Newly elected state legislators in southern Oxford and northern Cumberland counties said they have their sights set on welfare reform, tax reform and jobs when the 127th Legislature convenes Dec. 3 in Augusta.

District 19 Sen. Jim Hamper, R-Oxford, said he returns to the Senate floor with the goal of readdressing issues such as welfare reform and approving a budget “that we can all live with.”

“We failed to get prohibitions on EBT card usage for things like lottery tickets, tobacco and alcohol. I want to take another stab at this,” the 59-year-old said.

He represents the towns of Oxford, Norway, Paris, Otisfield, Harrison, Bridgton, Naples, Sebago, Denmark Brownfield, Fryeburg, Hiram and Porter.

House District 71 Rep. Tom Winsor, R-Norway, said he hopes both political parties in the House can move forward together with the governor’s office.

“We have a unique opportunity to show that the House can cooperate with the governor’s office and move forward with agendas,” the 70-year-old said. “The governor laid out his concerns: welfare reform, energy costs and ongoing discussions on higher education.

“I think we can do some positive things in these areas,” Winsor said. “The issues are valid and reasonable and he believes legislators will resolve them by burying personal feelings, listening to the ‘new thinking’ of novice legislators and other measures.

“Ultimately, you have to make choices. As long as we’re able to do that, we’ll be successful,” he said. “Most people want to honestly do the best thing for their constituency.”

Winsor represents Norway, Waterford, Sweden and West Paris.

Republican Phyllis Ginzler of Bridgton, who will represent House District 69, said she will be looking closely at welfare reform and tax reform.

“We have a lot of retirees in my district, a lot of military retirees. I want to support and influence tax reform legislation,” the 69-year-old said.

She is also looking to promote growth and attract businesses to Maine, she said.

Ginzler said she has a strong attachment to Bridgton Hospital, the largest employer in her district. She is a volunteer patient advocate and said she is looking forward to supporting Maine hospitals and finding ways to provide more access to health care for her constituents.

As a former teacher, she also is looking at innovations in education to help students be as successful as they can, she said.

She will represent Bridgton, Harrison and Denmark.

Republican Nathan Wadsworth, 34, of Hiram, will represent House District 70, which includes the towns of Brownfield, Fryeburg, Hiram, Lovell and Porter. 

He said he is waiting to “get his feet wet” on the House floor before committing to any specific agenda. His concentration will be on helping to grow the economy by creating jobs and keeping taxes affordable, he said.

With a degree in economics and a minor in business, “that’s where I hope I can help move things forward fiscally,” he said.

Republican Kathleen Jackson Dillingham, 43, of Oxford, will represent House District 72, which includes Oxford, Otisfield and Mechanic Falls. Her agenda is undecided, she said, as she prepares to make the transition from being a legislative aide for her father, Rep. Roger Jackson, R-Oxford, who chose not to seek re-election.

“I don’t have any particular agenda. I’m thinking of proposing two bills; I’ll keep those to myself for the moment, because I need to do some more research,” Dillingham said.  

“As a freshman, I know there’s going to be a steep learning curve. It’s going to be one of those learning processes,” she said.  

“It’s different seeing things on the other side of the glass; it’s neat having that conversation with my father. I’m looking forward to it,” she said. 

Republican Lloyd “Skip” Herrick will represent the District 73 towns of Paris, Hebron and Buckfield as a freshman Representative to the legislature. 

Herrick said there was a sense among incoming lawmakers that voters were tired of partisan political gridlock. However, core issues remained crucial to their future: jobs, economic development and ensuring taxes are spent wisely are priority focuses, Herrick said. 

“People in Maine need to have out-of-state economic development — like the purchases of the mills — balanced with small businesses to provide jobs. We need to get through the red tape,” he said.  

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