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House District 91

Evangelos runs on police reform, clean elections

By Christine Simmonds | Sep 10, 2020
Courtesy of: Jeff Evangelos Jeff Evangelos, pictured with his pet cow Sheba, runs for reelection in House District 91.

Friendship — Independent Rep. Jeff Evangelos has been an active voice in the discussion on the use of force by police for years.

Evangelos is running for his fourth term as an Independent in the House of Representatives for District 91, which includes Friendship, some of Union, Waldoboro and Washington.

Evangelos lives in Friendship with his wife, Harolyn and pet cow, Sheba. He holds a 100% attendance record in the House and prides himself on running a clean and positive campaign.

Evangelos has been particularly active and outspoken regarding the case of Gregori Jackson, who was shot and killed by a Waldoboro police officer in 2007 during a traffic stop.

The incident occurred five minutes from where Evangelos lives, and he said it has always bothered him. Evangelos feels the evidence does not add up, and he believes the shooting was unjustified. He is glad the Attorney General has been reviewing the case since March.

Evangelos also sponsored a bill, LD 1219, which requires an independent panel to weigh in on police shootings. “That’s what I call a first step,” he said. “We need independent oversight.”

While Evangelos recognizes that the police have a difficult job, as his father worked in law enforcement, he is adamant that they cannot be allowed unqualified immunity for police shootings. “We cannot have police shooting unarmed people,” he said. “White, black or anyone else.”

Evangelos added that he does not support defunding the police, but instead feels the police need more and better training.

The candidate continues to run for his seat in the House because he enjoys it. “It’s productive work for me,” he said.

Evangelos described being an Independent as “a good place to be right now” due to how divisive party politics has become. He stays focused on running a positive campaign and feels that his constituents depend on him for effective representation.

As the husband of an RSU 40 teacher and a former administrative employee of the district himself, Evangelos supports educators and other school staff. He feels that teachers should be fairly compensated to ensure the effective ones stay in the field.

The biggest change that needs to occur to support education, Evangelos said, is equal access to broadband internet throughout the state. He supports government funding to build that infrastructure, and said the funding for it should come from the federal government. “It’s an investment,” he said, “but it pays in dividends.”

With some Maine students attending school remotely and the possibility of some schools closing down again, Evangelos said equal access to the internet is more important than ever. He said there cannot be one set of standards for wealthy parents and another for families with a lower socio-economic status. “That is terrible discrimination,” said Evangelos, as well as a violation of their rights to an equal education.

Evangelos said he is also concerned about the safety of students and school staff as the districts re-open to in-person education.

In terms of dealing with the ongoing pandemic, Evangelos feels that he and fellow legislators need to return to Augusta. “The Governor needs to call us back into session,” he said. “We have to get back to work.”

Part of that work involves helping small businesses reopen safely and ensuring that people are able to survive the pandemic financially. “People are going broke while legislators are fighting,” he said. “We’re not going to solve our economic problems right now through traditional economic policies because we’re dealing with a pandemic situation.”

He said he is also concerned about the fact that Gov. Janet Mills’ response to the pandemic has “created winners and losers.” He questioned why Walmart and Home Depot were allowed to remain open, while some smaller businesses in his district are still not allowed to open, and many small businesses have closed for good. “We have to protect the public and protect the economy,” he said.

Evangelos believes politics should stay out of science when dealing with the pandemic. He grew up during the time of polio, and said he knows that vaccines work. “We have to put faith in our scientists,” he said.

Once the pandemic is no longer an issue, Evangelos said he would strengthen Maine’s economy by supporting small businesses, ensuring fair taxation, and giving grants for alternative energy.

Evangelos feels that finding alternative energy sources is the best means of combating climate change and he supports solar energy. “I think solar is a win-win,” he said. He pointed to Waldoboro’s solar project as an example of one such successful project.

For more information on Evangelos, see his video interview on knox.villagesoup.com.

Election 2020 - Jeff Evangelos - Candidate: Maine House District #91
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