For Stephanie Hawke, being a state representative is “all about caring for people and doing goods things.” This November, Hawke, 50, of Boothbay Harbor is seeking her second term in the Maine Legislature. During her first term, Hawke had the opportunity to assist the Edgecomb School Committee.
In January 2016, the DOE initial subsidy report showed Edgecomb receiving $71,000 which was far less than the $262,789 received the previous fiscal year. Hawke was contacted by an Edgecomb Eddy School staff member about the substantial decrease.
According to Hawke, her initial inquiry to DOE officials resulted in hearing there was no mistake in the calculation. Hawke made four more calls before the DOE found the error.
“It didn’t make any sense for such a dramatic change in the subsidy,” said Hawke. “I spoke to (Edgecomb) school officials who said there was no reason for it. So I kept telling the DOE to check again, and by the fifth call, the error was found.”
The town of Edgecomb, ultimately, received $256,000 from the state which is 9.61 percent of its school budget.
This is Hawke’s third run for the Legislature. In 2012, she lost to four-term incumbent Bruce MacDonald (D-Boothbay) and in 2014, she defeated Bill Coombs (U-Edgecomb). This year, Boothbay Harbor Selectman Wendy Wolf, an unenrolled candidate, is challenging her.
Hawke is serving her second term on the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District school committee. She serves as the board’s vice-chairman. Hawke believes economic growth is linked to a strong school system. She is proud of what the CSD has accomplished.
“We have an awesome school system. We have a small school which provides students with big school program options,” she said.
But the state economy needs more than good schools, according to Hawke. Economic development also depends on creating more jobs and opportunities. During her first legislative term, she has been a strong advocate for cutting state taxes and spending as well as eliminating unnecessary regulations. She supports Gov. LePage’s efforts to reduce the state income tax and welfare rolls.
Hawke cited the 17th Annual Southern and 18th Annual Regional Conference report issued by Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew as evidence that the governor’s policies work. The report documented in the past six years, Mainers receiving Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Cash Benefits have both been reduced. Hawke believes the trend allows more money for low-income seniors and children, and less for able-bodied adults without children.
The report indicated in 2011 Maine ranked second highest in the nation for people on Medicaid. In 2015, it ranked 24th. The state also ranked sixth in 2011 for number receiving Food Stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. In 2015, Maine ranked 23rd and 25th respectively.
“There was an 114 percent increase in the number of able bodied adults removed from Food Stamps program in one year. The reforms (which) require people to work or volunteer 20 hours a week, attend job training, and restrict EBT card use, have all made a big difference,” she said.
She owns Hawke Motors in Boothbay Harbor. She believes more people with a business background should be in the legislature.
“I know what it’s like to meet a payroll,” she said. “The state needs to do a better job at encouraging businesses. I know firsthand the challenges the business community faces on a daily basis.”
Hawke opposes two state referendum questions she believes would have a detrimental impact on the economy. She opposes Question Four regarding increasing the state minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 and Question Two proposing a three-percent surcharge on income over $200,000 for funding local education. She described both as job killers.
“We already have one of the highest state income taxes so an additional three percent will only discourage doctors, dentists and other high-paid professionals from coming to Maine,” Hawke said. “As far as minimum wage goes, it will be harmful to servers who won’t make as much in tips and it will knock students out of the job market. No one will pay $12 an hour as a training wage for inexperienced help.”
Hawke also opposes the three other citizen Initiative referendum questions. She is against legalizing marijuana for recreational use, requiring background checks on all firearm transfers, and electing state office holders by ranked choice voting.
As a Boothbay Harbor resident, she won’t be voting on Boothbay’s local referendum regarding the proposed roundabout. Hawke believes it’s a difficult question for the entire community.
“I understand both views,” Hawke said. “It definitely will change the look of the Common, but it will also alleviate some of the traffic congestion.”
Hawke has been supportive of most of Gov. LePage’s policies, but she was critical of his voicemail to Rep. Drew Gattine in August.
“I was disappointed, of course, but it’s more of a legal matter than a legislative one. There is nothing we can do about it, and I opposed a special session because it would cost $45,000 per day to discuss something the legislature has no authority,” Hawke said.
Hawke represents Maine House District 89, which serves Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb, Southport, Westport Island and part of South Bristol. She is running as a traditionally financed candidate seeking campaign donations. As of Sept. 30, she received $6,983.56 in contributions.
According to Hawke’s campaign, 83 percent of contributions come from District 89 residents, 10 percent from donors in surrounding towns, and seven percent from seasonal residents. Hawke received only one donation totaling $100 from a political action committee. The donation was from former Maine Speaker of the House Robert Nutting’s PAC.