June 20, 2006

Dear Jean Hay-Bright,

The Portland area League presents the third annual Candidate Questionnaire. The information gathered through these Candidate Questionnaires will be presented in The League's 2006 Voter Guide, as well as being used as the basis for our candidate endorsements. In the last two elections, the League's Voter Guide was distributed to more than 15,000 young voters within the Greater Portland Area and 20,000 statewide. Thank you for taking time out of your busy campaign schedule to fill out and return our Candidate Questionnaire by July 7th, 2006.

The League is cultivating a vibrant, vocal and proactive community through individual and collaborative empowerment. Our progressive youth movement is based on strong ethical convictions, creative insight, and expression. We promote meaningful participation in democracy for young people under 35 through inclusive and functional actions.

The League engages young people to create positive change in their communities by being involved in local and state politics and community issues. The League mixes art, culture and politics‹reframing political issues for young people under 35. Our monthly programming (Steering Committee, Policy Forum, ReAct film night, and Critical Mass direct action), website, skill training, political parties, resources, and peer-to-peer organizing, is creating a hopeful, engaging, fun, and effective political landscape for young people. Together, we raise awareness in local communities about the important, yet often underrepresented, voice of young people in Maine.

For more information about The League, please contact Justin Alfond, Maine State Director at justin@indyvoter.org or by calling 772-3207 or by visiting our website at www.portlandme.indyvoter.org. Thanks again for returning this survey by July 7, 2006. If you would like this questionnaire electronically, please email Justin Alfond.


The Portland League's Election Committee

Justin Alfond

Maine State Director
The League
1 Pleasant Street
Portland, ME 04101

The League
Candidate Questionnaire - 2006
Due: July 7th
Name: Jean Hay Bright
Address: 4262 Kennebec Road
Town: Dixmont     Zip: 04932     Phone: 207-234-4224
Email: jean@jeanhaybright.us
Elected position running for: U.S. Senate
Party: Democrat
House District:
Senate District: Maine
Years lived in Maine: 34
Running as a Clean Election candidate? Not possible in federal races
  1. What issues or barriers do young people face in Maine? If elected, how will you work with others in the state legislature to benefit young people (ages 18-35)?

    A major problem is the availability of good jobs that reflect their talents and skills.

    National health care would allow many young people to use their entrepreneurial skills to start their own businesses, create their own jobs, without having to worry about insurance coverage for themselves or their young families.

    Also, getting our country out of unfair trade agreements such as NAFTA would shift the employment dynamic considerably.

  2. There is a higher education proposal that would create a loan program for Maine residents. The proposal would provide opportunities for traditional and non-traditional students entering any community college or public university in Maine. The two provisions of the proposal include maintaining good academic standing and working in the state for two to four years after completion of degree. If a student completed both provisions the loan would be earned and forgiven. Would you support increasing the sales tax from 5% to 6% to fund students entering any community college or public university?

    Support_____     Oppose_____
    This is a state issue, not a federal issue.

    However, on the federal level, I support full funding of public education through the college level. In the interim, Pell Grant increases that keep pace with the rise in tuition costs are essential.

  3. What statewide obstacles exist to the creation of affordable and low income housing?
    NA - State issue

  4. What is your position on reproductive rights?

    I am strongly pro-choice, and have written extensively on the issue over the years. I fully support Roe v. Wade, as the sensible common ground upon which this issue is based. Roe specifically excludes theology from its discussion, which is appropriate under our Constitutional separation of church and state. Government restrictions that are religious in origin have no place in law.

  5. Will you support or oppose legislation regarding the Reproductive Privacy Act? (The Reproductive Privacy Act ensures a woman's access to safe and legal abortion in Maine in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.)

    Support __X__     Oppose_____
    I will work to keep Roe v. Wade in force at the federal level.

  6. Do Maine workers have gender equity in pay? Please tell us how you will work to support or oppose any bills that are introduced around gender equity in pay?

