Blier, Fitzgerald in House District 22 race

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Mark Blier

Age: 50

Residence: 50 Hall Road, Buxton

Party affiliation: Republican

Family: Divorced

Occupation: Real estate

Education: Associates degree, Northern Maine Community College

Political/civic experience: Buxton selectman, two years on Buxton Planning Board, several years on Buxton Budget Committee, chairman of town Comprehensive Plan Committee, Bonny Eagle Park trustee

Website/social media: Markblierformaine@gmail.com

 

Richard Fitzgerald

Age: 63

Residence: 104 Foss Road, Buxton

Party affiliation: Democrat

Family: Married, two daughters

Occupation: Referee, accountant

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, University of Maine

Political/civic experience: Ran for House District 22 seat in 2016; worked on Angus King campaign for U.S. Senate

Website/social media: none

BUXTON — Two Buxton residents are making their bids to win the Maine House District 22 seat.

Mark Blier and Richard Fitzgerald are both working businessmen and are Maine Clean Election Act financed. They are running for the seat of Republican incumbent Jonathan Kinney of Limington, who is not seeking reelection.

The district is large geographically and includes part of Buxton, part of Limerick, Limington and part of Standish. The election is Nov.6.

This year marks Fitzgerald’s second attempt to win the district. He received strong backing in 2016, but lost to Kinney. Fitzgerald said he received 43 percent of that vote.

Blier is making his first run for a state office. He said he was asked to run by Kinney and another veteran Republican legislator. Blier, who said he likes public service, agreed.

Both candidates would favor implementing the expansion of Medicaid as approved by voters in a referendum last year, although both cited funding issues.

Fitzgerald said he’d reach across the aisle to come forward with a spending plan to back the expansion.

Blier said he wants funding resources to continue paying for it in future years.

Paying for public schools and rising property taxes are issues they’ve heard and seen on the campaign trail. As a sports referee, Fitzgerald said some districts are struggling with finances. “I’m a big supporter of the schools,” he said.

Funding schools, Blier said, is one “hot topic” and he added, “the rising cost of education is an impact to the communities.”

Asked about the opioid crisis in the state, Blier said he wished he could solve it. “That’s a tough one. It’s a complicated issue,” he said.

Fitzgerald suggested a crackdown on physicians who are writing what he called dangerous prescriptions and advocated meeting the crisis head on. “Take the bull by the horns,” he said.

Fitzgerald also supports upgrades of infrastructure like roads and bridges, and improving Internet access.

Other top issues Blier pointed out are cost of health care and the shortage of employees to fill jobs.

As an accountant, Fitzgerald said he has no trouble reading balance sheets, has been a lifelong follower of politics and is ready to contribute. He cited  finding people willing to work across the political aisle as an issue, and said he wants to work for the “common good.”

Blier said his motive is to become a public servant. “I don’t have a political agenda going to the State House,” he said. ” I think I could be an asset to the state.”

Kinney, who has served three, two-year terms in Legislature, said Tuesday he needs a break to care for his home and businesses. Kinney said he took serving seriously and enjoyed it. “I really just need a rest,” he said.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or email rlowell@keepmecurrent.com