House District 92

Broadband, lobster industry on Matlack's mind

By Beth A. Birmingham | Oct 11, 2018

St. George — Democrat Ann Matlack of St. George is seeking her first legislative office, vying for the Maine House District 92 seat against Republican Justin Thompson, also of St. George.

House District 92 includes Cushing, South Thomaston, St. George, Thomaston and Matinicus Isle Plantation, plus Criehaven and Muscle Ridge islands.

Matlack has been involved in municipal and county government for 20-plus years, having served on the School Administrative District 50 school board, St. George Budget Committee, and overlapped that with 10 years on the Knox County Budget Committee.

She also was the assistant to the Rockland city manager from 2006 to 2013, and served as town administrator for South Thomaston for a short time before her current role as chairman of Penquis.

Matlack said she decided to run because she feels it is a good time to do things differently.

"We've had a number of years where we've undermined our civic organizations," she said, adding that change can help make Maine a better place to live.

She said that although Maine does not presently have the same problems as other states with regard to gun violence in schools, domestic violence does factor in and anyone cited for such an offense should not be allowed to acquire a gun.

Matlack said the regulations should be tightened up, and handled more firmly and clearly so there aren't any loopholes.

As for health care, Matlack said the state has avoided dealing with the issue for too long. "I would love to see Medicaid expansion here," she said. "That will also help us with another issue within the state, which is addiction response."

She said bringing everyone together in a "hub-and-spoke" paradigm would provide a start in that area. "We need to have the hospitals, nonprofits and providers involved -- working together," Matlack said, adding that longer-term help must be available.

"Seven days ... 14 days ... is not nearly enough time," she said.

Matlack blamed state government for not doing its part in funding education at the 55 percent level the law requires as the key to helping find relief for taxation -- especially on the aging population.

She said also the 5 percent sales tax relief that was supposed to go back to the municipalities has not happened. "Those are opportunities for us to assist folks with their taxes," she said.

Matlack noted a program in St. George where EMS personnel and paramedics check on the elderly regularly to assist them in staying in their homes.

One of Matlack's priorities, if elected, would be to look into the availability of broadband. "We've been working on it for 20 or so years now," she said, "but it's not reaching out into the peninsulas the way it should."

She said having such access will not only help small businesses stay and develop, but would also assist students who lack broadband at home. However, she admitted there presently is not a simple, cost-effective way to get the job done.

Another issue on Matlack's mind is helping preserve the lobster industry -- not only  dealing with climate change, but also with all the tariffs that have been put in place.

"One we can deal with, the other we just need to keep a close, close eye on," she said.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

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