    The federal Equal Pay law has been on the books since 1963, but is not always or evenly enforced, as it should be. As a woman in the workforce for many years, I was keenly aware of discrepancies when they existed.

    Beyond equal pay for equal work, I support equal pay for comparable work, since some disparities in pay are based on issues other than skills and talents required to fulfill certain job requirements, particularly when comparing jobs that are traditionally held by either men or women (nurses aide vs. orderly, for instance).

    1. Is the legislative minimum wage that was passed during the last legislative session sufficient? (The minimum wage will be increased to $6.75 in October and to $7.00 next year.)

      Yes_____     No__X__

    2. What do you think the minimum wage should be? $8.57

    3. How should the minimum wage be determined?
      The minimum wage should be a living wage for a single adult, which in Maine, according to recent MECEP reports, range between $8.57 and $10 across Maine.
    4. Should minimum wage be tied to inflation?   Yes__X__     No_____

    5. What initiatives will you support or have you supported to ensure a living wage for all Maine workers?
      When I get to the U.S. Senate, I will be pushing for a federal minimum wage that is a living wage, one that will be adjusted for inflation as other government programs are.

  1. Do you support or oppose Dirigo Health? What steps will you take to strengthen or weaken universal single payer health care in Maine?

    Dirigo Health is a state plan, which I support as a Maine citizen.

    As a U.S. Senate candidate, I support national single-payer health care, Medicare for all. We are the last industrialized nation without national health care. It is long past time for us to implement this. National health care is one of my main campaign themes, and one I will work hard to implement when I get to the U. S. Senate.

  2. Do you support or oppose gay marriage?

    Support__X__     Oppose_____
    I am a strong advocate for gay rights.

  3. Would you work to increase or decrease rights for same sex couples?

    Increase__X__     Decrease_____
    I am a strong advocate for stable, long-term committed relationships by consenting adults.

  4. What steps have you taken in your personal life to reduce environmental impact?

    I have been an organic gardener all of my adult life (I'm 58), and for many of those years I've run commercial organic farms, selling produce and berries to the public. Here on our farm in Dixmont, we have chosen not to use any pesticides, even organically-approved ones. A decades-long member of MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association), I served on the board of MOFGA for a term in the late 1980s.

    We have solar panels for our farm electric fencing, and we are in the process of installing a solar water pump for our farm irrigation system. We are also looking into installing a windmill on our property, for water pumping and/or electricity generation.

    I drive a 1993 Saturn, which has gotten 35-40 miles per gallon all these years. I had a solar collector for heating hot water on the roof of my farmhouse in Blue Hill.

    I've also been an environmental activist, working to stop a coal-fired power plant planned for Bucksport in the early 1990s, and adding my voice to the Holter-Chem mercury clean-up effort in Orrington, among other issues.

  5. Would you support or oppose a comprehensive chemicals policy requiring government and industry action to phase out classes of hazardous chemicals?

    Support__X__     Oppose_____

  6. Define your idea of tax reform in terms of sales, income, and property taxes.

    At the federal level, we need to restore the balance in our progressive income tax system. We start by rescinding the obscene tax cuts for the rich, and then look to see if the top rates are high enough to cover necessary government expenses. We DO NOT repeal the estate tax. We eliminate loopholes for corporations, making them pay their fair share for the privilege of doing business in this great country. We tax UNEARNED income (stocks, bonds, etc.) at the same rate as EARNED income (paid to workers for their time and labor).

    Sales and property taxes are state, not federal, issues.

  7. What is your position on immigration? What should immigration policy in Maine look like?
    My position on immigration has many components:

    1. Enforce existing labor laws on American employers who willingly hire undocumented workers. This law is already on the books, and if enforced, could well stem the tide of illegal immigrants by removing the guarantee of a job once they make their way across the border.

    2. Make the minimum wage a living wage, so Americans and legal immigrants can afford to take those jobs now held by undocumented workers.

