MEXICO – Oxford Federal Credit Union staff hosted State House District 93 candidates Randy Hotham (R) and Linda Petrie (D) at a recent meeting. The candidates urged the staff to register, vote and become involved in local politics. “It’s a right that people have died for,” Hotham said, and encouraged them to stay in touch with their state legislators monthly.

Petrie said, “We need much more input on a local level.” She described the tax situation as a direct result of not paying attention to local decisions. “It’s not because they have not been doing their job in Augusta,” she said. Petrie pointed out that there were about 20 people at the last Mexico town meeting voting in millions of dollars in expenditures.

The candidates were asked their views on several questions, including the tax cap referendum. Petrie advised all to make sure that they understand how the referendum is written before voting.

“If the state begins to dictate the property tax,” she warned, “we will lose local control.” She added that she has a lot of questions on the issue, but understands property owners’ frustrations. According to polls, Petrie said, jobs, the economy and health insurance are the top concerns of Maine voters.

Hotham said the legislature will start the new year with a $700 million deficit. “We should look at existing taxes, like the state tax, before we start adding new taxes,” he advised. He told the group that property taxes are never based on a person’s ability to pay, like the sales tax and income tax. “Get all the information, then judge this referendum on its merits,” he advised.

Both candidates agreed that the state manages the bear herd well and were not in favor of banning bear baiting. Hotham encouraged the staff to get their absentee ballots and use them.

“Don’t worry about these ballots not being counted, it just won’t happen in Maine,” he assured his audience. Petrie and Hotham look forward to election day, Hotham saying it is viewed as a holiday for many Mainers who see it as a time to gather with friends and perform an important duty.

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