For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - State Representative Ellen Winchenbach (R-Waldoboro) recently mailed a constituent questionnaire to each household in her district, which is comprised of the Lincoln County towns of Bremen, Nobleboro, Waldoboro, and part of Jefferson. She received 138 completed surveys back and has been studying residents' answers to questions related to public policy in Maine.
Overwhelmingly, the midcoast residents surveyed expressed a desire to see less government spending and more fiscal responsibility in state government. They also expressed support for Right to Work legislation and opposition to a Democratic attempt to increase medical welfare spending.
When asked, "What do you consider to be the most critical issues concerning Maine citizens?" respondents were given nine options: health insurance, welfare reform, education, business attraction, reducing state spending, tax reform, energy costs, and "other." Reducing state spending came in first, followed by health insurance in second and welfare reform in third. Business attraction came in fourth place.
"The survey results match up with what I'm hearing from people around town," said Rep. Winchenbach, who works as a hairdresser in Waldoboro when she's not serving in the state legislature. "People have to balance their finances at home and they think the government should have to do the same thing. They also believe that too many people are taking advantage of Maine's generous welfare programs, and that's contributing to our taxing and spending problems as a state."
To the question, "Do you think the state's budget problems are caused by too much spending or not enough revenue?" 73 percent said "too much spending" while only 27 percent said "not enough revenue," expressing a belief that taxes are high enough and state government should get its spending under control.
When asked, "Do you approve of LD 1546, which proposed to expand Medicaid by attaching it to the Governor's Medicaid debt payment bill?" 61 percent disapproved of the measure while 39 percent approved.
A full 92 percent of respondents believed that military recruiters should be allowed to wear their uniforms in public high schools and 72 percent supported Right to Work legislation, which would prevent unions from forcing workers to pay dues if they don't want to be a member. Studies show that states with the Right to Work policy in effect have faster wage growth and more jobs.
"Another area that people are concerned about is the ability of the two parties to work together," added Rep. Winchenbach, who has earned a reputation in her first term for her willingness to work across the aisle and put effective governance over partisan posturing. "When given an opportunity to write an open-ended comment, many expressed a desire to see the parties work together more often, and that's what I'll continue to do in next year's legislative session."
Rep. Ellen Winchenbach can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or at her home at (207) 832-2005.
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793