Congressional Question 10-25-12 

Democrat Mike Michaud is hoping to secure a sixth term in Congress next month.He’s running against State Senator Kevin Raye for Maine’s Second District seat. As we continue our profiles of the two candidates, you’ll hear what both men have to say about this:Agriculture still plays a huge role in our state. What will you do to protect Maine’s farmers and encourage future growth in this industry?Congressman Michaud:”Farming is extremely important to Maine, and one of the reasons why I got a 100% voting record on the National Farmer’s Union, is because I have been focused on, on Maine farmers, particularly the specialty crops. When you look at potatoes, blueberries, you know, cranberries, those are our crops here that our farmers really need. It’s important for Congress to actually reauthorize the Farm Bill, and to take in consideration specialty crops. Unfortunately, with the huge corporate, corporate farms out in the Midwest, they’ve been taking a lot of the federal resources for those large corporations and as a country, we’ve got to look at the smaller farmers, like we have here in Maine. But there are also programs out there that we’ve got to look at to make sure that our farmers take advantage of. When you look at irrigation, for instance, that’s been a big issue, with the Maine potato growers, and we’ve worked out… did a lot of work with rural development, the U-S-D-A, to try to make sure that irrigation money goes to our local farmers, so they don’t through all the red tape that they need. It’s been a long haul but finally we’re there. That’s extremely important. The other issue when you look at farming, is the estate tax. I’ve heard over and over again, whether it’s forest land or farmers, what happens with the estate tax does have a big impact and actually, I’m a co-sponsor of legislation with a Republican Congressman from Tennessee, Ms. Black, to deal with the estate tax issue as it relates to our farmers, and forest land owners. “Kevin Raye:”Agriculture does play a huge role in this state. It brings 1.2 billion dollars a year to our economy. That is an extraordinarily important component of jobs and economic activity in Maine. I’ve been touring farms, visiting farms, just in the past 2 days. I’ve been in a broccoli packing plant, up in Westfield in Aroostook County. I’ve been at the dairy farm in Clinton and I’ve at an apple orchard down in Turner, visiting with farmers. And I hear how concerned they are with the expiration of the death tax, that it’s going to be escalating. Not the expiration of it, I’m sorry, the expiration of the, of the tax cuts, which included a cut to the death tax. If that is allowed to expire and the taxes are increased on family farms, we are going to see family farms that do not pass from one generation to the next, but rather are sold off for development. That will diminish Maine, it will diminish a way of life, and we can’t let it happen. Farming is too important. My opponent, Congressman Michaud, has a rating with the National Farm Bureau, of just eleven percent, meaning that eighty-nine percent of the time, he’s not voting with the interest of farmers. That compares to Senator Collins, who has a seventy percent rating, and I think that in a state where agriculture is so important, we need to make sure we have a Congressman, who is fighting for family farms.”