    3. Implement national health care, so people who have family members with medical needs being supplied by the government under programs such as Medicaid can go to work and not risk losing government medical benefits because their income is too high.

    4. Tackle the nuts and bolts of the existing immigration policy, making changes to reflect the reality on the ground, paying particular attention to reuniting families, and speeding up the process.

    5. Get our country out of trade agreements that have wrecked not only our own national economy, but also the economies of nations to our south, fueling the push to emigrate to other countries to find work. Those agreements include NAFTA, CAFTA, and the WTO.

  8. How would you plan to regularly connect with your constituency? What materials or methods will you use to communicate with the voters in your district?

    As a U.S. Senator, I would have offices across the state, where people could work with staffers to resolve problems pertaining to federal programs or issues.

    The federal franking privilege will allow me to communicate by mail with my constituency, particularly in response to questions or concerns. Also, we will use the internet, web pages, email, and the media, via press releases and interviews when appropriate.

  9. What are your other life priorities do you have?


    My husband and I have four grown children, no grandchildren yet. We have sisters, a brother, nieces and nephews all across the country. My mother is in her mid-80s, but is still active and lives in her own apartment in Ohio, a situation which we recognize could change at any moment. We cherish our times with each of our family members.

    Other profession?

    I am a writer with three books under my belt, and an organic farmer with a 30-acre certified organic farm growing raspberries and high-bush blueberries. Both career fields have been scaled back to concentrate on this U.S. Senate race ­ and the succeeding six years in office after the November election.


    Vast and varied, too numerous to list. (Major things such as world peace, global warming, health care, fair trade, healthy communities, human rights ­ all of which a U.S. Senator can actually have an impact on. But also lesser things such as enjoying the bird population on our farm, the changes of the seasons.)

    Organizations in which you are involved?

    Peace and Justice Center of Northern Maine
    Peace Action Maine
    Veterans for Peace
    Maine Peoples Alliance
    National Organization for Women

    What is your favorite place to visit in Maine?

    The woods and fields on our farm. Working and walking the land keeps me grounded.

Support (S)
Oppose (O)
Undecided (U)
Level of commitment to your position:
Spearhead (S)
Collaborate (C)
Vote (V)
Oppose (O)
Collaborate (C)
This is a state issue. I can, and have, made public comments about TABOR, but I would be unable to affect a change except as a Maine voter.
Term Limits
Undecided (U)
Vote (V)
As a Maine voter, I could support an increase to 12 years in term limits for state legislators. On the federal level, I do not support limits on the terms in office, although I would support a limit on terms for leadership positions, including committee chairmanships.
Multi-Party Political System
Support (S)
Collaborate (C)
Although two parties predominate, we already have a multi-party political system. As third and fourth parties grow in popularity, we will need to address the new dynamic in fair ways. (see below)
Clean Elections
Support (S)
Spearhead (S)
We need public campaign funding for federal candidates, similar to Maine's Clean Election funding program, which has worked so well. As a U.S. Senator, I will do all I can to move this issue forward.
Land for Maine's Future

This is a state issue.
Plum Creek Development

This is a state issue.
Instant Run-Off Voting

This is a state issue, not a federal issue.

As a Maine citizen, I support run-off voting, where in multi-candidate races with no candidate getting a majority, the two top candidates face off in another election a few weeks later.

But I do not favor INSTANT run-off voting. It is too confusing, and if there are more than three candidates in the race, many people would be disenfranchised if their second choice was not among the top three.
Fusion Voting
As a Maine citizen, I support fusion voting. But this is a state issue, not a federal issue.
Bio-fuels in Public Transportation
Support (S)
Spearhead (S)
With peak oil upon us, we need to move to energy self-sufficiency as quickly as possible. Fuels made from annual crops, and energy from solar, wind, tidal and hydro-power must be sought, developed, promoted and implemented. Windmills or war, take your pick.