Political Profile Tiffany Bond

Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 7:07 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - 1. What are the first three things you would do if you’re re-elected.

Tiffany Bond: So, the first thing I would do is build a good staff. I think that’s critical. And for anybody in federal office in Maine, we need to have excellent constituent services. And so, I think that putting together a team of folks that are dedicated and happy to help a constituents is the most important thing.

And then I would start looking through the, the low hanging fruit that’s available. I think there’s some minor changes to tax code. I think we could look at perhaps taking care of interest on student loans, some things that should be able to get support or enough support to pass through and really do major help in folks’ lives.

I think, it’s really easy for a lot of folks we’ve sent to DC to forget why they’re there and that’s to help us. And then I would set up a town hall schedule. I think that we’ve really had a hard time getting ahold of our representatives and I want to make sure that folks can reach me whenever they need to.

2. I’m going to skip ahead to a question that I had that really goes along with that, and that is how important to you is visiting your constituents in their towns and city in person, while in office.

Tiffany Bond: Well, I do a lot of that now anyway. I mean, even if I’m not running for office, our boys are nine and 11 and they are the most Maine things you can imagine. They are mountain biking, fishing, skiing, camping monsters. So, we’re already traveling all over and I think it’s really important to be accessible, but Maine’s a huge state. And this district is huge. So one of the things I’ve been doing throughout my campaign is I make sure that twice a week, I’m available by a virtual town hall. So, Tuesdays at seven and Saturdays at 8:00 AM 7:00 PM and 8:00 AM you can find me on YouTube, so if you feel like you aren’t getting connected and you feel like you or you’re left out of this campaign, cycle, come ask me questions. Let’s talk.

3. And if reelected, what committees would you plan to serve on and why?

Tiffany Bond: You know, there are so many to choose from. I think that I would really like to be involved in judiciary. I think that’s very important. I’d really like to see us have someone that’s deeply entrenched in agricultural committees and I would very, very much like to be involved in anything that we’re doing on climate change. I suspect there’s probably going to be some new committees that will evolve that maybe aren’t there now.

I think that there are so many opportunities for Maine to look at how we’re changing our relationship with tech and green tech, and there are some great opportunities to bring back manufacturing to Maine, and I’d really like to be on the forefront of that.

4. So you mentioned what your first three things would be that you want to do, but what are the priorities that you have going back?

Tiffany Bond: Well, my biggest priority is, that we have a sustainable planet because if we don’t have that, policy doesn’t matter. But that’s longer term. So shorter term, our social service network doesn’t work. I mean, we have people this year that are choosing between food and heat, and that is not something we should be facing. I’m a family law attorney, so I work with these issues all the time. So much federal law comes across my desk, whether it’s taxes, student loans, retirement, helping out when people do need welfare supports, issues with veterans, issues with disability. It’s just so much. We have this giant chunk of services and they’re not working and they’re not working together. And I think we really need to get people in there who work on the receiving end. I work with what happens when they make law and when they dump law out on us. And we seem to have people making decisions that don’t understand how they impact people. So our social service network is probably the most urgent thing. And that comprises people who need welfare supports, but also how are we going to handle inflation? How are we going to handle making sure we have sustainable communities?

5. And kind of going off of that, you mentioning, people are already there. How willing are you to compromise and work with everyone regardless of political affiliation to get the work that needs to be done, done?

Tiffany Bond: Oh, sure. I mean, not only am I a family law attorney, I’m also a mediator. I mean, my day job is working with people that really don’t like each other very much. If my clients liked the parties that we were working with, they would stay together and live happily ever after. So I’m used to working in very high conflict situations and helping people find a win in the solution, even if it’s not their solution.

6. So moving on to energy and heating questions. How concerned are you about people living in Aroostook County heading into the cold winter months?

Tiffany Bond: Oh my gosh. I’ve actually asked folks not to give me any campaign contributions this month. Please, if you like what you see, go online, look up your town office and contribute to the heating fund.

We should never have folks that have to choose between heat and food. It’s just not something we can do long term and even medium term. We need to be working on electrifying as much as possible because once you have your heating sources that are done by electricity, you have multiple fuel options.

