Two candidates seek to represent newly-formed House District 8

2 years ago

HODGDON, Maine — A newly formed district has two candidates seeking a seat on the Maine House of Representatives.

Republican Tracy Quint is squaring off against Democrat Kevin Ritchie to represent House District 8. Quint is finishing a term as Representative for House District 144. That district no longer exists as a result of the state’s redistricting.

House District 8 encompasses a vast geographic area, covering parts of southern Aroostook County, as well as Penobscot and Washington counties. In Aroostook County,  the municipalities included are Amity, Bancroft, Crystal, Glenwood, Haynesville, Hodgdon, Island Falls, Macwahoc, Orient, Reed, Sherman and Weston. 

In Penobscot County, the municipalities of Carroll, Drew, Kingman, Lakeville, Lee,

Mattawamkeag, Prentiss, Springfield, Stacyville, Twombly Ridge, Webster and Whitney are represented. 

In Washington County, the municipalities of Codyville, Danforth, Talmadge, Topsfield, Vanceboro and Waite; and part of the unorganized territory of North Washington described as follows: beginning at the northeast corner of the municipality of Columbia Falls, finally in a straight line northwest to the southwest corner of the municipality of Northfield.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. In addition to statewide races, including the contest for governor, residents will vote for several municipal and school board offices. Voters should check with their towns for polling times.

The Houlton Pioneer Times posed identical questions to both candidates. Their responses are below, with the candidates listed in alphabetical order.

Tracy Quint

Age: 50

Party affiliation: Republican

Why are you running for this office? I am seeking re-election because our way of life and conservative values are often overlooked in Augusta. In the past, it was frustrating to watch the influence of the southern part of our state dominate the political system. As a representative, I am constantly explaining how a bill will affect our rural area much differently than the urban centers. The phrase I hear most often is, “I never thought of that.” That is a problem. Rural areas are not thought of and given the respect we deserve. If reelected, I will continue to boldly

remind the political establishment of the value and importance of our rural areas.

Education: I graduated from Lee Academy in Lee, Maine. I went on to receive a degree in Nursing from Eastern Maine Technical College. Our technical colleges provide great career opportunities and I am one of those who have benefited from an affordable education in a relevant field.

Employment: I am a Registered Nurse of twenty- five years and was most recently employed as a Nurse Educator/ Trainer. I have worked in hospitals and nursing homes and been involved with international medical missions. I am also a former small business owner. I spent 10 years as the owner/manager of Mother Hubbard’s in Houlton and fully understand the difficulties of keeping a small business up and running.

Family/residence: I live in Hodgdon with my husband of 26 years, Clay, and my son Clayton and daughter Sarah. I am blessed to have extended family in the surrounding area.

What are your top three priorities if elected? My top priority is to provide relief and seek solutions to the inflationary crisis we are living in. Crippling food, heating and fuel prices are affecting us all. Friends and neighbors are at great risk of not having the necessities of life. I am committed to working with my colleagues regardless of political affiliation to fully address this issue. 

The drug and crime problems facing our communities combined with the overwhelming suicide rate is another priority. Intervention is necessary. I will continue to work for welfare reform that encourages people to reach their fullest potential as low self-esteem and lack of initiative is helping to fuel the drug crisis. We also need to fully prosecute those bringing drugs into our communities. 

Finally, as a nurse, I will continue to seek health care reform that improves the overall health and wellness that is vital to our state’s future and economy.

Kevin Ritchie

Age: 66

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Why are you running for this office?  To work with people in our region to: 1) further develop small businesses, 2) bring affordable broadband to all, 3) improve health care to be more efficient, affordable, understandable, 4) improve training and workforce development opportunities, 5) bring greater compromise and rationality to our politics. 

What is your education? Katahdin High School Class of ’75, University of Maine Class of ’80 and ’02.

What is your employment?  Retired 40-year educator at: Job Corps Center, Bangor,  1979-1981; Lee Academy, Lee, 1981-2016; Maine Indian Education, Calais, 2017-2019.  I have also owned small businesses:  “doghouse, etc” food takeout in the early 1980s; The Springfield Fair Association co-owner 1990-2006; woods-cabin construction in the past few years.

Family/residence? Born and raised in eastern and northern Maine. Resident of Springfield and Lee since 1981. Wife is Kendra. Children are  Aaron, Aarika and Tessy. Grandchildren are Matty, Aidan, Elijah and Finnegan.

What are your top three priorities if elected? I want to be widely available to the people of our region, helping them navigate personal and business struggles involving our state government.  

Second, I plan to work with towns within our district to encourage and support the many efforts currently in progress to make high-speed internet available to all people and businesses in District 8; high-speed internet should be affordable, dependable and widely available — like electricity.  Small and personal business development in our very rural region depends heavily on this and on training in internet use and online business skills.

Third, I am a strong advocate for technical and vocational workforce development. Skills, knowledge and a work ethic are the basis for a quality workforce, and a healthy individual and family life. I believe that business-education partnerships, and other training opportunities, are essential for economic growth and strong communities. I hope to encourage greater collaboration for these purposes.