Political Profile David McCrea
AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - Our Political Profile series we are doing with the Aroostook Partership, we are focusing on Maine State House District 3 between Incumbent Democrat David McCrea and challenger Republican Mark Babin. Again, each candidate had 5 minutes to answer the same three questions. The questions were provided ahead of time and the interviews were all done through Zoom. We begin with Democrat David McCrea.
Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8: Your first question is what are your top three priorities if elected, in the coming legislative session?
David McCrea, Democrat Candidate Maine State House District 3: Well Kelly, thanks for inviting me. That’s a tough question because there are so many priorities going. I think probably the one that’s foremost in every bodies mind is the cost of energy, especially electricity, but gasoline, fuel oil, etc. As far as electricity is concerned, the production of electricity right now relies very heavily on fossil fuel type energies being converted into energy. And there are many reasons for that. We’ve done a little better over the last year, the price of gas for example has gone down only by a third and hopefully will continue to do so. But we have other sources of energy that can help generate electricity. Solar, wind and hydro. One of the issues there is, certainly I believe we should be moving in that direction, as rapidly as possible, but we’ve got to be a little bit careful because of cost, etc. As more and more large businesses, such as McCains and Huber move into this area and along with communities and individuals for that matter, as long as we are moving in that direction, that’s great for them, but it does leave a little bit or maybe a big problem for the rest of us that are not moving in that direction because we have to bear the cost of the delivery systems, the infer structure, etc. So, that’s something that we’ve got to be very concerned on and I will be working to help find ways, I’m sure I’m not the only one. The second priority is the medical professionals. We’re having a hard time in the rural areas, probably all over the country, attracting Dr.’s and nurses, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and CNA’s for that matter. And once we get them here, we’ve got to keep them here. I know of several cases where these professionals have come to the county, did great with their job, but left for whatever reason. And it usually wasn’t because of the pay. The upside to bringing in these people is, bringing these professionals in, they bring families with them. That helps with population growth and also helps with students in schools. It also helps when their families also come and need or want employment in other parts of the employment spectrum. So, I plan on working on these issues, perhaps with the hospital administrators and getting suggestions. And a reoccurring theme in this whole interview is, I really encourage people to contact me. I love putting in bills that are people bills and I can’t say that I author them all myself, I get a lot of great ideas from people. The third priority is that I’ve put in, or I’ve had passed into state law 20 of my own bills that I sponsored. They range from criminal justice, education, farming, farming, meals on wheels and run the gamete there. They’re varied, they’re wide spectrum. I always encourage as I said a few minutes ago or a few seconds ago, suggestions from all aspects of our region, in district 3 especially.
Jason Parent, Aroostook Partership: Representative McCrea we have about a minute 30 left of our time together for two questions and the first, What are your thoughts on population growth, or perhaps other strategies, to address our qualified employee shortages in the region?
David McCrea, Democrat Candidate Maine State House District 3: I’ll try to be quick, ok, I’ve noticed that there is a trend worldwide of people moving from rural areas of their country, county, city, region, the cities. That’s just a natural occurrence and I’ll do everything I can to attract industries such as the Vault industries at the airport in Presque Isle, the aerospace research company that’s coming in and promising as many as 126 skilled jobs. I’ve worked hard with the LDA, improving their board of directors and I’ve been out there several times with different perspectives, employers and industries. So, I will continue to do that as much as possible.
Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8: And in your last 30 seconds, Aroostook County’s workforce participation rate continues to decline and is currently at 54% for residents 16 and older. What do you feel the barriers are to increasing this important metric and what are your ideas to reverse this trend?
David McCrea, Democrat Candidate Maine State House District 3: Ok, well, when I first started in the legislature I became aware of how many jobs were, people were needed, like engineers. We needed a thousand, we were producing 200. That’s similar with other fields. We saw in 2019 Main streets being filled with help wanted signs. The federal checks helped get people through the short term, but it doesn’t take care of it for the long term. The bright side is, that as the economy gets tougher, more people will be looking to come back to come back to the workforce simply because they have to. That may well help us through some of these workforce issues.
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