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 143, which represents South Sanford and part of central Sanford (see maps below), are Republican AnnMarie Fredericks and Democrat Wes Davie. Each candidate began with an opening statement.
Mr. Davie has lived in Sanford 16 years, and he and his wife have raised their four children here. He has been active in the community as a coach and referee on youth sports teams, and assisting the Sanford Backpack Program with food distributions. He has served five years on the Budget Committee and served as Chair this year. His work experience is in operations and project management. He wants to work with everyone in Augusta to continue to improve the quality of life for all Mainers, and to represent Sanford, as well as the diverse needs of the population of District 143.
Ms. Fredericks is from a large family of seven children who were raised on a modest income. Mental illness and addictions in the family wounded everyone. She learned quickly that each child is wired differently and has a different set of knowledge, skills and abilities. She learned to listen, prioritize and compromise. Reward came from doing a good job. She is a proud product of public schooling, with Masters degrees in nursing and public administration. She is a nurse practitioner and has worked in the public sector for the Veterans Administration. In 2016 she opened a small business in Sanford. With empty storefronts and skyrocketing costs, she said, “I don’t have all the answers, but I know we are worse off today.”
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?
Mr. Davie said it should be a woman’s right to choose, and Maine has good legislation in place already. If it came to any kind of changes, he said, education and support services should be available to those in need of options, so they can make the best decision.
Ms. Fredericks said she would never support making abortion illegal, and would not change the law in any way.
Question 2: If the need for budget cuts arises this winter, what would you cut and why?
Mr. Davie said if cuts needed to be made, he would look for programs that are not providing the expected results. He would not cut any program that provides assistance to help fight inflation, or cheaper housing, and would not cut healthcare or education programs.
Ms. Fredericks said she would look for services that the state could provide remotely or consolidate. She would look to see what programs are not being utilized. She would also look into state property that could be sold, to avoid having to make cuts.
Question 3: What in Maine needs to change, and how would you work to change it as a legislator?
Mr. Davie said gaps in education between areas of the state with differing income levels should be identified so that all students can succeed in high school and beyond. He said building more housing to meet the need would be another priority. “If you don’t have affordable housing, you can’t attract youth to fill the jobs,” he said. The opioid crisis should also receive more focus, he said.
Ms. Fredericks said abolishing the excise tax on aircraft would be one of her priorities, which would bring more business and new jobs to the Airport in Sanford.
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 agreed the legislature should be involved to protect the lobstering industry.
Question 5: In your opinion, should electric utilities be privately or publicly owned in Maine?
Mr. Davie said he believes private companies can serve the community. Rather than making utilities public, they should be better regulated to make sure there is no price gouging and rates are affordable.
Ms. Fredericks said she believes in capitalism and that if utilities are privately owned, there should be healthy competition rather than monopolies. But “I would say let the people decide,” she concluded.
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. Davie said people living in tents need to be taken care of whatever the situation, and that more creative solutions to the problem should be identified. He suggested that buildings not in use could become temporary shelters. If shelter is not available, warmer clothing and blankets should be provided, he said.
Ms. Fredericks said the state’s annual audit of homelessness should be assessed and analyzed to see if numbers are growing, so that plans can be made before cold weather comes. Shelter beds should be optimized, which might include shuttle buses to other shelters.
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?
Ms. Fredericks said with regard to the 2020 election, she wishes there was Voter ID so there would be no question later about the authenticity of a vote, or whether deceased people or noncitizens were voting.
Mr. Davie said he had no issue with the results of the 2020 election, but is concerned about divisiveness and negative advertising. When the voters speak, that decision should be respected, he said.
Question 8: Please tell us about a substantial issue on which you strongly disagree with your political party.
Mr. Davie said he disagrees with the Democratic party about the size of government. “Leaving things to the private sector is normally the best way to go” unless needs are not being served, he said, but there needs to be regulation.
Ms. Fredericks said abortion was her main area of disagreement with her fellow Republicans. “I would always vote to legalize abortion,” she said, so that it can be safely performed.
Each candidate was given the opportunity to make a closing statement.
Mr. Davie said he is running for office to be part of creative problem solving for our community. He said Maine has incredibly diverse communities, and policies have to make sense and celebrate those differences: “What makes sense for communities like Kennebunk or Cape Elizabeth doesn’t make sense for communities like Sanford.” He said legislators can respectfully disagree and still work together to get things done. He wants to make sure Maine continues to fund education properly and that all children in every community are served. He wants to continue to improve health care and make sure people have access to affordable providers and specialists. He said he would bring family values to the job and make sure legislation is helping Maine families. “What makes a good representative is how hard they work…I’ll work hard to represent everyone in District 143 regardless of political affiliation. I’ll work with representatives from all parties to find creative solutions,” he said, to keep Maine as affordable as possible.
Ms. Fredericks said there is disappointment among voters: “The sentiment is we can do better and we deserve better. We need a fresh voice to say ‘enough is enough’ and that’s me.” She said costs are soaring, the Department of Education has lost the confidence of parents, and untreated mental illness is robbing individuals of their potential while destroying families and communities. The healthcare system needs to improve access and add providers, which can be done by cutting documentation requirements. “Let’s spend more effort thinking and offering solutions on how we can transition people off of government relief programs and retool them for a lifetime,” she said. As a nurse practitioner, she said she is trained to listen, assess and not judge, and can critically think, teach and evaluate. “If elected I would use my knowledge, skills and abilities in the best interest of Sanford citizens. I have skin in the game, three generations here…let’s save our State, because I’m all in,” she concluded.
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.
Above: Closeup of the boundaries between Districts 142 in white and District 143 in green.
Below: Full map of District 143.