Wednesday, March 12, 2014
HOUSE DISTRICT 56
AUGUSTA -- A local Democrat's decision not to seek re-election has created an open seat in House District 56, which includes part of Augusta.
Rep. Anna Blodgett, D-Augusta, who served four years, did not run again this time, which opens the door for Corey Wilson, a Republican, or Doreen Sheive, a Democrat.
Wilson, 27, joined the Marines at age 17, served eight years and is currently working as a real estate agent for ERA Webb Associates.
"I only decided to run because I was discouraged with the direction the state was going," he said, noting that it's his first run for office.
Sheive, 65, is a retired state employee who was administrator for the unorganized territories before her retirement three years ago. In that job, she wrote proposed legislation and testified before legislative committees on issues facing the territories. Now, she's making her first bid for public office.
"I'm a rather independent thinker," she said. "I'm probably not like some people in that sense."
Sheive moved to Washington D.C. after graduating from Lawrence High School in 1965. She worked in U.S. Sen. Ed Muskie's office and when she returned to Maine, she worked as an assistant in Gov. Joseph Brennan's press office. She then began her long career in finance, working the last 23 years of her career in the Department of Audit.
If elected, she'd like to bring a more bipartisan approach to the State House.
"I would like to accomplish a better atmosphere of Democrats and Republicans working together," she said.
Wilson said he grew up poor in Fairfield, where his family struggled to make ends meet. He's the first in his family to get a bachelor's degree and believes the state government should focus more on helping to create jobs.
"There will always be a demand for low-skill work," he said. "I don't feel anybody has done enough to address the issue of the shifting of jobs out of the state and there's been very little investment into the state of Maine."
Wilson said he feels he's a candidate who can identify with others who have a hard time making ends meet. He said high taxes make it hard for new businesses to open in Maine, and that regulations often discourage growth. He said high energy costs are also difficult for business owners and that natural gas should be more widely available.
Wilson was trained by the military to be an amphibious assault vehicle repairman, but didn't get much chance to use those skills while stationed in the desert areas of Kuwait and Iraq.
He was promoted to sergeant for his second tour and left the military after an injury. He drove a truck for a while, worked for the Department of Homeland Security and then got his training to become a Realtor.
Sheive wants to do a better job letting the public know what's going on at the Legislature.
She said the state needs "sensible, reasonable laws with regard to the environment" and that she believes it is possible to make cuts to state government spending. In addition, Sheive said she believes the state should set up a joint program with businesses to train people for available jobs.
The mother of an adult son, Sheive said she believes strongly in early childhood education.
"They are like a sponge when they are little," she said.
Sheive said Maine can benefit from a program similar to one in Colorado, called "economic gardening," which helps local businesses grow, rather than focusing on drawing large new businesses to the state.
For his part, Wilson said he will not allow himself to get distracted by the hundreds of other issues that come before lawmakers each two-year legislative session. He wants to focus on jobs.
"People are scared right now," he said. "We've got to find a real way to get real savings into the pockets of Maine consumers."
Susan Cover -- 621-5643