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Villa and Hagerman contest seat in District 98
OXFORD HILLS — Lisa Villa (D-Harrison) and Roxanna Hagerman (R-Bridgton) are vying for an open seat in House District 98, covering Bridgton, Harrison, Lovell, Stow and Sweden.
Villa ran unsuccessfully against Paul Waterhouse (R-Bridgton) for the seat in 2010 and won 43 percent of the vote. This is Hagerman's first campaign.
Villa has served two terms on the Harrison Selectboard and eight years in county governance, including the Cumberland County Charter Commission, Budget Advisory Committee and Community Development Block Grant Program. Villa is a 27-year employee of US Airways.
Villa says she wants to address local issues at the state level. She says partisan squabbling is getting in the way of progress in Augusta and she will translate her experience working "across the aisle" to solve problems at the local level to the state house.
Hagerman owns Roxy's Hairport in Bridgton. She is a member of the Bridgton Planning Board and spent two terms on the town budget committee. She has been chair of the Bridgton Republican Town Committee and secretary of the Cumberland County Republican Committee.
Representative Waterhouse, who is not seeking reelection, encouraged her to run and she's excited for the opportunity to serve the people in her district, Hagerman says.
With less than two weeks before the election, we asked the two candidates to explain their stance on issues important to the district.
Villa says the state needs to streamline the permitting process for starting and expanding businesses to create jobs and grow the economy. There also needs to be a focus on training and education to create a valuable workforce, Villa says.
Hagerman says the state should reduce taxes to encourage business growth – the state's tax burden has caused a "mass exodus" of taxpayers from the state, she says. In particular, she would advocate for the elimination of the income and personal property tax to encourage people to remain in the state.
Both candidates agree high energy costs are a burden on businesses and residences alike and Maine's energy policy needs to be reexamined.
Hagerman says she is frustrated by the fraud and abuse she frequently witnesses in Maine's social programs. According to Hagerman, she knows the fraud is perpetuated by a minority of beneficiaries. She says she has reported fraud once or twice, but it went nowhere.
"I see Section 8 housing. I smell the meth labs on these people, they stay home, they get the checks, they take care of the grandchildren, get another check, they get food, fuel and meanwhile, they're destroying the quality of life – I'm not saying all, I'm saying the few abusers – destroy the quality of life of their neighbors."
Hagerman thinks an audit of Maine's social programs should be conducted to address the issue.
Villa says there should be an examination of Maine's social programs to identify programs that are working and those that are not, but opposes across-the-board cuts, particularly in a depressed economy with lots of people who need help.
"There's so many people who need that safety net right now, who have never had to use it before," Villa says. "If there are people who are cheating the system, find them and make sure they don't have access to the system again but I think across the board DHHS cuts are a bit too drastic when there are programs that are working and are needed."
Schools should embrace more vocational education, Villa says, to ensure students who may not be college-bound can find good paying jobs after high school.
Villa also says the state should focus on schools and give students more time in the classroom, rather than too much time spent being transported to and from school.
Hagerman says taxpayers are getting too little "bang for [their] buck" with the current school system. She says money keeps pouring into the schools but there is no progress to show for it.
Hagerman says the situation has to change, but doesn't have any firm ideas how to address the issue.