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Democratic candidate Chellie Pingree (left) and Independent candidate Marty Grohman. 

You might have noticed coverage of the race for Maine's 1st Congressional District was missing from our Portland Phoenix Election Guide. Contrary to what we wrote in our print edition, two of the candidates —Democratic incumbent Chellie Pingree and Independent Marty Grohman — did eventually respond to our questions, so we've included their answers here in full. 

Chellie Pingree (D) 

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How would Maine benefit from your leadership in Washington? What sets you apart from the other candidates in this race?
 
I’ve been an effective advocate for Maine during my time in Congress, and, if I’m fortunate enough to be reelected, I’ll continue to fight for the issues that Mainers have told me matter most to them: getting healthcare and drug prices under control; protecting Medicare and Social Security from cuts; tacking the opioid epidemic; and ensuring the economy is working for everyone, and not just those at the very top. In Washington, I’ve worked with the rest of Maine’s congressional delegation to get the job done.
 
Do you consider the failure of government to provide affordable and accessible health care to all its citizens a moral failure? Why or why not?
 
Absolutely. Access to affordable and high quality healthcare is a human right, not a privilege reserved for the few who can afford it. That’s why I support Medicare for All and a public option, both of which would introduce some much needed competition into the healthcare marketplace, driving down costs and increasing positive patient outcomes.
 
Can you provide an example of a negative impact/influence that corporations have had on the way political campaigns are funded/run?
 
I firmly believe that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision will be remembered as one of the most detrimental to American democracy in our history. The tremendous flood of opaque outside spending from special interest groups and corporations which that decision unleashed has made it all but impossible for campaigns to focus on genuine differences of opinion on policy, rather that attacking one another. Getting money out of politics has been a lifelong priority of mine, and I’ll keep fighting for commonsense campaign finance reforms in Washington.
 
What programs, if any, do you think Maine should secure more federal funding for?
 
First and foremost, Maine needs to move quickly to implement Medicaid expansion and unlock the hundreds-of-millions in federal dollars its leaving on the table every year. Doing so would mean immediate access to healthcare for 70,000-80,000 Mainers who are currently uninsured, a dramatic increase in the availability of treatment for those struggling with addiction, not to mention the tremendous impact on jobs and the economy that comes along with the spending an additional $500 million annually in our state.
 
We also need to be fighting for more federal funding for substance use treatment generally, for our farmers and fisherman who’ve been directly harmed by the Trump Administration’s backward trade policies, for education and student debt, among many other priorities.
 
According to the Carbon Majors Report, just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the entire world’s emission of greenhouse gases. What regulations would you support on Maine institutions that impact the environment?
 
Just about every expert who has thought about the problem — Republicans and Democrats alike — agrees that putting a price on carbon is the only feasible way to reverse the devastating effects of climate change before it’s too late. I believe we should be taxing carbon emissions in proportion to the real social cost of that pollution, and that those tax dollars should be returned to every citizen as a carbon dividend that will help offset the increased costs of healthcare, environmental mitigation, infrastructure that are the direct result of run-away emissions.
 
Does America have a moral obligation to welcome more refugees and asylum seekers in the country even if they don’t offer an immediate economic benefit?
 
I believe we do. The people who are seeking refuge in America today are fleeing devastating violence, poverty and chaos in their home countries, which is so bad that they often have no choice but to flee to a completely foreign land and try to start over. America has always been a nation of immigrants, and our diversity is our strength. Everyone who arrives on our shores under these circumstances deserves to have their case heard and evaluated fairly under the law, and discrimination against refugees to stoke partisan tensions or score political points is simply un-American.
 
What gun control measures do you support, if any?
 
I believe Maine’s strong sporting heritage can exist alongside commonsense gun safety measures. First, that means allowing scientists to study gun violence as the public health problem it is. It means keeping guns out of the hands of legitimately dangerous people by instituting universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and passing a “no-fly, no-buy” law. It means banning bump-stocks and high-capacity magazines that serve no legitimate purpose for law-abiding gun owners.
 
What do you think is at the heart of the political divide in America today?
 
