Carter seeks House seat in Warren
Warren — Courier Publications reporters and editors came up with a list of questions for candidates based in part on concerns raised by members of the public in "Heard on the Street" interviews. The questions were posed to candidates via email.
Robert Carter, Jr., R-Warren, is running against Independent Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship for the District 49 House seat that represents Cushing, Friendship, Union and Warren.
Why are you running?
I am running for three key reasons. First state government needs to focus on controlling spending and reduce the tax burden on its citizens. Second, regulatory burdens placed on our businesses are stifling job growth forcing our children to seek jobs outside of the state of Maine. I want our children to be able to live, grow and prosper in Maine, not just come back to Maine to retire. Third, it is important for me to give back to the community where my wife and I have lived and raised our children.
What government services, if any, do you feel should be privatized?
As a first time candidate, I am not sure of any specific services that should be privatized. I do believe that we should review all options and determine if any efficiencies and financial savings could be arrived at by privatizing services.
What services do you feel need to be protected from budget cuts?
When dealing with a budget shortfall, no service should be protected from budget cuts.
What services that are private now should be taken on by the government?
In the current budget climate, I don’t believe any private services should be added to the responsibility of the government.
Mitt Romney has proposed kicking Medicaid costs back to the states to administer and cut federal funds for them. Would you support this plan, and how do you think it would impact state and local government and taxes?
As a state legislative candidate, decisions made by the President and Congress and not within my control. Should any changes effecting state government occur, I am sure that the Legislature will react and do what is best for Maine and it citizens.
What is your position on women’s health issues including insurance coverage for contraceptives and the option of having abortions to terminate unwanted pregnancies?
Women should be able to choose the health insurance coverage available to them. I do not support requiring anyone to have coverage that they do not want. Regarding the abortion issue, I am a pro-life supporter.
We have seen a push, particularly from Republicans, for more showing of identification at the polls. What are your thoughts on balancing the need for preventing voter fraud with the need to provide access to citizens wishing to vote?
The privilege to vote is a very important part of being an American citizen and showing identification does not seem to me to be unreasonable, particularly in light of the fact that showing an ID to purchase any number of goods or services is already required.
Why aren’t there more jobs?
This is a very broad question, in which a number of factors could be the cause. For me, the more important question relates to the creation of jobs and assisting individuals that want to start or expand businesses.
What would you do for those seeking to start businesses and create jobs?
As a legislator, I believe that we need to look at ways to reduce the regulatory burden faced by business whether they are start-ups or existing businesses wishing to expand. Secondly, as local legislators we need to help market the Midcoast region as well as our state to potential businesses wanting to relocate to our area. In addition to the two steps mentioned, we need to be advocates for local businesses and act as a supportive conduit between businesses and state agencies.
How would you address the challenge of providing higher education for low and middle-income young people who cannot afford college without massive loans?
The cost of higher education really depends on what type of education and school the student attends. The University of Maine system offers our young adults an opportunity to get a quality education for an affordable price. Young adults are choosing to work part-time and attend classes locally for a year or two before attending classes full-time. This is another way to reduce their cost of education.
How can we help Maine people transition from traditional energy sources, particularly heat, to renewable sources?
I don’t agree with the premise that we should be helping transition to renewable sources. We need to focus on providing cost-effective solutions for providing energy, particularly heat. Determining the best way to provide the lowest cost energy resource should be a priority. The possibility of natural gas is an example.
What should be done to protect Maine’s environment and resources? Is this a priority for you as a candidate?
As a native Mainer, I am well aware of the natural beauty that exists in our state. Maine’s environment is one of the reasons so many tourists visit our state each year. Protecting the environment is always an important balancing act between nature and development. I take my responsibility in maintaining this balance as a priority.
Do you support state government buying more land to preserve it as state parks?
No. I do not believe that additional state parks are the answer to preserving land.
Where do you stand on campaign financing?
I am a traditional candidate. I chose this option because I believe that candidates should be responsible for raising the funds necessary to run a campaign. Secondly, I believe it is wrong for state tax dollars to be used to fund political campaigns.
What should be done about the states welfare programs including disability benefits, MaineCare, and substances abuse treatment subsidies?
I recognize that a number of changes have taken place during the past couple of years regarding the programs mentioned. As I go door-to-door visiting with people in my district, the issue of welfare is often mentioned to me as a concern. Based on what I have heard, it would be an area that I would want to address if elected.
Do you support allowing gay marriage in Maine?
I do not support changing the traditional definition of marriage.
How do you feel the Tea Party movement has affected local, state and federal politics and policy decisions?
In America any group that feels strongly about its position and beliefs can stand up and state its case. The effectiveness of any group is ultimately determined by the number of citizens that support its cause.
What has been your career aside from politics?
I spent the first 14 years following college as an elementary teacher and principal in Portland, Warren and North Yarmouth. I spent the next 25 years in banking beginning with Waldoboro Bank, followed by Union Trust and then Camden National Bank. Each change was the result of a merger. With each new bank I was given an opportunity to place a key role in the organization’s leadership team.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Maine?
I was born in Portland and have lived in Maine all my life.
What is your education?
I went to public school in Portland and graduated from Portland High School.
I have a bachelor's of science in elementary education, a master's degree in elementary administration, both from the University of Maine. I graduated from the University Of Colorado School Of Banking. Since education is a life time process I have continued to take classes and programs to assist me with doing the best job possible.
Can you tell me a little about your family? Are you married with children, grandchildren?
I have been happily married to my wife Jennifer for 40 years. We have two grown sons who are married, and a grandson who is 2 years old.