2012-06-07 / News

Two long-time politicians vie for House seat


Alan Casavant Alan Casavant Maine’s House District 137 makes up parts of East Biddeford, Biddeford Pool and Kennebunkport. Incumbent Rep. Alan Casavant, who is also Biddeford mayor, will square off against District 4 Sen. Nancy Sullivan for the Democratic nomination during the June 12 primary. The winner of the primary will run against Republican Candidate William Guay of Kennebunkport. Their responses to a candidate survey appear here by alphabetical order.

Alan Casavant

Age: 59

Occupation: Retired teacher; mayor of Biddeford

Marital status: Engaged to Patti Jalbert

Highest level of education completed: Masters in American and New England studies

Nancy B. Sullivan Nancy B. Sullivan Name and location of school or university last attended: UMO, graduating in 1974 with a BA in psychology; 2005, USM, with my masters.

Organizations and activities: Societe St. Jean Baptiste de Bienfaisance; Mayors Coalition of Maine; Good Shepherd Parish.

Top three issues (in order of priority):

1. Jobs and the economy: Local towns and cities need the tools to preserve local businesses and to create economic zones to attract new business. This includes streamlined and effective regulations and fiscally creative state bonding.

2. Taxes: Property taxes cannot be expected to continue to absorb the rising needs of education. The state’s failure to fund at 55 percent has severely affected Biddeford and Kennebunkport. The entire tax system needs to be modernized, but not in a piecemeal fashion. A tweak here or a tweak there has little impact on fairness. Additionally, the state cannot be allowed to routinely move its budgetary cost savings onto the local level.

3. Educational funding: The costs of education continue to climb, yet the funding is not keeping pace. The property tax cannot absorb such increases. The state needs to develop a better system of educational funding and distribution.

In your own words, why are you seeking elected office?

I am seeking re-election because I believe that I have been a positive advocate for the residents of my district. In my six years in the Legislature, I have been attentive to helping individuals navigate through the bureaucracy of rules and regulations. I have answered all e-mails and phone calls, and though not always successful in achieving the desired result, I have worked on behalf of constituents, regardless of party affiliation, as my core attitude in Augusta is that all politics are local.

During the last session, I introduced legislation that would have increased the circuit breaker allowance for those of age 70, so they would receive additional assistance in their property taxes. Though the bill was defeated, the quest remains, as property taxes, and their inherent unfairness, continues to drive people from their homes. I was also successful in passing a domestic violence bill that allowed victims to be consistently notified upon the release of their abuser. More needs to be done in that area. During the past year, more and more individuals have discussed with me the problems within the criminal-justice system, where the high cost of litigation is forcing more people to be unable to afford fair, good legal representation. While court processes themselves, because of cutbacks in limited funding, have created structural problems within the system, a frightening reality is that ordinary, middle class individuals are discovering that paying for representation within the current system places unreasonable high demands on their budgets and savings.

Nancy B. Sullivan

Age: 63

Occupation: Retired school teacher

Marital status: Married to Paul Sullivan for 33 years

Children/family: One grown son

Highest level of education completed: BS in education

Name and location of school or university last attended: University of Southern Maine

Organizations and activities: York County Retired School Teachers; enjoy organizing yard sales and reading

Top three issues: (in order of priority)

1. Jobs/economy

2. Health care/affordability and accessibility

3. Education: kindergarten through postsecondary

In your own words, why are you seeking elected office?

I am running for the House District 137 seat because the incumbent was elected last November as mayor of Biddeford, the sixth largest city in Maine. The district, comprised of Ward 1, Ward 3, and part of Ward 2 in Biddeford and all of Kennebunkport, has two distinct parts to it. One part is that of a large service center with a mayor/council government and the other part is that of a tourist and fishing town with a board of selectmen/ town meeting government. In spite of the differences, job creation, economical stability and property taxes are of immediate concern for both parts. We must create good paying jobs with benefits. We must invest in education, both K-12 and skilled training. If elected, I will continue to advocate for expanded programs at York County Community College to enable it to serve more people and develop their skills. Over the years, I have watched too little collaboration, too much blame game and simple cost shifting. I have a reputation of reaching out and trying to build consensus. We need people willing to discuss, listen and take the time to build relationships in order to move forward. A wise “Mainer,” I believe stated it best, “Nancy, you cannot chase two rabbits at one time.”

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