I think it’s a few things that have all converged simultaneously: a huge influx in dark political spending from special interest groups, a President who foments divisiveness and has no respect for our democratic institutions, the polarized way Americans are consuming their information — whether on cable news or social media. All of these things are leading people to mistrust their own neighbors, rather than recognizing that, with so many enormous problems ahead of us, we are genuinely all in this together
 

 
Marty Grohman (I) 
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How would Maine benefit from your leadership in Washington? What sets you apart from the other candidates in this race?
 
As a business owner and job creator, I know what it takes to bring people together to get things done. In Congress, I won’t answer to the big party political bosses, and I won't get caught up in the partisan gridlock. As an independent, the only folks I will answer to are the voters of Maine — the people who have been failed by our broken political process.
 
Do you consider the failure of government to provide affordable and accessible health care to all its citizens a moral failure? Why or why not?
 
Health care needs to be accessible and affordable. The partisan back and forth in Congress isn’t getting anything done. Until the political parties stop blaming the other side for inaction, nothing will get done. We need to start with what we agree on, instead of focusing on what we don’t.
 
Can you provide an example of a negative impact/influence that corporations have had on the way political campaigns are funded/run?
 
Maine’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and their interests have to be part of our political process. My door will be open to all people in our district, including our business community. The biggest problem with politics is the duopoly of the two big political parties. They thrive not on solutions, but on conflict, and they foment discord to drive campaign donations. This is why our nation is so divided right now, and the only way to fix this crippling partisanship is to stop sending partisans to Congress.
 
What programs, if any, do you think Maine should secure more federal funding for?
 
Maine needs to secure more funding for combating the opioid epidemic. This is a public health crisis. This funding should be dedicated to education, prevention and helping those on road to recovery secure a safe place to stay, and a good job. Our infrastructure is also in dire need of federal support. And we need to fight for funding for our shipyards in Bath and Kittery. These yards represent more than 11,000 jobs, and Maine's representatives should be 100 percent dedicated to supporting funding for these hard-working Maine jobs.
 
According to the Carbon Majors Report, just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the entire world’s emission of greenhouse gases. What regulations would you support on Maine institutions that impact the environment?
 
Clean air and water are vital to our way of life. As a business owner and a sustainability advocate, I've learned that a thriving economy and a healthy environment don’t have to be at odds with each other. When we put the partisan differences aside, and tone down the rhetoric, it is possible to achieve the proper balance. I've seen it done, and I firmly believe that businesses will be a critical part of a healthier and more sustainable environment.
 
Does America have a moral obligation to welcome more refugees and asylum seekers in the country  even if they don’t offer an immediate economic benefit?
 
Yes. It is so frustrating that we haven’t been able to fix the American immigration system. We have a moral imperative and we have an economic imperative to act. Instead, both political parties have become completely captured by the battle they’re fighting. That’s why we need a change in Washington — so we can have the chance to fix this problem. Safe, secure borders and compassionate treatment of immigrants aren't mutually exclusive goals. We can protect our nation and we can continue to be a beacon of hope to people all over the world, as we have been since our nation was founded.
 
What gun control measures do you support, if any?
 
Maine has a proud tradition of responsible gun ownership, and I am a proud supporter of the Second Amendment. There are simple measures we can take that virtually everyone agrees on, but the partisan games on both sides prevent anything from getting done. There are steps we can take to keep us safe such as banning bump stocks, and enacting the “no fly-no buy” legislation supported by Maine’s Senator Susan Collins that prevents suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms.
 
What do you think is at the heart of the political divide in America today?
 
The warring factions don’t have any desire to talk with or listen to the other side. Imagine if we had members of Congress who were less worried about grabbing the next headline, and were more worried about solving the opioid epidemic and lowering the costs of health care? We need to send representatives to Congress who intend to fix problems, and not fight. The political parties have a perverse incentive to continue the fight in order to continue the funding machine that keeps them going. If Americans were united, the industry of fear funding would go out of business. Until we shake ourselves out of this construct, the two sides will continue to attack each other, and the people of this country will continue to suffer from lack of progress. The only way to stop this partisanship is to stop sending partisans to Congress.

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