Mr. McAdam said housing would be his first priority. The Planning Board, on which he serves, has approved three market rate apartment complexes recently, but he said there needs to be some incentive to developers to set aside apartments for low-income residents. Protecting farmland and addressing food insecurity are also important, he said.

Question 4: Lobstermen have had a challenging year with the federal government’s attempts to further regulate them, and with a group out west calling for people to boycott buying and eating lobster.  Should the legislature be involved in these matters, if so, how? If not, why not?

Both candidates indicated their support for the lobstering industry, and would like to see more research to identify the true threats to whales.

Question 5: In your opinion, should electric utilities be privately or publicly owned in Maine?

Mr. McAdam said he was “not on board with the idea” of making utilities publicly owned, but would like more information about who would run the utilities and what the total costs would be. Mr. Lanigan said he was “100% against” such a large entity coming under state control, and added that electricity costs are going up because of bad policy in Augusta, not due to bad management by Central Maine Power.

Question 6: If elected, you will take office during the winter. What do you see as your responsibility as legislator to those living in tents this winter in cities and towns across the state, and not just the big towns? What can be done short term?

Mr. McAdam said two of the big causes of homelessness are addiction and the high cost of housing. He pointed to Sanford’s successes in addressing the problem and said he hopes the state legislature is also working on the issue.

Mr. Lanigan said when he was on the City Council, the City began to focus on homelessness by creating the position of Community Outreach Officer within the Police Department. He said the state needs to invest in programs that will help people with opioid addiction and homeless people “connect the dots” that can turn their lives around.

Question 7: As we all know, there was not a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential election. Indeed, Maine was among other states that beefed up security around the Capitol in Augusta, in the days leading up to the Inauguration in January 2021. If elected, you will be in office during and after the 2024 Presidential election, so this question to us feels fair, relevant and necessary. Do you have any issues with the 2020 Presidential election, whether it’s the way in which it was conducted nationally or the results that were certified? How do you vow to carry yourself as a legislator during the upcoming Presidential campaign?

Mr. McAdam said “Joe Biden is the President” and didn’t elaborate further. On the issue of Voter ID, which was not part of the question but which had been raised by another candidate, he said the voting system in Maine works fine and he doesn’t see any reason to change it.

Mr. Lanigan said he was disappointed in how the transition of power went down, adding, “That’s not how our democracy works.” He voiced his support for Voter ID and said he would be in favor of the state providing a free non-driver ID to anyone who needed one.

Question 8: Please tell us about a substantial issue on which you strongly disagree with your political party.

Mr. McAdam said that he considers himself more of an independent, and was unenrolled in either party for a number of years, but there is nothing in the Democratic platform that really concerns him.

Mr. Lanigan said his party’s reluctance to work with Democrats is something he disagrees with. He would like to break down those barriers and work across the aisle to do what is best for constituents. He said LGBTQ rights is another issue on which he disagrees with Republican leadership.

Each candidate was given the opportunity to make a closing statement.

Mr. McAdam said after retiring in 2009 he decided to give back to the community and has served on numerous boards since then, including the Planning Board, Charter Review Committee, Mineral Extraction Task Force, Nasson Community Center, Town Meeting Member and other things. He started the Sanford Farmers’ Market and managed it for ten years. He said he is running as a Democrat but is also an independent, and if elected he will work collaboratively with local elected officials in the best interest of the residents of the district. He will strive to protect natural resources and worries about what the climate will be like when his granddaughter grows up.

Mr. Lanigan recounted his service to the community as a City Council member, as Deputy Mayor, on the Planning Board and Marijuana Task Force “developing some of the best zoning laws in Maine,” and as a board member for the Chamber of Commerce. He would like to take that experience to Augusta to fight for the people of District 141 by lowering taxes, funding nursing homes and freeing families from inefficient government. He said he would like to bring back the voice of parents to our schools, “and stop catering to the whims of school unions.”

Election Day is November 8. In-person absentee voting is going on now at City Hall. See this page for more information, or call the Clerk’s office at 207-324-9107.

The full Candidates Night video is available on YouTube here.

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