Candidate: Senator Chandler E. Woodcock
Survey: 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire
Q & A
MLCV #1: Why are you running for this office?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: I am running for Governor because I believe that Maine needs new leadership in Augusta. Current state policies regarding taxes and spending are harming our economy, limiting the opportunities our children have to live, work and raise families here.
MLCV #2: In your view, what are the most pressing environmental issues in Maine today?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: There are three environmental issues that concern me the most, each of which threaten Maine's natural environment: 1.) the levels of mercury found in Maine's freshwater fish, 2.) invasive aquatic plants, and 3.) the recent rise in illegal fish stockings.
MLCV #3: Please use this space to outline your activities/track record on conservation and natural resource issues, whether in elected office or as a community member. Are you a member of or active in any conservation organizations?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: I received a "Champions Award" from National Audubon during my first term in the Maine Senate one of only four members of the Legislature to receive the award that year. I also sponsored the bill to protect the native brook trout in Maine and worked with Trout Unlimited and the Natural Resources Council of Maine on the project. I am an avid outdoorsman and, with my wife, have raised children who share our values and sense of stewardship over our natural environment.
MLCV #4: If you are elected Governor, what criteria will you use in making appointments to head state agencies? To citizen boards and commissions?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: The people I appoint to lead state agencies must have experience in the field and proven leadership abilities, regardless of political affiliation. They must be comfortable with responsibility and accountability, and be willing to hold themselves and their employees to the highest moral and ethical standards in all of state government. Above all, they must respect the public trust.
MLCV #5: To protect our natural resources and the public health, state agencies must be adequately staffed and funded. How will you ensure that the agencies responsible for protecting Maine's most valuable assets are able to carry out their missions?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: We first need to make sure that the respective agency missions are clearly defined, so that those I hire to lead them have a plain understanding of their roles in carrying out the work for the people of Maine. If we have learned anything from state government over the years, it is that throwing money at a problem does not always result in reaching a solution. My priority will be to ensure that these agencies are led by the right people, leaders who can identify issues, and work with a team to resolve them.
At the same time, it is of increasing frustration to me and people across Maine that large parts of our state budget are on autopilot and consume the lion's share of revenues (e.g., 75 cents of every new state revenue dollar goes to Medicaid), while modest and needed spending in some agencies and programs (e.g., lead paint mitigation and education) could have profound effects on the health of our environment and our citizens. We must have control of our budget so that together policymakers can set priorities, fund prevention, and protect our state's most valuable assets.
MLCV #6: As Governor, will you protect the integrity of the regulatory process, ensuring that actions are undertaken openly and with appropriate public input?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: Yes. This is of the utmost importance to me.
MLCV #7: New information continues to emerge about the health effect of poisonous substances used to manufacture common consumer products. Will you support legislation to limit Maine citizens' exposure to toxic materials and to require the use of safer alternatives?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: Yes, so long as the information is based upon sound science. I believe this is an important and necessary role for government.
MLCV #8: According to the Maine Center for Disease Control, the number one environmental health threat to Maine children is exposure to lead paint, found in old houses and apartments. What steps will your administration take to clean up lead paint?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: There is absolutely no question that this is a serious issue and that it threatens our children. We need to educate Maine citizens about the dangers of lead exposure especially to our young children. I have been supportive of legislative proposals that would assist in lead paint removal. There are federal grants to help with lead hazard control. The people who work for me will identify these grants and use them in partnership with the private sector to help identify and clean up lead in homes.
MLCV #9: Mercury, a potent toxin that affects the developing brain, is found in high levels in Maine's freshwater fish, resulting in consumption warnings issued by the Maine Center for Disease Control. Will you support efforts to reduce the presence of mercury in Maine's air and water?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: Absolutely yes. It is outrageous that we have to warn Maine people about eating too much of our native wild fish. It never used to be this way. My goal is that by the end of my term as Governor, we will be able to replace the consumption warning with a label extolling the positive health effects of a diet of Maine fish and seafood.
MLCV #10: Please share your vision for the future of Maine's north woods. Do you support the opportunity to preserve Katahdin Lake, adding it to Baxter State Park?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: It is important to think generationally about such issues and opportunities. As an avid outdoorsman and registered Maine Guide, I am passionate about the Maine woods. My administration will work toward advancing the existing accord with regard to public uses of private land in the north Maine woods. I believe strongly that efforts to preserve these pristine areas including those at Katahdin Lake, which I fished just last year should be based on local support, and should ensure continued traditional recreational uses of the land.
MLCV #11: Will your administration stand by the Memorandum of Agreement signed with the national Park Service in 2002, the River Driver's Agreement negotiated in 2003 and manage the Allagash Wilderness Waterway for "maximum wilderness character?"
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: My administration will support the spirit and letter of the River Driver's Agreement, which relieved many of the tensions surrounding the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and charted a path of collaboration and compromise. I believe that when the people of Maine voted to create the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in 1967, they intended it to be managed for maximum wilderness character. I intend to ensure that it is. The Allagash is a special place, and my administration will treat it as such in management, budgeting, and policymaking.
MLCV #12: Development pressures continue to escalate, even as land values skyrocket. Do you support the Land for Maine's Future program? What is your strategy for fully funding this popular and successful program?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: I have been supportive of Lands for Maine's Future as a way to preserve some of our pristine areas for generations to come. However, Maine has too much debt already and should not continuously rely upon its bonding authority to fund LMF. As a successful and popular program, LMF has too often become a political football tied to other unrelated budgeting and bonding issues. I will work with you and others to find a stable source of revenue for LMF.
