Guy Desjardins announces for state senate

Posted Tuesday, December 17, 2013 in Politics

Guy Desjardins announces for state senate

by Louis Sigel

On December 11, Guy Desjardins had the official launch of his campaign for the Maine State Senate, District 22, at Jillson’s Farm and Sugarhouse, just down the road from Guy’s home in Sabattus.  The newly redrawn District 22 includes the 7 municipalities of Durham, Lisbon, Sabattus, Wales, Leeds, Greene and Turner in Androscoggin County as well as Litchfield and Wayne, and the incumbent Republican that Guy Desjardins will be facing in November of 2014 is Sen. Garrett Mason of Lisbon, the youngest member of the 126th Senate. Desjardins is currently completing his second term as Androscoggin County Sheriff.

Desjardins was elected Sheriff of Androscoggin County in 2006 after having served as Chief Deputy for the previous 10 years. He won reelection in 2010 and plans on retiring at the end of his current term, completing a total of 30 years service in law enforcement. He initially started his career in criminal justice as a member of the Sabattus Police Department in 1976 and subsequently was appointed Chief of Police, a position he held until 1988.

Desjardins has had a life devoted to serving his country and his community. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after graduating Edward Little High School in 1971 and enlisted in the Army Reserves on the completion of active military duty. In the Army Reserves, he served in the 94th Military Police Company and the 1033rd Training Group located in Lewiston and he reached the rank of Sergeant First Class.  He retired from the reserves in 1994 for a total of 23 years of service to our country.

Desjardins has also been very actively involved with his local community.  He served on the Sabattus School Board when his son attended the local public school in Sabattus. He became the Director of the Sabattus Sanitary District and is now in the second year of his 3-year term. And most significantly,  Desjardins was a Sabattus Selectman for 9 years, four of which on the Sabattus Budget Committee.

Desjardins is running for the Maine State Senate because of his concern for the people and the 9 local municipalities of District 22. He believes that the most important part of any home is its foundation, and he knows that the local municipalities are the foundation of our state. If the municipalities are struggling and cannot fulfill their responsibilities to their communities, the whole state suffers and cannot reasonably convince companies to invest and create good paying jobs. A major corporation or innovative entrepreneur will not move into communities that cannot provide essential services for their businesses, their employees, and their families.

Revenue sharing was the first issue mentioned by Desjardins in the speech launching his campaign. The biennial state budget proposed by Governor LePage in 2013 called for suspending revenue  altogether. This drastic step was too unacceptable even for LePage’s own Republican members in the state legislature, and the legislative budget committee proceeded to totally rewrite the budget on a bipartisan basis. The resulting budget restored some revenue sharing and was passed over the governor’s veto.

 Desjardins is committed to restoring full revenue sharing, so that local municipalities will no longer be struggling with the drastic reductions that have been imposed. Local communities are faced with the dilemma of increasing property taxes or cutting essential services because the state government fails to live up to its legal obligations with regard to revenue sharing.

The second issue Desjardins discussed in his speech was support for our local public schools. The state has consistently failed to live up to its legal responsibility of 55% state funding.  In addition, the state is shifting part of its responsibility for funding pensions for local public school teachers to the local school districts. Our public schools are being forced to cut positions and eliminate programs because of the drastic reduction by the state in providing its share for financing our public education.

Finally, the third major issue discussed  by Desjardins that motivated  his candidacy for the Senate is Medicaid expansion. The Affordable Care Act provides for 100% federal funding for Medicaid expansion for the first three years and 90 percent federal funding in subsequent years.  The Affordable Care Act is currently hampered by the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made this aspect of the law a state option, and the LePage administration has opposed Medicaid expansion in Manie.  Because of this, some 70,000 Mainers are ineligible to seek insurance on the new healthcare marketplace or to receive rebates to assist them in obtaining insurance. As a result, they have nowhere to turn except the healthcare that is the most expensive to the public, uncompensated care at hospital ERs. Of particular concern to among these working poor are the 3,000+ veterans who would become eligible. They have served our country and are in most need of our support.

The issues that motivate Desjardins are issues that people in Senate District 22 deal with constantly. He is running for the Senate to represent the real people in these nine communities and their concerns. He is committed to taking their stories with him to Augusta.

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