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Three-way race in Senate District 14
COUNTY — Three candidates, John Patrick (D-Rumford), Leonard Greaney (I-Rumford) and Harvey Calden (R-Jay) are running for state Senate in District 14, representing northern Oxford County including West Paris, Buckfield, Sumner, Hartford and Waterford.
Patrick is running for reelection to the seat he won in 2010. Prior to being elected senator, Patrick represented the Rumford area in the house between 2000-2008.
A life-long resident of the River Valley area and a mechanic at NewPage Paper in Rumford, Patrick is a former president of the United Paperworkers Union Local 900 and a past board member of Maine AFL-CIO.
Greaney is a retired manufacturing manager in the computer industry who moved to Maine from Massachusetts 25 years ago.
Working with veterans is a top priority for Greaney. A four-year Air Force veteran, Greaney started recording veteran's information about eight years ago and says he now has a database of up to 15,000 veterans that he uses to periodically recognize them.
Greaney ran for a seat in the state house in 2006, but calls himself more of a problem-solver than a politician – as senator, he wants to design meaningful, problem-solving legislation.
Greaney says Senator Patrick is "dysfunctional," too partisan and doesn't work across the aisle to make progress.
"I only ran because I want him replaced," Greaney says.
Calden is also running primarily to unseat Patrick, who he calls a big pusher of “101 ways to tax people and get the money out of them.” He says he's unhappy with the way things work in Augusta.
A former millwright, Calden is a commercial pilot who owns Hilltop Collision in Jay and Tin Pond Camps in Eustis. Calden has no background in politics, but is a small-business owner who “learned business the hard way.”
With less than a week until the election on November 6, we asked two of the candidates, Calden and Greaney, how they would help issues important to District 14.
Patrick did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.
Calden says the biggest economic problem is that people aren't willing to sit down with one another and determine a real objective.
“People need a job and companies need to make money,” Calden says. “Unless those two things come together nothing's going to happen.”
He says there is an “anti-business climate” in the state and wages are the worst in the country.
Greaney says regulation is stifling business and even things meant to be benefits, like pine tree development zones, aren't working.
Reducing energy costs is a top priority, Greaney says – he believes Maine should develop its own electricity grid, rather than depend on outside sources.
Calden says the Department of Health and Human Services needs to be reformed to address “massive amounts” of fraud and corruption.
He thinks the government needs to create programs that require people to work in order to receive financial assistance.
Greaney agrees that fraud is a serious issue. He believes the system is not monitored effectively and needs to be updated to better detect payments to unqualified individuals.
Greaney says federal control on Maine education should be eased to provide greater flexibility for schools.
He also thinks the state should invest in a technical university focused on advanced technology like computer science and mechanical engineering to provide a highly-skilled workforce, attracting companies to the state.
There is no great problem with Maine's education system, Calden says, although he thinks high-performing teachers should receive better wages.
At the same time, he believes some teachers are using the system for a paycheck. He believes the teachers who really strive should be rewarded and others, "shown the door."