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State House District 149

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    Susan Bernard

Biographical Information

What are the greatest challenges facing Maine right now?

If elected, what are your top three priorities?

How will you encourage greater civic engagement among your constituents?

How will you support economic recovery in your district?

Campaign Phone 210-0518
Campaign Email
Finance Type Clean Election Candidate
State House District
Getting businesses back on line as quickly as possible in a safe manner. A number of small businesses have closed permanently due to the prolonged shutdown by the state. These collapsed businesses will no longer contribute to the tax base, employ residents and have left these business owners with nothing. Businesses need to open now, while still allowing individuals to determine if they are healthy enough to be in public. 2. Maine has a “brain drain” of young people leaving the state and a loss of population from the workforce in many regions of the state. We have one of the slowest population growth rates in the country at 48th out of 50. Since 2010, Aroostook County has experienced the largest loss of population at 4.3%. We must work on retaining our youth and attracting more skilled workers from outside Maine. Contrary to popular belief, we have the jobs, but not enough people ready and able to fill them.
1) Economic recovery; encouraging entrepreneurs especially in rural areas of the state. 2) Strengthening our workforce through education and growing our population with skilled workers by promoting Maine (especially northern Maine) as a great place to live, work and raise families. 3) Propose that technology (which already exists) be implemented during extreme health or safety emergencies which would allow legislators to work and vote from home. Constituent voices need to be heard at all times through their representatives (even during emergencies--especially during emergencies) as opposed to laws being passed merely through Executive Order.
Tough question. Many people have become turned off by any connection to politics, but everyone needs to know the number one civic engagement is voting—where each voter’s opinion is as important as the next. 2) Identifying, then asking for help on a local cause is very effective because that’s what we do in Maine towns: work and volunteer together to solve recognized problems. 3) I would motivate constituents by continuing to participate in causes/events myself and requesting that community leaders and others spread the word through their social groups. 4) I would try to encourage the less motivated by making it easy for them to get involved: having online surveys, for example, could begin a meaningful dialogue.
This must begin on a personal level with supporting local businesses and buying locally, which I do. I’m a cheerleader for local business and publicly compliment them. I will continue to share with others the benefits of buying local. In the legislature, I would propose encouraging (with tax incentives and revolving loans) entrepreneurs to establish their firms especially in rural communities. Once businesses are allowed to fully open, I would like to talk with media groups (Maine Association of Broadcasters, for example) to encourage them to incentivize advertising of local businesses by dropping rates for a certain period of time. This would help small businesses get the word out in a less expensive manner that they are welcoming patrons again. This lower rate could be offered for a limited time (TBD) until the businesses begin to recover. With more people advertising, it would also help broadcasters who have seen a big drop in commercial revenue.