Right now most people only have a fuel option or a couple. You know, when you’re prudent, you usually have more than one just in case one fails. But the sooner we can ramp that up, the better. Maine doesn’t have the resources to do it. Certainly not for all the houses that need it. So I’d love to see some congressional funds be pushed towards that so that we can really work on getting us to a space where we don’t ever have to in the winter, worry about picking between food and heat.

7. With so much need in the state that you mentioned and that it may not be able to fund that itself. Do you agree with the amount of aid being sent over seas? Especially as part of that bill that was just going through the House and Senate.

Tiffany Bond: You know, I haven’t had a chance to go line by line through it, but what I would say is I think that we hire government for a few purposes.

One of those is to make shared purchasing decisions. I feel like we don’t have very many people down there right now looking at return on investment. I think we have a lot of people that say, let’s spend everything. And I think we have a lot of people that say, let’s spend nothing. We try and give some tax dollars back.

Well, they never really give tax dollars back, but what I would like to see is having us shift our focus to return on investment. There are times when overseas spending will actually generate a positive, just like there’s times in our own country where spending money generates a positive, a lot of social support services.

So you know when you’re helping out seniors who don’t have enough to eat with food stamps and you are increasing the funds for snap, which is also known as food stamps. Those generate more positive to the community than they cost. So there’s a lot of places where we can actually invest in our citizens and invest in our communities, whether it’s those social supports or maybe having available a wider range of grants and loans for small businesses. And those tend to return way better on the investments than how we’ve been wasting a lot of the money these days.

8. So moving into economy and inflation, how concerned are you about inflation and the possibility of a recession?

Bond: I’m really concerned. I mean, I’m a bit of a penny pincher myself. I think of the three candidates, I’m the one who actually clips coupons.

I have a budget. I have two young children. I have student loans. We are very frugal in our household. So I do think it’s a real possibility. Unfortunately, a lot of the changes that I hope will head off will have to be made before I can get to DC and do much about it. That really concerns me, but I think the best way that we can address it is by addressing our long term sustainability and resilience. We need to diversify the amount of industries we have. Jay down in Franklin County announced a mill closure that was coming. And I know a lot of communities have struggled with industry sort of frittering away and a lot of the politicians were sad or angry, but none of them came with their thinking caps on. And that’s not what we need. We need people that say, Hey, okay, well we’ve got a mill that’s closing and we really need industry anchoring some of these smaller towns. What can we build there that uses the similar size buildings, similar size electric capacity. Maybe we could be manufacturing insulin in those facilities. It’s not that dissimilar of an energy need to do those, or, you know, maybe we can do indoor agriculture. There’s a water source right there. So we need to be looking at projects that really fit the community and really fit the amenities and the needs that are there to get those living wage jobs into our smaller towns.

9. Do you think continuing to raise the interest rate to the potentially more than 4% that it’s been estimated it could be, or is the answer or part of the answer.

Bond: I think that raising the interest rate does legitimately slow down inflation, but it also hurts most the people who need to borrow. So I really struggle with a lot of this. I was asked earlier, you know, I for example, think that we should be looking at social security costs of living and adjustments and seeing if we do them maybe more than once a year when we’re in these periods where inflation’s off the hook. We hurt people when we’re not looking at the people at the bottom. You know, we shouldn’t be looking at inflation in the context of, Oh my gosh, should we let people starve so that we can help inflation a little bit? It’s a balancing act. So I am concerned with raising interest rates. I think that we should be shifting as quickly as possible into local manufacturing and diversifying our economy. It is a little bit longer term strategy. If we have a little bit more inflation in the short term so that people don’t starve, I’m okay with that. But I would prefer to get it all wrangled and give us an economy that goes the distance where we’re not constantly going through the stress of whether or not interest rates will go up.

10. So in addition to that interest rate, short term goal, what should be done to help Mainers today as we face the winter with inflation, and then businesses as well?

Bond: Well again, there’s so little I can do. until January. I do want people to not contribute to my campaign. I do want people to invest in our communities.

