Maine Senate Special Election Takes Shape
With the selection of Rep. Cynthia Dill at a Democratic caucus on Tuesday and the selection of former Rep. Louis Maietta by local Republicans the day before, the candidate field for the District 7 Senate special election to replace retiring Senator Larry Bliss seems set.
Dill, who represents part of Cape Elizabeth, easily beat out two other Democrats for the nomination.
a loal radio host and business owner, chose not to pursue the seat. Palmieri ran a close race against Bliss in November and likely represented the Republicans' best chance to win the election.
During the caucus, Dill reassured local Democrats that she would not make her support for a recall provision for state officeholders in Maine a central pat of her campaign and that she would wage a grassroots effort, including knocking on plenty of doors.
Below are biographies for both Dill and Maietta from the respective 125th and 121st Legislature editions of The Citizen's Guide to the Maine Legislature, a book I edit, published by the Maine People's Resource Center and reproduced here with permission (you can order a full copy of The Guide here).
Louis Maietta (R)
185 Elderberry Dr.
South Portland 04106
District 26: Part of South Portland
Committee: Criminal Justice and Public Safety
Louis Maietta’s name was the only one on the ballot after three-term Democratc Rep. Christopher Muse announced on Oct. 4 that he had moved from the district and would not seek re-election to a fourth term. Two months earlier, Muse had said his new home near Willard Beach was a summer residence, and that he planned to move back to the district by December, but he later changed his mind. After his withdrawal, Susan Odencrantz, a Democratic Activist, launched a brief write-in campaign, but received only 327 votes.
Rep. Maietta, 45, has spent 28 years with his family construction company and is the owner of the Maietta Wireless retail store.
He has just finished his first term as a South Portland city councilor, and said he knows first-hand the frustrations caused by the state’s school funding formula. He also told the Portland Press Herald that in dealing with the state budget, “We can start filling in the $900 hole by cutting programs that have caused Maine’s cost of government programs to be the highest in the nation. Cuts have to be made and I am prepared to make those tough decisions.”
Maietta advocates cutting taxes for businesses and investors, saying that he “would immediately repeal the personal property tax on business equipment and Maine’s capital gains tax. We can only increase the opportunities for Maine people by ensuring a climate where business can thrive. We cannot tax our way to a sound Maine economy.”
The problem with the school funding formula, he said, is that the state is paying much less than the 55 percent of general purpose aid it originally agreed to provide. He also said it’s unfair that South Portland’s state aid declined by $1.1 million over the previous year. “The inequity in the current system has punished South Portland Students and property taxpayers.”
For the current session, he has introduced bills on tax reform, to prohibit driving while under the influence of methadone, and to require fuel oil trucks to display current per-gallon prices.
A graduate of South Portland High School, Maietta holds an associate degree in fire safety from Southern Maine Technical College. He has been a 15-year call firefighter and held the rank of captain. In addition to his city council service, he has been a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Civil Service Commission.
2002: SAM “A”
2002 General Election: Maietta 2,378; Odencrantz 327
Primary: Selected by the Republican Party
2002 Campaign Expenditures: $15,754.08
General Election Opponent(s): Odencrantz $1,294.77
Endorsements: MBA; SAM
Cynthia A. Dill (D)
1227 Shore Road
Cape Elizabeth 04107
Cell: 749-7749 Business: 767-7197
Home Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
State House Email:
District 121: Part of Cape Elizabeth
Cynthia Dill won re-election with 58 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Eric B. Lusk. She has lived in Cape Elizabeth for seven years.
In the past, Dill has worked successfully to obtain millions in investments for bringing high-speed Internet access to rural parts of Maine. At the national level, Dill has been appointed Vice Chair of the National Conference of State Legislature’s Communication, Financial Affairs and Interstate Commerce Committee, and is a member of the Executive Committee Task Force on State and Local Taxation of Telecommunications and Electronic Commerce. Dill has also been a panelist at numerous national conferences on broadband access and net neutrality.
Dill ran for Minority Leader in the 125th Legislature, saying “I am running to be the Minority Leader because I believe I am the best qualified person to serve in the new environment we will face next session. I want to bring small businesses back under our tent, change how we do things as a caucus, and change the way the Democratic Party interacts with the legislature. We need more accountability.”
Dill writes on her Web site that she will continue to “choose community over party when representing Cape Elizabeth.” She says she will continue to “fight for the fair distribution of education funding, and much needed reforms to ensure our students can learn and compete in the 21st century.”
On the budget, Dill says she “will continue to work to reduce the tax burden of Maine’s people and businesses, and streamline the regulatory process.”
Dill works as the director of the Common Cause Digital Democracy Project in Washington, D.C., and serves as an adjunct faculty member at Southern Maine Community College. She is an active community volunteer, serves on numerous local boards, and says she enjoys being a writer and commentator on local radio and television shows.
Rep. Dill was born in Carmel, New York and grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island. She has Bachelor’s degrees in English and Philosophy from the University of Vermont and a law degree from Northeastern University. She has worked in a private practice through her firm, The Law Office of Cynthia Dill, since 1994, focusing on employment law and civil rights. Dill is an active member of the First Congregational Church in South Portland where she teaches Sunday school. She and her husband, Tom, have two children.
2010: MPA 74%; MLCV 80%; NFIB 33%
2008: MPA 61%; AFL-CIO 82%; MLCV 60%; MEA 100%; NFIB 14%
2010 General: Dill 2,655; Lusk 1,895
2008 General: Dill 3,258; Sullivan 2,108
2006: General: Dill 2,345; Duddy 2,201
2010 Campaign Expenditures:
Dill: $3,904.90 (Clean Elections Candidate)
Lusk: $4,773.00 (Clean Elections Candidate)