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Rep. Carol McElwee (R-Caribou)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 12/30/13

Caribou Survey: Welfare Reform Number One Issue Facing Maine

Rep. Carol McElwee releases results of constituent survey

AUGUSTA - State Representative Carol McElwee of Caribou has released the compiled results of her survey of Caribou residents on recent state policies. She mailed the questionnaire to each household in her Caribou district.

"As a state representative in my first term, it's so important for me to find out what really matters to my friends and neighbors in Caribou," said McElwee. "I'm always glad to see an email from a fellow Caribou resident sharing a concern, an idea, or even the occasional complaint. I thank all those who took the time to fill out this survey and share their thoughts."

One question asked respondents, "What do you consider to be the most critical issues concerning Maine citizens?" and listed nine options. Survey participants ranked them in order from first to ninth: welfare reform, reducing state spending, health insurance, business attraction, education, transportation, energy costs, tax reform, and "other."

"Welfare reform and spending don't surprise me," said McElwee. "When I talk to people I hear those concerns a lot. People want to help their neighbors in need, but they feel there are too many people taking advantage of the system and all the spending is driving taxes up and hurting other priorities, like our schools."

An overwhelming 86 percent of respondents supported a measure introduced by House Republican Leader Ken Fredette that would require able-bodied welfare applicants to apply for three jobs prior to seeking benefits.

When asked whether combining Medicaid expansion with the Govenor's Medicaid debt payment bill was a good idea, 64 percent replied that it was not. When asked whether the state's budget problems are caused by too much spending or not enough revenue, 71 percent said that spending is the problem.

Caribou residents also supported a range of economic reforms, such as Right to Work (72.7 percent support), direct farmer-to-consumer sales (96 percent support), and lifting the statewide ban on fireworks to allow municipal regulation instead (69 percent support).

Other measures with wide support included allowing forest rangers to carry firearms (88 percent), allowing military recruiters to wear their uniforms when visiting public high schools (96 percent), and increasing the fines for texting while driving (84 percent).

"When I return to the State House in January, I will be working hard to implement the kind of reforms that will strengthen the economy in the County, reduce intergenerational welfare dependency, and bring fiscal responsibility to state government," added McElwee.

Rep. Carol McElwee may be reached at RepCarol.McElwee@Legislature.Maine.gov or at her home at (207) 498-8605).

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