One of the points I made a few nights ago is if you look at the amount of money that Jared Golden and Bruce Poliquin will have raised by the end of this campaign cycle, the two of them together, if they collaborated, could fix all of our heating problems. I mean, the amount that they’ll raise together likely will exceed our LIHEAP funds for this state. So we’re very wasteful in how we are spending things. I’d love to see us start shifting a lot of our political energy back to community investment. You know, what can I do in January? It’s going to take a few months to get my feet under me, and by then this winter will have already hit and it’s going to be a hard choice. It doesn’t seem like Congress is doing much between now and then. They don’t have a whole lot between now and January either, which I find very disheartening.

11. Do you support student loan forgiveness?

Bond: Well, I appreciate that the Democrats are trying to address the problem, but I don’t think they addressed the problem. So I’ve talked to thousands of people this year at this point in time, and whether folks are conservative or liberal or don’t even want to talk about politics, one of the things that I found is very well received and appropriate is I think that for students, their time out of the workforce and their tuition is an appropriate contribution to their future. And if subsidizing banks with 0% interest. That’s the least we can do for our students. That way we’ve taken care of the predatory part of the loans. You know, if we take the interest rate to 0%, if we decapitalize interest and we credit for interest, accrue and paid, people can get out from those loans. They can have a certain future, and they’re not trapped. I don’t like that the solution was to throw some money at it, but to continue to have the problem fester.

12. And what solutions do you have, I mean Aroostook County is joining much of the state in a housing crisis, affordable housing crisis and homelessness crisis, what solutions are there out there for that?

Bond: A lot of the problem with our issues is they’re so deeply intertwined. You know, housing, the affordability of housing hasn’t hit quite as hard up here, which I’m sure is a blessing for many. We’re building out in the Sandy River Plantation and, oh my gosh, Rangely, they’re selling houses for more than Portland per square foot right now. It’s Astonishing. I don’t know how any one of the IGA could afford rent out there these days. We don’t have enough housing stock in a lot of the areas and working on that, working on our housing infrastructure and our infrastructure generally would help provide some of those good sustainable living wage jobs. So we’re going to need more housing to start off with, but we also need to look at things like when interest rates go up, housing becomes less affordable, people get trapped, they can’t purchase and they also can’t rent. So that’s one of my concerns with interest rates is you end up stuck in a place where you can’t find housing.

13. So kind of looking toward the positive, as you know, campaigning and running against, two other gentlemen, what policy or stance, do you agree with Congressman Jared Golden or and with Bruce Poliquin?  It doesn’t have to be the same for both, but with Bruce Poliquin as well.

Bond: You know, I find, I partially agree with them on things. I have a hard time like all the way agreeing, so something that I can cite that they both voted for. They both voted for a bill to help veterans who’d suffered Agent Orange exposure, and I think that that was a really wonderful and noble thing to work on.

I think that we should be taking care of our veterans. I’m concerned that both of them voted on versions of the bill that didn’t have any funding or any specificity in there about finding the veterans. So, I was raised that if you break something, you’re supposed to fix it or at least fix it as much as you can.

There should have been funding in there and a program in there where we know who’s disabled, we know they were disabled on our watch. Why aren’t we going and affirmatively finding those veterans and making sure they have the supports they need instead of waiting for them to apply for a program that they may not know exists, And if they do know exists, may not have the capacity to apply for because they’re disabled.

So I find that it’s hard for me to agree a hundred percent with the gentleman on most of their issues because we’re just coming from such different policy places.

14. So, finally, why should the voters of Aroostook County vote for you?

Bond: I’m boring, I’m reasonable, I’m competent. I will actually go do the job. I am not interested at all in party politics. I’m interested in making sure the laws work for us. We have a bunch of people making the laws that do not understand how the words on the page impact the people that they represent. And that is a huge problem. There’s a giant disconnect there, and we’ve got to start electing people that pay attention to that and I can focus all my resources on that. I don’t want to spend my time fundraising or doing things that get me lots of press but aren’t functional. I just want to go do the job.