Bennett campaigns in County

12 years ago

By Scott Mitchell Johnson
Staff Writer

    PRESQUE ISLE — In a few years, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Bennett will be sending his two teen-age children out into the world, and he wants that world to be better for them than it is now.
    “I’m very concerned about the world that they’ll be going into and the outrageous level of debt that is being heaped upon the next generation of Americans,” said Bennett, 48. “The U.S. Senate hasn’t passed a budget and hasn’t put forward a plan to balance the budget, and I find that to be outrageously bad leadership and irresponsible.
    “We’ve got huge challenges in our country that we just don’t seem to be dealing with,” he said. “I think my business experience — coupled with my previous government service experience — makes me uniquely qualified to take on these issues, particularly as the Republican nominee, to fight the opposition in the fall.”
    Bennett is currently the chief executive officer of GMI Ratings, a research firm headquartered in Portland, which is known around the world for promoting long-term decision-making for corporations, and for measuring those risks that can lead to large losses for strapped pension funds and other institutional investors.
    The Yarmouth native and Oxford resident has served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives and four terms in the Maine Senate.
    If elected, Bennett said the United States needs to get its spending under control.
    “That’s something that I will sink my teeth into and work at tenaciously because our deficits are outrageous,” he said. “For me, everything is on the table. We’ve got to examine every bit of spending, get rid of any waste and set some priorities. It’s not just the discretionary domestic spending; we need to look at everything … defense, entitlements, foreign military bases … everything needs to be on the table.”
    Recognizing that the need to pick a new U.S. Senator for Maine came very quickly with Olympia Snowe’s decision to not seek re-election, Bennett said he’s kept a quick pace on the campaign trail.
    “This has been a very, very short window to work with,” he said. “Candidly, I probably wouldn’t be running if this was a long election season. It came up suddenly and after my wife, Karen, and I decided it was something to pursue, I’ve been at it full bore for the last three months.”
    Bennett was in Presque Isle May 18-19 meeting with local merchants, business leaders, Republican activists and the Aroostook County Republicans.
    “The thing I hear most from people is concern over the economy. We’ve lost a lot of ground over the last four years in particular, but it’s been a difficult decade for most Mainers and most Americans,” he said. “I’ve heard again today in Aroostook County the difficulty people are facing. The average family in America has lost — over the last four years — $4,300 in income, there’s 23 million people who are either unemployed or severely under-employed, and this is a grim time for many people, and at the same time, government seems to be growing.
    “We need to boost our economy, and my experience in business will help do that,” said Bennett. “I’m not one who believes that government creates jobs, but I know as a businessman myself that government often gets in the way. We need to reform our tax code, have more sensible regulations and unleash the American spirit and create jobs.”
    The primary election is June 12. For more information, log onto www.BennettForMaine .com.