October 26, 2012

Retired teacher challenges incumbent District 18 senator

Saviello stands by his record; Dunlap running because she disagrees with it

By Paul Koenig pkoenig@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, is seeking re-election to continue what he says has been positive work for the constituents of District 18.

Thomas Saviello

Joanne Dunlap

Senate District 18
Including but not limited to Carrabassett Valley, Farmington, Eustis, Avon, Mercern, Smithfield, Belgrade, Fayette, Mount Vernon, Readville, Rome, Vienna and Wayne



DATE OF BIRTH: Aug. 29, 1950
FAMILY: Widower; two children: Allison and Ben
RESIDENCE: 60 Applegate Lane, Wilton
EMPLOYMENT: Retired. Previous: Former manager for Environmental Services, Androscoggin Mill
EDUCATION: Leonia High School, University of Tennessee, University of Maine master's of science degree in agronomy, doctorate in forest resources
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Wilton selectmen, School Administrative District 9 school board member, representative for House District 90 and Maine Senate District 18


DATE OF BIRTH: March 7, 1943
FAMILY: Daughter, Abigail
RESIDENCE: 650 South Shore Dr., Rangeley Plantation
EMPLOYMENT: Retired teacher, owner of a small business. Previous: Teacher
EDUCATION: Oak Grove School, Bryn Mawr College, Boston College, master's degree in education

His Democratic challenger from Rangeley, Joanne Dunlap, said she disagreed with many of her opponent's votes in the last session.

Senate District 18 is among the largest legislative areas in the state -- serving 34 communities, including the Kennebec County towns of Belgrade, Fayette, Mount Vernon, Readfield, Rome, Vienna and Wayne, the Somerset County communities of Mercer and Smithfield, and Franklin County communities such as Carrabassett Valley, Farmington, Rangeley, Strong and Wilton.

Saviello, 62, said he thinks his work, along with the rest of the 125th Legislature's, has helped improve the lives of people in his district and the state, particularly with efforts to help small businesses grow. Saviello praised L.D. 1, a broad regulatory reform measure signed into law last year, for eliminating excessive business regulations and establishing a small-business advocate in the Department of the Secretary of State.

Although Saviello thinks the last Legislature did well, he said it's important for the next one to evaluate what was passed in the last session.

"We did some real big changes," he said. "How are they working? Do we need to modify them, tweak them?"

Dunlap, 69, a retired teacher who owns Mo's Variety in Rangeley, said she doesn't see herself as a politician and isn't afraid to "tell it like it is."

"I'm running for office primarily because I'm not particularly happy with the way my opponent is voting. I feel somebody could do a better job, generally, for the people," said Dunlap, who is vice chairwoman of the Franklin County Democratic Committee and a trustee of Rangeley Public Library.

Dunlap said she heard from a number of people who also were dissatisfied with Saviello's voting record and asked her to run.

She disagrees with several of Saviello's votes, including his support for the Maine health insurance overhaul, changes to what is now the Land Use Planning Commission and what Dunlap said were votes to restrict abortions.

She takes particular issue with the change in the insurance rate structure that lets an insurance company charge more to the elderly and those living in rural areas. Dunlap said the changes allowed "young people in Portland to get a better deal while everyone else gets a worse deal."

Saviello admitted that some people have seen increases, but he said those increases were significantly less than in years before. He said the portion of the bill that is most important -- allowing Mainers to buy insurance plans from out-of-state companies -- won't take effect in 2013. This change, he said, will provide better competition and improve plans offered by Maine insurers.

Dunlap said a few failed bills Saviello supported -- requiring a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, providing educational materials to any woman before she has an abortion and creating crimes of murder and assault against unborn babies -- were restrictive toward abortion. She said the waiting period and instructional materials would have created unnecessary impediments for women who already had made a difficult decision.

Saviello disputed that any of these bills would have restricted abortion and said he voted against a bill that would have put increased restrictions on minors trying to get abortions. He said he voted in favor of the bill creating crimes against unborn babies to help curb domestic violence.

Saviello said that if he is re-elected, he will continue his work in examining how smaller farms are overburdened by regulations written for large-scale commercial farms. Saviello said he's looking to see what rules can be modified to continue protecting the public while allowing small farms to survive. One way would be to create a tiered system of regulations with a less restrictive set of rules for farms generating less than $10,000 in annual income, he said, similar to a law in New Hampshire.

(Continued on page 2)

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