Political Profile Tracy Quint
AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) -We continue our Political Profile series with Maine State House District 8 between Incumbent Republican Tracy Quint and Democratic challenger Kevin Richie. 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. Democrat Kevin Richie did not respond to our request for him to do this interview. Here is Incumbent Republican Tracy Quint.
Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8:What are your top three priorities if elected, in the coming legislative session?
Tracy Quint, Republican Maine State House District 8 Candidate: Well, it’s kind of hard now to narrow it down to three now that I’ve been down there, but I have tried to condense it together. I would say the economy, our drug problems and holding our government accountable. Specifically the economy, inflation, small businesses collapsing due to the unsustainable and overwhelming mandates that we have. The regulatory standards from the green energy movement that’s causing our energy costs to just continue to rise in a way that’s not sustainable and everything that we buy is effected by that. The gas to get to the grocery store, our food prices have increased as things have to be delivered here and so the economy is definitely huge and none of us can get away from it, it effects every area of our life. And then once again, drugs, this was an issue the last time around two years ago and it will continue to be an issue. The impact on our families, the communities, businesses, our legal infrastructure. We have a devastating suicide rate over this, the fentynl use is just increasing exponentially. We need to be really attacking this from every area and making sure that we’re providing the assistance that people need, but that we’re holding people accountable for bringing these drugs into our state. And then holding our government accountable, if we look at what’s happened in the last two years, the mandates, the school closures, everything that’s happened with our spending. Just accountability and transparency in general. We’re having huge difficulties with our state over that. DHHS is another area that I was concerned with when I first came into the legislature and we’re still dealing with that. Even trying to get the bureaucrats to give us the information to have legislative oversight over what’s going on in like our foster care system where we have children that have actually died within that system. It’s something that we need to be paying close attention to. And I’m working people across the aisle, we talk a lot about how people don’t get along, but I’m known very well for having conversations with democrats, republicans and independents, we all need to be working together to take care of all three of those issues and in fact everything that’s harming our state right now.
Jason Parent, Aroostook Partnership: Alright, Tracy Quint, we have about 2 and a half minutes left on this conversation with the two remaining questions to go, the second question is, what are your thoughts on population growth, or perhaps other strategies, to address our qualified employee shortages in the region?
Tracy Quint, Republican Maine State House District 8 Candidate: Employee shortages is huge. I was just with a small business owner about this. The number one thing that I think that we need to do first and foremost is reform our welfare system. We have so many people that are not working who could be. We need to make sure that we’re providing them the assistance to go from being unemployed to being employed, looking for the different job areas that people can be placed into. We should not be paying people to stay home. We have generational welfare now within our state. And we need to stop taking money away from people as they’re actually trying to move into the workforce. The minute someone gets a job, we take all of their assistance away and we’re not helping to build them up to have confidence to continue to be able to take care of themselves. This is just something I feel so strongly about. People are demoralized and they need to have the where with all to understand that they can provide for themselves and we need to be encouraging them to do that. I think that the next thing that we can do for that is relieve the mandate when it comes to health care workers. There is absolutely no reason for this mandate to still be around. When it comes to small businesses, we need to decrease the regulations and the taxes, that way the businesses can afford to give better incentives to their employees. If we are taxing them and over regulating them, there’s no way that they can pass it on to their employees and this is a tough one. We have businesses closing all over for that simple reason. And then the drug issue comes into this as well. We have so many people that are hooked to drugs they can’t pass the drug tests that are required for some jobs. We need to get serious about drug trafficking. We need to be tough on the traffickers and we need to be serious about rehabilitation. We need to be helping people get away from this lifestyle.
Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8: And you have about a minute left for this last question, which is, 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?
Tracy Quint, Republican Maine State House District 8 Candidate: This is huge. I think that the number one thing we can do for our young people is encourage them to dream big and to go after those dreams. We need to encourage and incentivize innovations. They have the opportunity to follow their dreams. We’re really not allowing them to do that now. We are shoving them into maybe a career in solar panels and windmills and there’s more to life than that. We have so much more to offer. There are so many trades in which we are lacking employees in. We need to have better mentorship programs and internship programs sooner in school. Seventh, eighth, ninth grade, if a child shows an interest in that to be pushing them towards a college type of career that doesn’t fit in with who they are or what they want to do. We need to be providing them with the opportunity to get some hands on experience and see if that’s a job that they may like. When I went into nursing...
Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8: I have to interrupt you there, I apologize, we’ve reached our five minutes, but we really appreciate you joining us today.
Tracy Quint, Republican Maine State House District 8 Candidate: Ok
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