Our Voices: September 2022
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Our Voices: September 2022

Our Voices: September 2022

Accessibility & Responsiveness 

I came to statewide public office with a background in local government – as a selectperson in Woolwich – and that has shaped my perspective on state government in a couple of ways.
 
First, while I care deeply about quality education, access to health care, and investment in infrastructure, I did not arrive in Augusta with a list of bills I wanted to promote. Instead, as in local government, we wait for issues to come to us. As a result, the bills I have introduced since I’ve been in the legislature have all come from constituents, such as increasing access to services for people with acquired brain injuries, making recreational lobster licenses free to disabled veterans, and, my most recent accomplishment, creating funding to Towns hard hit by browntail moths. These of course are the successful ones. Several did not make it over the finish line but we at least started the conversation – about the performance of real estate appraisers, reporting vehicular accidents that involve hitting a pet, and even a couple of bills to reduce taxes – for campground users, buyers of newspapers, and companies who invest in research and development. And all of these came from constituents.
 
That said, I have also supported and co-sponsored a variety of legislation, including outlawing the intentional release of balloons as environmental and marine hazards, funding to help lobstermen handle increased costs of compliance with federal regulations, and supporting a Constitutional amendment for an Equal Rights Amendment. My commitment to the environment, workers rights, and health care is clear.
 
Second, my work in local government has made me acutely aware of the relationship between the state and local government, and especially the impact on local property taxes. To that end, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of increased municipal revenue sharing, full state funding for education, and increased reimbursement for the homestead exemption. In addition, working closely with the Towns I represent, I worked hard to improve the recently passed housing bill and remain committed to making it work for rural areas like ours. Similarly, I am currently working with local transfer stations and residents and redemption centers to solve the growing problem with returnables. This is how I approach my work as a state representative – staying focused on the people I represent. Sometimes a simple phone call resolves an issue, and others require a meeting with a local group, and everything in between.
 
My goal in the next two years is to continue being as accessible, responsive, and honest to the people I represent as I hope I’ve been in these past four years. It’s an honor to do this public service.

Allison Hepler, Woolwich


Why I’m Running For State Representative

My name is Sally Cluchey and I am proud to be running to represent Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, and Richmond in the Maine House of Representatives. I thought long and hard about whether to run – politics isn’t exactly the nicest place to be these days – but ultimately I came to see this as an extension of the service I have always tried to do for my community. I love this district, and I believe my skills and experience would make me an effective representative.

I come from a family of public servants. My father was a volunteer EMT and fireman who taught chemistry and physics at our local public school. When I was in second grade, my mother was elected our town’s first female Supervisor. She also practiced family law and was a fierce advocate for children, serving as law guardian to many. From an early age, they instilled in my siblings and me the value of serving the community in which you live.

It is a lesson I carried with me. After college, I worked for the U.S. Army on developing a vaccine for malaria, a disease that kills over half a million people each year. I worked nights and weekends as a cocktail waitress to make ends meet and enrolled in graduate school part-time, eventually earning a Masters degree in biomedical science. My career has been focused on improving public health, and helping organizations run better by listening to their employees.

My husband and I moved to Bowdoinham to raise our family, and it was the best decision we ever made. In one day, we can have breakfast at Annabella’s, visit Swan Island, pick apples at Rocky Ridge, and have dinner at The Three Robbers – a perfect day! I have loved coaching Bowdoin and Bowdoinham kids in cross country, and seeing them run at the annual Chicken Run. I’ve directed that race for six years, and I’m proud to have raised over $35,000 to fund enrichment programs and support teachers in that time.

One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had has been working with the Bowdoinham Food Pantry. I’ve served on the board since 2015, and as chair since 2019. In Maine, one in five children – and one in six seniors – is food insecure. We have worked hard to remove barriers and reduce the stigma of shopping at the Pantry. During the pandemic, I was especially proud of how we found new, safe ways to maintain our neighbors’ essential access to fresh, healthy food.

If the people of House District 52 see fit to elect me as their next representative, these are some of the values and experiences I would bring to my work. Public policies that treat people with dignity, including reducing food insecurity, increasing access to affordable housing, supporting seniors, and minimizing the tax burden on working people would be a top priority. We are all struggling in our own ways, whether that’s with finances, mental health, family obligations, discrimination, or violence. I would work every day for solutions that seek to reduce those struggles.

I would also be a steadfast supporter of reproductive freedom and American democracy. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the January 6th hearings both influenced my decision to run. Having support at the state level for a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions has never been more important, and Maine ought to be a voice for election integrity and the rule of law. I believe our district must be represented in Augusta by someone who will stand strong for these principles.

My family and I love our community, and we show that love through service. I consider running for this office to be a natural extension of what I’ve always tried to do, both professionally and personally. I want to ensure the residents of Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, and Richmond are heard, well-represented, and have access to the information and resources they need to live with the dignity we all deserve. I hope I can earn your vote in November.

Sally Cluchey, Bowdoinham