Peter Rioux believes that the Legislature can work toward having a vibrant economy while also protecting what Maine is known for, its natural resources.

Rioux is running to represent House District 42, which includes Brooks, Jackson, Monroe, Swanville, Waldo and Winterport. Rioux is running against Joe Brooks, a Democrat from Winterport, and Kenneth John Cole, a Green independent from Monroe.

Peter Rioux

• Town of residence: Winterport

• Party affiliation: Republican

• Occupation: Clock maker, businessman

• Previous elective or appointive office: Winterport budget committee

• Clean elections candidate: Yes

Rioux, who has operated Peter Rioux Clock Service and Baldwin Sisters Antiques since 1993, said he is running because he sees serving in the Legislature as an opportunity to give back to the state.

“I don’t really like the way things are going, and I hope to have a positive impact, and to help turn things around for this state,” he said. “It’s a way for me to give back to the community.”

To Rioux, the biggest problem that the Legislature must contend with is getting the state budget in line with what taxpayers can afford.

“We can’t take more from the private sector. There are areas that can be cut, and some government spending, I think, can be curtailed,” Rioux said.

Part of that, Rioux said, is making Maine a better place for businesses to operate, and promoting Maine’s natural resources, which support the fishing, farming and forestry industries.

“Those are the mainstays of our economy,” he said, adding that he was raised on a farm in Aroostook County that provided many jobs for that region of the state. “I consider myself an environmentalist; I believe we can have a vibrant economy while still protecting our environment.”

In regard to how the Legislature might fulfill its pension obligations for retired state employees, Rioux said the fund must be replenished.

“We made a commitment and a promise, and we need to meet those obligations,” he said.

Rioux said for the long term, the state must examine the entire pension package that might be offered to future employees because “there needs to be a change in the system.”

“Obviously, it’s gotten too expansive,” he said.

On job attraction and growth of companies, Rioux said the first step in that process is opening up lines of communication between business leaders across the state and the Legislature.

“I think we need to reduce certain barriers that exist, and we need to go through the laws that affect businesses,” he said. “Talking to business and community leaders about what would work for them, and what might help to stimulate their growth.”

Closing the state’s budget shortfall, said Rioux, will involve making cuts to eliminate waste while also working to keep most services available to Mainers.

Rioux used the state’s welfare system as an example, saying that while there were many people in need of a helping hand because of the economy, he was concerned about ongoing abuse of the system.

When asked how Maine should proceed with regard to industrial wind and other forms of alternative energy, Rioux said it was important for the Legislature to be mindful of communities that had either restricted or banned wind developments through ordinances.

Overall, Rioux doesn’t believe wind power is the best solution for Maine.

“I’ve heard too many skeptics, educated skeptics, say that wind power is not going to reduce our dependency on foreign oil,” he said, noting that wind power generation would drive up energy costs because of the infrastructure upgrades needed for Maine to use it.

But, Rioux said, there are people in Maine who are knowledgeable on the subject of all forms of alternative energy, and the Legislature would benefit from seeking out their input.

Regarding education funding, Rioux said the state must look for more savings by reducing duplicated services and cutting administrative costs.

“We need to look and see where the waste is occurring,” he said.

Rioux offered the example of school construction, and how districts often pay architects to design new buildings. Rioux believes the state could save by coming up with set school building designs, with only the dimensions differing to address the size of the community a given building would serve.

Rioux added, however, that he supported funding the schools in a way that would benefit students and teachers as much as possible.

“I want our kids to be smart, it’s our future,” he said.

In regard to how the state is doing in terms of making affordable medical care available to Mainers, Rioux said the Legislature has work to do to improve the situation.

“Maine hasn’t done enough to provide us options for affordable health insurance,” said Rioux. “We’ve done well with providing options for those with low income, but for people who can and want to pay for their insurance, there is no competition.”

Rioux said his own insurance plan, which he purchased through Anthem, has a $15,000 deductible. Maine might benefit if everyone on every plan available in Maine had a deductible of some kind, he said.

Social services, Rioux said, is another area that the Legislature should examine in the interest of finding savings.

“We need to change the eligibility requirements, and we need to enforce them,” Rioux said. “We need to retrain people to go back to work… There is a problem with people from out of state who come here and start using our system immediately.”

Creating a work program for social service recipients might move Maine in a better direction, Rioux said, and it should be enforced to ensure that people show up to complete the work for the state.

“Some people, I think, see work as a four-letter word. We’ve got to start teaching our kids that work is the best thing we can do with our life,” he said.