Ryan Harmon (R-Palermo)
Waldo County — My name is Ryan Harmon. I was born in Maine and have resided in Maine for more than 30 years. I am a current State Legislator for the towns of Burnham, Freedom, Knox, Montville, Palermo, Thorndike, Troy and Unity. I am a former teacher, youth minister and mutual fund accountant. I have a BA in History and Political Science, a Masters in Business Administration from Rivier College. I live in Palermo Maine with my beautiful wife Holly and son and daughter.
Why I am running:
I am running because the people of Maine deserve prosperity, and it is very important to promote policies that are important to small businesses, farms and families here in Waldo County for our children’s future.
On role of government:
I believe small businesses and farms in Waldo County are our true job creators, and thus less red tape, less burdensome regulations and true tax relief are essential in maintaining and creating jobs in our community. More government bureaucracy equals more taxes coming from families and our small business community.
At the same time, Maine, has the oldest population in America. That is why it is important to make sure our seniors are continuously protected from cuts from the federal and state government. One of those ways is eliminating the taxation on all retirement income (401(k), 403(b), pension plans, social security etc. There have been quite a few residents in Maine that have relocated to tax havens like Florida, New Hampshire, Arizona etc., because it is so costly to retire in Maine. It is also important to make sure LIHEAP is continuously funded to protect senior citizens and low income people in the cold winter months. It is not the role of government to pay for political campaigns when people are struggling to get by each day. To many it is “welfare for politicians” to put money on palm cards, signs, negative mailings etc. It has also increased the costs of elections here in Maine.
It is important to know that no legislator can create jobs unless it is a government job. Thus, hearing any politician say they have created private sector jobs is inaccurate. Legislators can promote legislation that help small businesses and farms think of creating more jobs. Small businesses and farms create jobs when there is a need for them to do so through market activity, certainty, and regulatory reform. Listening to small businesses, farms, and families here in the community is the most important aspect of my job. That is why my work on decreasing the Maine Income Tax on small businesses, farms, and families was so important, as well as, enacting a new law for health insurance relief for “micro-businesses” of less than five employees, which in turn eases the costs of doing business. I also heard from Waldo County residents about promoting and passing the “Business Friendly Community” program to help municipalities attract businesses to Maine which in turn should lead to job creation.
About State Marriage:
I do not believe the state should be regulating marriage. It is and should be up to the churches and individuals. I believe my marriage is sacred in the eyes of God, my wife, and me. Why should the state be in charge of marriage between two individuals? I do not believe anyone should have to pay the state for permission to be married. Consequently, end the marriage licensing all together.
On life Issues:
I believe in the sanctity of all human life.
On Maine’s Natural Resources and Land Use Issues:
I believe all Maine citizens have a role in protecting our environment, being good stewards of their private property, learning how to maintain their land, protecting living habitat on land and in our pristine lakes. This is essential to our children’s future here in Maine as well as the planet. It is important to have those resources for enjoyment for hikers, fishers, bicyclists, preservationists, hunters etc.
The student always should come first. I cannot think where I would be today without my education from elementary school through college of which I am still paying loans for.
I believe students should have rigorous academic standards to attain a high school diploma. Our diplomas are essential to mean something for today’s job market, as well as those high school students applying to college, voc tech, and those who choose to serve in the military. It is also essential that teachers are provided with the tools they need to educate children to the best of their ability.
It is also important that Augusta continuously stop levying out of touch mandates on the schools which are not paid for and only increase property taxes. Augusta must also get out of the way of schools looking for innovative ways to save, and educate their students.
Regarding Tea Party Movement:
The Tea Party movement was the result of politicians not listening to people who felt that Maine’s income and property tax burden was too high, seeing private property rights erode, and too many state regulations on farms, small businesses, and families. As their constitutional right, Tea Party people have provided activism in lowering taxes, lowering state spending, eliminating costly regulations, enabling small farms and families to sell raw milk, supported food rights such as GMO labeling etc.
Mr. Harmon was given the same questionnaire as the other candidates running for State Representative seats.