For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - State Representative Jethro Pease (R-Morrill) on Thursday released the results of his constituent survey, which was mailed to each household in his district. Rep. Pease represents the Knox and Waldo County towns of Appleton, Hope, Islesboro, Liberty, Lincolnville, Morrill, and Searsmont.
"Whether it's a conversation in the grocery store or a completed survey mailed to me, I enjoy hearing what my neighbors have to say about the decisions being made in Augusta," said Rep. Pease. "In this job, listening is one of the most important things you can do."
When asked, "What do you consider to be the most critical issues concerning Maine citizens?" and given nine choices, respondents ranked health insurance first, followed by welfare reform, and business attraction tied with transportation (roads and bridges) for third.
Health insurance has come to the forefront as a policy issue since President Obama apologized for breaking his promise that under his health care law, policyholders can keep their plans if they like them. Anthem, Maine's largest health insurer, has sent out 8,500 plan cancellation notices in recent weeks and experts predict further turmoil over the next year.
To the question of whether the state's budget problems are caused by too much spending or not enough revenue, 59 percent said "too much spending" while 29 percent replied "not enough revenue."
When asked about school choice, 62 percent of the Midcoast residents surveyed support allowing parents the opportunity to choose which school their child(ren) will attend, while 29 percent opposed and the rest were undecided.
Enacting "Right to Work" legislation, which would prevent unions from forcing workers to pay dues if they don't want to be a member and has resulted in faster wage growth and more jobs in other states, has been a priority for Maine Republicans in recent years. Of survey respondents, 67 percent support the policy while 31 percent oppose it.
Rep. Pease's survey showed broad support for allowing military recruiters to wear their uniforms in schools (81 percent), allowing forest rangers to carry firearms (76 percent), and the recent lifting of the state prohibition on fireworks (64 percent).
Less popular were the law that allows political candidates for state offices to use taxpayer funds to run their campaigns (60 percent opposed) and a proposal to provide a sales tax exemption for performing arts organizations (59 percent opposed).
"It's clear from this survey that folks in the Midcoast region are concerned about their health insurance with ObamaCare coming into effect, and they think state government should do a better job of living within its means," said Rep. Pease. "They also want accountability in government, especially in our welfare system. Mainers are common sense people, so I'm not surprised at the answers I got back."
Rep. Jethro Pease can be reached at RepJethro.Pease@legislature.maine.gov.
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793