MLCV #13: Competing uses of water is an emerging issue in Maine. How do you propose to reconcile the competing uses of our waters -- by industry, anglers, paddlers, developers -- in both surface bodies (rivers, lakes and ponds) and in the ground?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: A core belief will guide my administration relative to our lakes and rivers these precious assets belong to the people of Maine and their heirs, not to transient business interests.
Every body of water cannot accommodate every possible use. So we must tackle this on a statewide, regional and local basis. I believe some precedents offer hope that we can tackle these issues in a productive, collaborative fashion specifically, the laws passed relative to jet skis, which incorporated some measure of local control in a state statute, and to milfoil, which rely on public education and enforcement at the local and state levels. Relative to recreational use, the most important role for the state to provide is consistent enforcement of the law. A delicate balance of competing uses on one of our beautiful but busy great ponds is quickly upset by a couple boatloads of speeding and reckless partygoers. We must have adequate enforcement.
MLCV #14: Please outline your vision for management of Maine's coastal waters.
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: Maine's most famous asset is our coastline. My vision recognizes that nowhere is the symbiosis of the human and natural environment more evident than along this delicate ribbon of land and water. Maine's coastal communities and marine waters are under extraordinary pressure. Coastal ecosystems are contaminated with mercury. Our fisheries are in fragile condition. Development pressures are ever-present. While several agencies manage our coastal waters and marine habitats, the Department of Marine Resources has traditionally been relied upon to take the leading role. They do a good job with a tight budget, and they accomplish a lot by being close to the constituencies involved, by having continuing dialogue with stakeholders, by being practical about policymaking and enforcement. This kind of hands-on management is the only means by which to build the credibility and trust necessary to balance the interests.
MLCV #15: Sprawling development patterns fragment wildlife habitat, threaten our natural resources and undermine Maine's special character. What steps will your administration take to stop this trend?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: One person's dream of home ownership is what someone else calls sprawl. Our development policies need to recognize the value that is shared among both native Mainers and people from away who love our state on our rural lifestyles, our small towns, and our open spaces. It is also important to understand that commercial development is different from residential. Our policies need to encourage towns to congregate development. Too often minimum lot sizes, zoning rules, and other regulations encourage subdivisions and dependency on the automobile. At the same time, strip malls and excessive curb cuts on our most popular transportation corridors create congestion. Developers who wish to try more innovative, healthier approaches are often frustrated by bearing too much risk and cost for trying something new. It is time to review the rules and regulations at the local and state levels that create perverse incentives in development and to reform our policies to be consistent with and better promote Maine values and lifestyles.
MLCV #16: Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife derives most of its budget from hunting and fishing licenses. Many citizens feel the Department is inappropriately oriented toward meeting the needs of "consumers", i.e. those who hunt and fish. As Governor, how will you ensure that the DIFW meets the needs of all citizens and all forms of wildlife?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: Most sportsmen I know think of themselves more as conservationists than consumers. Sometimes, however, the "consumer" side of sportsmen interests predominate in the lobbies of the State House. Healthy ecosystems and habitat for non-game species are critical for maintaining Maine's natural environment. Indeed, in years to come, other non-traditional sporting activities such as wildlife and bird watching tours and ecotourism will grow in popularity, complementing our hunting and fishing heritage. Hearing from local outfitters in Franklin County and elsewhere, I know this is a trend already underway.
MLCV #17: What steps will your administration take to address energy costs and help to avert global climate change?
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: One has to have some humility about the capacity of a state with just over one million people to have much of an affect on global climate change. However, Mainers know how to lead by example and by innovation. When people agree we have a crisis, much can be done. I support mandating conservation measures for state facilities and encouraging conservation in the private sector. Clearly the best way to stop pollution, reduce energy costs and limit our dependence on foreign oil is to conserve energy. We have an excellent opportunity to focus research dollars on cleaner fuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, that use our renewable natural resources hear in Maine. I will also support our state's attorney general and members of our congressional delegation in dealing with these issues on a national level.
MLCV #18: All energy sources have both advantages and drawbacks. Please describe how you will approach balancing those issues, including determining sites.
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: In order to get the best balance, the most people as possible ought to be involved in decision-making. As with other crucial policy issues, my administration will take a lead role in explaining our needs and our alternatives and then involve the public in crafting solutions and reaching compromises. I will establish goals such as making sure that Maine can independently produce the electricity we need and then rely on public processes to accomplish them. It is not easy to balance advantages and drawbacks, but being honest about the costs and not sugarcoating the benefits is the most important part. Also, public trust and expectations must be honored. For example, much of Maine is zoned for types of uses and so people have an expectation of what might appear in their neighborhood, in the next town over, or on a mountaintop. I believe it is important to honor these expectations wherever possible.
MLCV #19: Please outline steps your administration will take to emphasize energy conservation.
Senator Chandler E. Woodcock: Energy conservation is the best way to reduce the negative effects of higher fuel bills and to protect our environment. I believe in leading by example. State buildings ought to be the model of energy conservation. State purchasing, whether it is of automobiles, bridges or light bulbs, should help create markets for new technology and be an example to the public. Furthermore, I believe in creating targeted incentive programs that encourage Maine businesses and citizens to invest in energy conservation and follow sensible conservation practices.