For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - State Representative Corey Wilson of Augusta recently mailed a questionnaire to each household in his House district, soliciting feedback on issues facing state government. He received 227 responses from the roughly 8,800 people in his district. Statewide polls across all 151 state House districts are often conducted with as few as 400 respondents.
"This was really an effort to listen to the people of Augusta," said Wilson. "I value the opinions of my neighbors and want to get an understanding of their priorities before the next legislative session begins in January."
Residents were divided on "vice" issues. When asked whether internet poker should be legalized, regulated, and taxed by the state, 56.4 percent said "no" while 43.6 percent said "yes." On marijuana, 54.2 percent opposed legalization while 45.8 percent supported it. Sixty-one percent said that Maine law should be changed to allow wine to be shipped directly to consumers. On cell phone use while driving, 76.1 percent think that it should be banned, while 90.1 percent believe that fines for texting while driving should be increased.
According to the questionnaire results, Augusta residents believe strongly that state government is too big. Respondents ranked "reducing state spending" as their number one priority among eight others listed. "Welfare reform" came back as the second-biggest priority to respondents. The remaining priorities, listed from third to ninth in importance to Augusta residents, were as follows: education and health insurance (tied for third), tax reform (fifth), business attraction (sixth), transportation infrastructure (seventh), energy costs (eighth), and "other" (ninth).
When asked whether a 90-day residency requirement should be established in order for persons to qualify for welfare, 86.5 percent agreed that it should.
Another 83.3 percent wanted to see a smaller state legislature, supporting a reduction from 151 to 99 the number of House seats and from 35 to 31 the number of Senate seats. Augusta residents favor term limits for politicians, 82.5 to 17.4 percent, and 62.8 percent oppose the Maine law that allows for taxpayer-funded political campaigns.
"The results tell me that folks in Augusta have a lot of good, common sense," said Wilson. "They want some basic rules for everyone to live by, but they want government to loosen up in other areas. They want us to get the spending under control and they think that welfare abuse should be reined in. I agree with those priorities and I am looking forward to continuing to work on them."
"I've always thought that good policy is more important than the political parties, and my main goal is to be an independent voice for my neighbors in Augusta," added Wilson. "I have an open-door policy and I always welcome and appreciate any input my constituents can give me."
Wilson's House District 56 comprises southern and eastern Augusta. He can be reached at RepCorey.Wilson@legislature.maine.gov.
Maine House Republicans
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