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Rep. Bernard Ayotte (R-Caswell)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 01/29/14

Northern Aroostook Survey: Welfare Reform, Reduced Spending Top Priorities

State Rep. Bernard Ayotte releases results of constituent survey
State Rep. Bernard Ayotte releases results of constituent survey
State Rep. Bernard Ayotte releases results of constituent survey

AUGUSTA - State Representative Bernard Ayotte (R-Caswell) has released the results of his annual constituent survey. Rep. Ayotte mailed questionnaires to each household in his district to obtain feedback on state policy matters. He represents House District 3, which includes Caswell, Grand Isle, Hamlin, Limestone, New Sweden, Van Buren, Woodland, Cyr Plantation, and Connor Township in Northern Aroostook County.

As he is prevented from running for the House again due to term limits, this will be Rep. Ayotte's last constituent survey.

"It's important to me to obtain feedback from as many of my neighbors as possible," said Rep. Ayotte. "The most important attribute of any elected official is to listen, and this survey helps me do that. That's why I encourage everyone to fill the surveys out when they get them in the mail."

The survey results revealed a strong streak of fiscal conservatism in the area north of Caribou, with 72.3 percent of respondents saying that "too much spending" is the cause of the state's recurrent budget problems, as opposed to "not enough revenue." Maine ranks sixth in the nation for the size of its state and local tax burden.

Only 41 percent of respondents supported the proposal to have the state fund an expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare, which majority liberal lawmakers attempted to attach to Governor LePage's Medicaid debt payment bill last year. Fifty-nine percent opposed the expansion measure.

When asked to rank the top three "most critical issues concerning Maine citizens" and given nine choices, respondents selected welfare reform first, reducing state spending second, and education third. Maine ranks second in the nation for welfare spending as a percentage of overall state spending, and welfare reform and expansion are shaping up to be top issues facing the legislature in 2014.

Respondents were overwhelmingly opposed, 77.3 to 22.7 percent, to the law that uses taxpayer money to fund political campaigns, also known as "clean elections." Rep. Ayotte, in his fourth and final term this year, has declined taxpayer funding for each of his four campaigns.

There was also wide support for allowing military recruiters to wear their uniforms in schools, a proposal opposed last year by majority Democratic lawmakers; the lifting of the statewide ban on fireworks, which was supported by Rep. Ayotte; the bill to allow direct farmer to consumer sales of certain agricultural products; and the proposal to allow forest rangers to carry firearms.

"Liberal politicians Augusta are trying to take the state down a dangerous path toward bigger budget shortfalls, more debts, and higher taxes while resisting any attempt at welfare reform," said Rep. Ayotte. "Throughout my time in the Maine Legislature, I have always fought for policies that leave Maine a better place for future generations, with more prosperity and less government dependency."

Rep. Ayotte is an army veteran and retired educator, having taught biology and mathematics and served as principal of New Sweden Elementary School. He can be reached at bernardayotte@gmail.com or (207) 325-4905.

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Contact:
David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793