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.

Rep. Chuck Kruger, D-Thomaston, faces a challenge from Republican Michael Collins as he seeks a third term in Maine House District 48.

Kruger was first elected to the House, which represents part of Owls Head, South Thomaston, St. George, Thomaton, Criehaven and Matinicus in November 2008. In the 124th Legislature he served on two Joint Standing Committees; Marine Resources and Judiciary. In the 125th, he served again on Marine Resources and was also selected to serve on the Government Oversight Committee, which oversees the investigative Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability or OPEGA.

Why are you running?

I am running because after 30-plus years of being a self-employed entrepreneur and small-business owner, I wanted to do some public service before retirement. Service in the Legislature turns out to be a pretty good match with my interests and skills. I consider it a privilege to be able to serve.

What government services, if any, do you feel should be privatized?

Some services can be effectively privatized, and government should always be lean and efficient, but there are certain things that should not be privatized or driven by the constant demand for profit over services. Schools, prisons, and veterans services come to mind.

What services do you feel need to be protected from budget cuts?

Everything should be considered for cuts, but the revenue side must be considered, too, as part of the budget process. Tax exemptions, often created for and supported by well-funded special interests, should also be considered in budgeting.

What services that are private now should be taken on by the government?

The government already has plenty to do. But I think for-profit prisons and for-profit schools are not in the best interest of already-overburdened taxpayers.

Mitt Romney has proposed kicking Medicaid costs back to the states to administer and cutting federal funds for them. Would you support this plan, and how do you think it would impact state government and taxes?

No. Medicaid requires large pools of participants to work, and that is better done at the federal level.

What is your position on women's health issues including insurance coverage for contraceptives and the option of having abortions to terminate unwanted pregnancies?

I support insurance coverage for contraception services. I’m personally opposed to abortion, but I support a woman’s right to choose, and I oppose reversing Roe v. Wade.

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?

Voter fraud should be vigorously prosecuted. However, it has recently been proven that there is very little voter fraud, locally or nationally. I have 100 percent confidence in our town clerks. And there is currently a robust national program run by the Republican party to suppress elderly, young, and minority voters, who tend to vote Democratic. I find this effort reprehensible and un-American and I hope it fails.

Why aren't there more jobs?

The international economy has taken severe shocks beginning in late 2007-early 2008. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that this is the worst economy since the Great Depression. It has not fully recovered and it will be a while before employment levels seen before then can be achieved again. And some aspects of previous prosperity simply will not return, so we have to approach things differently. Outsourcing jobs to other countries, and off-shoring trillions in assets, is NOT a good solution.

What would you do for those seeking to start businesses and create jobs?

I encourage those with vision and energy to face the challenges and eventually reap the rewards of hard, smart work. As a state representative I can help connect people to resources in job training, financing, and assistance with navigating rules and regulations.

How would you address the challenge of providing higher education for low and middle-income young people who cannot afford college without massive loans?

There are some excellent higher educational resources in Maine, starting with our university system and community colleges that, if approached wisely, will not saddle students with mountains of debt.

How can we help Maine people transition from traditional energy sources, particularly for heat, to renewable sources?

Education and leadership. We have the oldest, least energy-efficient housing stock in the U.S. and we must get more serious about addressing that. We have also been uneven about letting people know about options available and developing new and innovative paths to energy conservation.

What should be done to protect Maine's environment and resources? Is this issue a priority for you as a candidate?

Absolutely. I see preserving our natural resources as a quality-of-life issue, which is the basis for economic development. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to leave them the wonderful place that we have.

Do you support state government buying more land to preserve it as state parks?

Yes. But the state park model is not the only tool in the preservation tool box. The Land for Maine’s Future program deserves broad and ongoing support from state government, which is sometimes the only entity capable of buying and preserving special places.

Where do you stand on campaign financing?

I believe that the Maine Clean Elections Act makes it possible for regular citizens to run for the Legislature. Let’s not forget that the Clean Elections law was voted in by a strong majority of Maine voters in a referendum in 1996. I have run as a “clean elections” all three times. At the conclusion of my previous campaigns, I returned more than $1,000 back to the fund. The program is more problematic for funding statewide races, but it makes for a far more representative government and I hope it continues.

What should be done about the state's welfare programs including disability benefits, MaineCare, and substance abuse treatment subsidies?

Government should help those most at need. Fraud, waste, abuse is utterly unacceptable and I support aggressive prosecutions whenever it is found. That said, many of the recently proposed cuts to services will cost taxpayers far more in the long run, when some clients denied services wind up in hospital emergency rooms or jails.

Do you support allowing gay marriage in Maine?

Yes. And I support the right of churches to decline to perform marriage ceremonies that conflict with their beliefs.

How do you feel the Tea Party movement has affected local, state and federal politics and policy decisions?

I welcome and applaud all voices of fiscal responsibility. I reject the idea that simply cutting taxes and silencing those who disagree will lead to better governance or a happier society.

What has been your career aside from politics?

I was a professional musical performer for 20 years during and after college, then worked and innovated full-time on the business side of the arts and entertainment, which continues today. I also built and then sold a coastal excursions business in the 1990s.

Where are you from and how long have you lived in Maine?

I grew up in northern New Jersey, went to boarding school in southeastern Pennsylvania, and came to Maine to attend college in 1969. I have loved making Midcoast Maine my home ever since.

What is your education?

College graduate.

Can you tell us a little about your family? Are you married with children, grandchildren?

My wife Linda just retired after 30 years working for the Postal Service. Our son Casey also works for the Postal Service. We have two wonderful grandchildren, a girl who is 7 and a boy who is 5. We are extremely thankful to be major a part of their lives.