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House District 93

Geiger outlines views in bid for House seat

By Stephen Betts | Sep 03, 2020
Valli Geiger

Rockland — Democratic Maine House candidate Valli Geiger said she expects the next two years will be difficult as legislators deal with trying to support programs with reduced revenues.

"Going to be hell next two years with the budget," she said.

Geiger is the Democratic candidate for the Maine House District 93 seat that represents Rockland and Owls Head. She is seeking the seat being vacated by Rep. Anne "Pinny" Beebe-Center, D-Rockland, who did not seek re-election.

Geiger will square off on the Nov. 3 ballot with Republican Michael Mullins of Rockland.

The Democratic candidate said she does not hold out much hope that the Legislature will change the state's education funding formula, which she said unfairly penalizes coastal communities such as Rockland that have higher property valuations.

"Change is hard. It still doesn't make sense how poorly Rockland is treated with the lack of funding. This has starved our community for years," Geiger said, noting that she isn't optimistic about a change in the formula because it benefits rural districts and their legislators will oppose any change that re-directs money to communities such as Rockland.

State government will have to figure out how to make do with what it has but she hopes the federal government will assist with financial support. She said massive layoffs of state or local government workers will not help the economy since it would put more people out of work and less money into the economy.

Geiger said she would support repealing the income tax cuts instituted under former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican. She said that cut mainly benefited the wealthy and large corporations.

Geiger is completing her second consecutive three-year term on the Rockland City Council, being elected in 2014 and 2017. She was also elected by her council peers to be its mayor in 2017.

The Rockland woman came to the area after college when she was hired as a nurse at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport. She worked at Pen Bay in various capacities for 12 years.

She and her family moved to Rockland 20 years ago.

Geiger went to graduate school and earned degrees in public health and public administration. She served as director of the state's largest hospice, then clinical director for all the state's federally qualified health care centers. That job consumed so much time that she opted to switch to a part-time job at the Togus VA Center.

She said she wanted to focus more on her own community and joined the Rockland Comprehensive Planning Commission.

Geiger said she gives Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, kudos for the job she has done handling the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in Maine doing the third best job in the country behind only Vermont and New Hampshire.

"My heart goes out to states where governors don't believe in science," Geiger said.

The veteran councilor said working toward a green economy will help create jobs in Maine.

"We need broadband. There is no reason people have to drive to work or live in Boston," she said.

She said she is pretty passionate about dealing with climate change. Geiger called for programs to make homes more energy efficient, install solar power, and encourage the use of electric vehicles. She earned a master's degree in sustainable design.

Geiger designed her own net zero energy home.

She said the state should look at livable wage, saying the temporary $600 per week in federal pandemic aid was beneficial to local people.

The Rockland woman said there is a need for reform in state policing but praised the Rockland Police Department and its leadership. She said the new crop of young officers are trained in crisis intervention and how to de-escalate situations. She also praised the sheriff for his effort to help inmates upon their release from jail.

The legislative candidate said there should be a statewide ban on choke holds and no-knock warrants.

"We need strong guardrails," she said, not to rely on having good leadership to avoid problems.

She recounted an incident in a small town in New Hampshire seven years ago when she was stopped for speeding and had left her driver's license at home. She said when the officer went back to his cruiser to check on the car's registration, she and her husband figured he should drive and they started getting out of the vehicle. She said the officer pulled his gun and started screaming at them to get back in the car.

Geiger said she couldn't help but think what would have happened if they had been people of color, young people, or people with green hair.

In terms of the need for gun control legislation, Geiger said she comes from a family of farmers and hunters. She said people have the right to have guns for hunting or handgun for protection but she said there should be training and licensing. She said people with mental illness or a domestic violence history should not have guns.

"The average person should not have weapons of war," Geiger said. She also criticized the National Rifle Association as very corrupt organization.

When asked if she supports her party's nominee for president, Geiger said, "I would have chosen a more progressive candidate interested in broader reform of healthcare, income inequality, etc. But I believe Joe Biden will bring calm, integrity, and some measure of reform. I also believe he will return our institutions to following the rule of law and those with 1st tier expertise, and a belief in good governance for all, will be happy to serve in his administration. Something I used to take for granted, but can no longer."

Election 2020 - Valli Geiger - Candidate: Maine House District #93
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