2nd District Democratic contenders debate at Bates

The Bates Democrats help launch the campaign season with a debate among the six Democratic candidates for Maine’s 2nd District congressional seat, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, in the Muskie Archives at Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

Six Democrats and four Republicans are vying for the seat to be vacated by Rep. John Baldacci (D-Bangor), who is running for the Blaine House. Working with the Androscoggin County Democratic Committee, the student Bates Democrats present one of Maine’s first debates of this election year.

All moderate-to-progressive Democrats, the six participants in the debate at Bates are:

· David Costello, Lewiston. Raised in Bangor, Costello graduated from George Washington University and the London School of Economics and Political Science. A former senior-level employee of state and federal government, Costello has been a foreign aid officer responding to political, humanitarian and economic crises in such countries as Cambodia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. Costello supports universal health insurance and increased federal funding for education, worker training, communications and transportation infrastructure, and scientific research and development.

· Sean Faircloth, Bangor. When Baldacci left the Bangor state senate seat to run for Congress, Faircloth, a Notre Dame graduate, won that seat by a wide margin. He previously served as legal counsel to the state Senate, assistant state attorney general and state representative. His legislative record includes solid gains for children’s issues, including leadership on the Healthy Start child abuse prevention program. Faircloth was instrumental in the founding and recent multi-million-dollar expansion of the Maine Discovery Museum, a children’s museum in Bangor.

· Lori Handrahan, New Sharon and Sorrento. Handrahan grew up in the Farmington area and worked her way through college (she has a doctorate from the London School of Economics and Political Science). An international development and human rights expert, she is an adjunct faculty member at American University’s School of International Service, in Washington. Her proposals for the House include a partial loan repayment program for Maine students educated out of state if they return to the 2nd District for two years of public service or entrepreneurial work.

· Susan Longley, Unity. The daughter of Gov. James Longley, Longley is a public-interest lawyer, an adjunct professor at Unity College and is in her fourth term as state senator for Republican-leaning District 11. She chaired the Judiciary Committee for two terms and currently chairs the Health and Human Service Committee, where she initiated Maine’s Cub Care legislation and Start ME Right to expand health and child care to children of working families. She is known for her innovative approaches to problems and for reaching consensus across party lines and between the private and public sectors. The Wall Street Journal cited Longley’s “ability to frame child care issues as central economic issues.”

· Michael H. Michaud, East Millinocket. Michaud served as Maine’s Senate president under the power-sharing arrangement that resulted from that body’s first-ever partisan tie. Employed at the paper mill where his father and grandfather worked, he is strongly pro-labor. Michaud served seven consecutive terms in the Maine House of Representatives and is now in his fourth Senate term representing one of the most Republican districts in the state. His legislative record is distinguished by an emphasis on fiscal accountability, economic development and children’s health coverage.

· John Nutting, Leeds. A third-generation dairy farmer and 12-year state legislator, currently representing state Senate District 20, Nutting is known for a work ethic that typically has him preceding a full day at the State House with early chores at his family farm, Androscoggin Holsteins (named Oakhurst Dairy’s Producer of the Year in 2000). As a Maine lawmaker, Nutting has sponsored five first-in-the-nation environmental bills and supported reform in education funding and the Workers’ Compensation system.

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