Michaud vs. Levesque, Question #3 

The race for Maine’s 2nd seat in Congress is between two men…current Democratic Representative Mike Michaud and Republican challenger Jason Levesque.TV5 has been bringing you their thoughts on topics important to Mainers.We asked both levesque and michaud the same exact question. Here’s The third in our series of six.”Maine teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation, and budget cuts are always a threat to eliminate more teachers out of the classrooms and increase the number of students in each class. How can budgets be changed so there are more teachers with higher salaries?”Mike Michaud (D) 2nd District: “When we actually passed the medicaid enhancement bill for the break, part of that legislation also gave state resources, so that they can help the states during these economic times as far as keeping teachers, police officers, and firefighters. For Maine that meant for Maine is actually about seven hundred teachers in the state of Maine or clerical workers with in the school systems will actually be able to retain their jobs. I think the role of the federal government is more in making sure that any federal mandates that come down are actually paid for, for instance special education costs. If the federal government was to pay the forty percent share that would mean Maine would actually get an additional eighty million dollars a year in special education. No child left behind is also another unfunded mandate to the tune of of about twenty-two million dollars. So there is a role for the federal government to play. But I think it should be more in making sure they have the resources whether it’s help building school construction, paying for the unfunded mandates that are currently on the books, or looking at ways where we can retain teachers. For instance the social security offset is an issue that is very important for teachers here in the state of Maine because their social security is offset and if you pay into the social security system you ought to be able to receive your social security. Maine is one of fourteen states that are effect by that. Hopefully we’ll be able to get that changed. That will actually encourage more people to go into the educational area.”Jason Levesque, (R) Congressional Candidate: “Well we need to look at the fact that teachers pay is definitely at the state level and not at the federal level. We need to make sure that more money is flowing down to the states, specifically the municipalities , so that they have the budgets necessary to educate our children. But we also have to make sure they are being educated for jobs that are here in Maine and work in tandem to make sure that jobs are created here so Mainers can work here and live here. One of our biggest exports are young people. We have the lowest average birth rate. We have the highest average age in the country, so in order to keep people here they have to be able to survive and pay their bills.”To learn more about the candidates and their opinions on the issues you can visit their campaign websites.Jason Levesque’s is www.levesqueforcongress.comMike Michaud’s is