MaineWatchdog chatted with Senator David Trahan (R, District 20) over coffee and coconut pie.
How do you interpret the November 2 election results?
I was the person who led the repeal of tax reform. I think that Maine people had had enough of the majority party’s arrogance and overconfidence. The repeal of the tax reform package was the third rejection of one of the Democrat’s policies. Maine people had had enough, and thought their representatives were out of touch. And they said so at the polls.
Why did you originally run for office?
I was completely frustrated with people in Augusta. I though they were out of touch with people struggling to make an earning. Every time I picked up a paper, it seemed there was another new idea to regulate us. I had no political experience whatsoever. Surprisingly, I won my first election.
Tell me about the people in your district.
They are very hard-working people. My district is divided into a poorer, rural area and a property-rich area on the peninsulas. It’s an interesting dynamic.
What’s the purpose of government?
It must provide the infrastructure necessary for free commerce and provide public safety. It must design a structure of laws to guide a civil society.
Who is your political role model?
Mary Adams. She advised me in my first election. She also organized the referendum to oppose those opposed to clear-cutting. I think she is a pure grass-roots as they get. She’s also the person who taught me my political skills. I would follow her into a burning building. That’s how much I trust her.
Why are Maine’s health care costs above national averages?
Maine has the oldest population in the nation, so that’s a strike against us. It’s also very rural, so health care is inherently more expensive because it’s spread out. We’ve become a state where special interests are carving out health care while everyone else pays for it. Some of these groups are essentially rationing care for to benefit themselves.
Obviously, there are good regulations and bad regulations. How do you differentiate?
To me, businesses want regulations to be clear, understandable, and easy to follow. They don’t mind regulations, just the ones that are so ambiguous that they don’t know how to follow them. There are so many of them, so many layers. Businesses spend so much wasted time. We need to streamline them and make them understandable. Maine legislators cannot find enough regulations. We are regulation-obsessed.
I’m proudest of the repeal of the tax reform. It helped, in my opinion, because our state was going in a philosophical and political direction that I thought would be extremely harmful to the state. The government is pretty desperate when it digs into revenues that people can’t afford to pay. Leading the repeal effort helped to stop that philosophy in its tracks. We needed to cut back on government spending. The Republican leadership now understands that you can no longer go to the working class and poor to raise taxes. We will have to make tough cuts. We will have to make them.