Political Profile Gregg Swallow

Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 7:45 PM EDT
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AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - We continue our Political Profile series with Maine State House District 6 and 7. WAGM, with the Aroostook Partnership, interviewed the candidates for the local races. Each candidate had 5 minutes to answer the same 3 questions. Those questions were provided ahead of time. The interviews were all done through Zoom. In state house district 6, Republican Donald Ardell is running unopposed. He did not respond to our request for him to do this interview. So, we will move on to State House District 7 where Republican Greg Swallow is also running unopposed. Here is his answers to the three questions.

Jason Parent, Aroostook Partnership: What are your top three priorities if elected, in the coming legislative session?

Greg Swallow, Republican Maine State House District 7 candidate: First of all, what the first priority would be is taxes. I think Maine is one of the highest taxed states in the nation. A recent study by Forbes ranks us third highest in the nation in taxes and that’s a real issue for us. They based it on a percentage of income that goes to taxes by each Mainer and so that included state income taxes, sales tax, excise tax and property taxes, and that worked out to 11.42% and we really need to do something about the tax situation. Secondly is business regulation and the economy. In a recent CNBC study rated Maine for doing business, they rated the 50 states and Maine was rated 48th out of 50 for ease of doing business. I think we were 40th in cost of doing business and 50th for infrastructure. So that’s a real issue. And then finally, there’s education. We spend a lot on education right now. Between 1970 and 2010 education costs increased 150%. In real dollars in the state of Maine we spend way over the national average and America spends way more than the national average and our test results are not good at all. I think it was in 2018, the US finished in at 39th in math and 26th in science nationally, yet we spent way more than most every country in the world.

Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8: And you have three minutes left for these next two questions. The next one is what are your thoughts on population growth, or perhaps other strategies, to address our qualified employee shortages in the region?

Greg Swallow, Republican Maine State House District 7 candidate: Population growth what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to make the state a more business friendly environment, after all, we are way up in the north east corridor. And due to that, we’re not in the main stream of business. So to get businesses here, there’s another factor in there as well and that would be electrical costs. Electrical costs are very high in the state of Maine as well and that’s compared to other states. And green energy is not the way to go, that’s not going to drop our electrical costs, that’s going to increase them. And that’s been proven with what’s happened in Europe. Much of Europe’s gone to the green energy strategy and that’s failed. They’re costs have gone out of sight for electricity. So we need to control our electricity costs and we need to prioritize ease of doing business to get to change that issue.

Jason Parent, Aroostook Partnership: You have about 2 minutes of time remaining for this last question and it reads, 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?

Greg Swallow, Republican Maine State House District 7 candidate: To reverse a trend like, first it always comes back to education and how are we doing with our education. And building that workforce. One of the issues that I think we need to put more towards, if we’re going to actually put money into education, what we need to go to more is services and what not. I know, the service sector for instance electrical, plumbing, those sectors have fallen way behind and young people aren’t going in to those. So, I think we need to promote that more and our educational system. And bring more young people into that. That’s a real issue. They are good paying jobs and you can be self employed in that as well. So, that’s a major factor there. Where our education system is going, the direction it’s headed. Secondly, I think we really need to take a look at our welfare system and see if our welfare system is disincentivizing work, which there’s a case to be made for that. So, I think that those two are the major factors, reviewing the welfare system and trying to get more people into the trades if you will. It’s very important.