RAYMOND — A forestry consultant and Raymond Planning Board member is running against incumbent Jessica Fay for House District 66, which covers parts of Raymond, Casco and Poland.
Greg Foster has been active in the Republican Party since a young age when he helped with his father’s successful House campaigns in Gray. His own campaign came about after discussions with fellow party members.
He said he has “put all my heart and soul into this” and is committed to serving in the Legislature.
Democrat Jessica Fay has held the position since 2016, when she was inspired to serve as a voice for her community after her mother experienced health issues. “I really became her advocate and learned how important it is to have somebody who will listen and help amplify people’s voices,” she explained.
Her constituents come to her with a variety of problems, she said, and hearing their stories is her favorite part of the job. One of her strengths is listening, she said. “I listen. Listen to understand and not necessarily having an ideological perspective. I do think that I’m very open minded about how we can solve problems,” she explained.
Foster said if elected Nov. 6 he would focus on maintaining the Republican party’s policies and on keeping “people’s money in their own pockets.” He added that he is “not a big fan of government overreach.”
He also emphasized the importance of tree growth taxation law, which typically taxes forest property owners at a lower rate. The process to enroll is too complex and burdensome for landowners, he said.
“I’ve been doing forestry since 1980, and I’ve seen a progression of changes in the law that I don’t think are particularly good. It just made it more onerous for the property owner. I would like to at least keep it the way it is or maybe even relax some things about it,” he said.
Fay said if re-elected, she would continue to listen to her constituents in order to shape her agenda. “I’m really focused on the issues that folks bring to me through the community and continuing that work,” she stated.
She would also focus on services for older adults.
“As a state, it doesn’t feel to me like we have a comprehensive plan to address the needs that all of us are going to have as we get older,” she said.
Foster said he will vote no on Question 1 on the statewide ballot, which asks voters if they want to create a new Universal Home Care Program for seniors and people with disabilities through a 3.8 percent tax on individuals and families making more than $128,400.
“As I understand it, there’s no oversight by the Legislature,” he said, which he finds “unwise.”
“It’s going to come at a huge expense, and even the process of collecting the taxes sounds like it’s a little convoluted. I think it’s a terrible law,” he said.
Fay will also vote against Question 1 but for different reasons. While she is pleased that the bill addresses care for older people, she said it has serious flaws and would prefer a more comprehensive approach.
She would like to create an ombudsman for the Office of Aging and Disability in the Department of Health in Human Services so the problem can be addressed “in more of a comprehensive way instead of doing it sort of piecemeal by department. I’d like to see more coordination.”
To address opioid addiction, Foster would approach the issue on a broader scale because he sees addiction as stemming from family structure.
“We have a lot of families that are broken, unfortunately, more than in the past. And I think we have a lot of entitlement programs that reduce the desire of a family to stay together and hurt that family structure. And when you lose that, I think you tend to lose the priority of raising your family as a family unit, and I think when that happens there’s a lot of opportunity for the children to do things maybe they shouldn’t do,” he explained.
He said he would try to reduce the cost of doing business, thereby allowing companies to pay their employees more, which would raise family income. “There’s probably a threshold where, if their income was high enough, the entitlement programs would be less attractive to them,” he said. This process, he believes, would strengthen the family unit and create less opportunity for exposure to opioids.
Fay would focus on treatment and the destigmatization of substance use disorder.
“Really, it’s a disease. It’s a medical condition, and as long as we think of it as some sort of moral deficiency, I don’t think we’re going to be able to do as good of a job as we can treating folks,” she said.
Jane Vaughan can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or email@example.com.
Name: Greg Foster
Town of Residence: Raymond
Party affiliation: Republican
Family: Divorced, daughter
Occupation: Business owner, consulting forester
Education: Bachelor’s degree in forest management, University of Maine
Political/Civic Experience: 13-year member Raymond Planning Board; past member, Raymond Comprehensive Plan Committee; past member, Raymond Ordinance Review Committee; past member; Raymond Conservation Commission; past town ballot clerk; Immediate past chairman, Maine Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters of America; member and past executive board member, Society of American Foresters; member, Maine Woodland Owners Association; past board of directors member, Member Maine Forest Products Council
Website/social media: Email firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook Greg Foster for Maine house district 66