Reny supports pro-environmental agenda in seeking state senate
A first-time candidate is running on an environmental platform and seeking an end to a statewide housing crisis in her bid for the state Senate. Cameron Reny of Round Pond is an elementary school counselor and one of two candidates seeking the Democratic Senate District 13 nomination. Incumbent Democrat Chloe Maxmin declined to seek re-election. District 13 includes all Lincoln County towns plus Washington, in Knox, and Windsor, in Kennebec. Reny faces Newcastle lawyer David Levesque in the Tuesday, June 14 primary.
Reny has no previous political experience. As a candidate, she wants to impart change by working on issues important to those living in the region. She placed climate change and affordable housing as her top priorities. “In my work, I see families being displaced because they’re out of a job. They move away from their support system because they literally have no place to live,” she said. “This is also an economic issue because businesses are losing workers.”
Reny grew up in Bristol and graduated from Lincoln Academy. She and her husband Adam Reny have two sons. George , 4, and Leon, 2. Reny has worked as a school counselor for over eight years. She earned her undergraduate degree at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. Reny later received a master’s in school counseling from University of Southern Maine.
In choosing her career, Reny wanted to “give back to the community.” She also made a similar determination in seeking public office. “When Chloe (Maxmin) decided not to seek another term, people approached me about running,” she said. “I believe in public service and wanted to give something back to the community. So I went for it.”
In the legislature, Reny would draw from her experience as an elementary school counselor. She plans on working with legislators and stakeholders in solving problems revolving around important issues. “I don’t have a magic wand, but I have great communication skills and an ability to work with people. Especially those I don’t see eye to eye with. I will bring people together with experience in these matters in seeking a resolution.” Reny listed serving as Maine School Board Counselors’ president in her civic organization memberships.
As a “green energy” proponent, she supports wind power. An experimental wind power project is planned for East Boothbay in 2023. She believes the project will be successful with strong communication between the developer and community. “I absolutely support renewable energy. If the community is concerned about the project, the state must watch the project closely. I believe proper communication and transparency will ensure everyone will be heard,” she said.
East Boothbay residents aren’t the only ones concerned about the NEAV project’s impact on the community. Maine fishermen oppose off-shore wind projects over concerns it will interfere with their livelihood. The North Atlantic right whale controversy is another hurdle facing the industry. Maine Lobstermen’s Association has launched a three-year, $10 million fundraising campaign to fight federal regulations MLA described as “onerous” and as a threat to the industry’s future. Reny supports MLA’s fight and believes there is no evidence Maine fishermen are responsible for right whale deaths.
She also may support the state providing a contribution to MLA’s legal defense fund. “I would like to know more about it,” she said. “But why not? I would also like to know who else is contributing before making a final decision.”
Fishing isn’t the only Maine industry struggling. Maine and the entire country is battling the highest inflation rates in four decades. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March the Consumer Price Index reached 8.5%, the highest 12-month increase since 1981. Nationwide, citizens are struggling with high costs of housing, food, transportation and home heating. Reny was asked if the state should temporarily suspend the state income tax to help pay their monthly bills.
Reny didn’t think the proposal was feasible. “I would want to study this more, but I don’t think it would work in the long run. You’d have to replace it with something else, and property taxes are already high,” she said. Reny believes Gov. Janet Mills’ proposal returning more than half of Maine’s budget surplus totaling $729.3 million to an estimated 850,000 taxpayers through $850 relief checks will ease financial distress. “I think Gov. Mills’ idea is better,” Reny said.
She believes once housing becomes affordable it will ease financial burdens on Maine families. “Prices are horribly inflated. Once housing costs are lowered it will provide more money for other bills so that will make a big difference,” Reny said.
Reny is an electric vehicle advocate. She would consider increasing the gas tax to buy electric vehicle charging stations in promoting cleaner and less expensive transportation. “Gas is very expensive which concerns me and everyone else, but it may lead to more electric vehicle purchases. This would be better for the environment. I would consider it, but I think we need more information.”
Reny isn’t a fan of political labels. But when asked about her leanings on the political spectrum, she answered, “I would say my values tend to align more frequently with the progressive/liberal/left side. It is easily seen in my strong support of equity and inclusion, my belief in communities supporting each other, and my strong support of environmental conservation.”
She is pro-choice on abortion. “I firmly believe abortion needs to be between a pregnant person and their doctor. Abortions are going to happen, and they need to be legal, accessible and safe. All people deserve control over their own bodies.”
On issues of sexual orientation and gender, Reny supports an inclusive society. “I firmly believe LGBTQ+ people deserve human rights. Inclusivity is important. No one is hurt by everyone being included, and accepting people for who they are saves lives,” she said.
If elected, Reny would like to serve on marine resources, agriculture, or utilities committees. “Lincoln County needs a strong voice on marine resources,” she said. “I also support consumer-owned utilities. They provide better service and lower rates easier. It would also make it easier for the state to move toward more renewable energy.”