Peter Weston of Montville is running against Christine Burstein in the race for Maine State Representative for 96th District, which includes the towns of Belmont, Lincolnville, Liberty, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont. The race is the result of redistricting of District 44 (Appleton, Hope, Islesboro, Liberty, Lincolnville, Morrill and Searsmont), the seat formerly held by first-term Rep. Jethro Pease, R, Morrill, who is not seeking reelection.

Weston is a retired elementary teacher and principal. He grew up in a family of eight children on a small farm in Houlton.  In 1970 he earned a degree in Education, married his wife Carol, moved to Waldo County and began teaching in SAD 3.  They built a home in Montville in 1977 and raised their two children Eliot and Elizabeth there.  After 40 years as teacher and principal, Weston retired from RSU 3 in 2011.

The candidates each answered questions posed by the newspaper as requested by readers:

Why are you running for office?

Maine’s future depends on good decisions made today. I’d like to be a part of making that future full of opportunities.

What is the greatest challenge facing the state of Maine?

Maine is the oldest state in the nation. We need to cultivate a climate that allows our children to find good jobs here and attracts other young people to our wonderful state.

In an online poll, our readers repeatedly raised concerns that lawmakers spend too much time fighting along political party lines and cannot seem to cooperate across party lines to get the business of the state done. Can you describe an issue in which you disagree with your political party? Can you describe a situation or an issue in which you would be willing to compromise or work with members of the other party?

Lawmakers work for the people of Maine. Working together on every issue, the number one goal is to improve opportunity for Mainers.

Many argue that cuts in state aid to education, roads, revenue sharing for towns and other areas have shifted more tax burden onto local property tax payers. What do you see as the reason for increases in local property taxes? What would you do as a candidate to address the property tax burden?

Decision making for local property taxes is always local. State subsidies will vary depending on revenue.

How can we afford quality education for Maine's children and balance that need with the burden faced by taxpayers?

A quality education is one that leads to success for children. We need to make sure that our tax dollars are being spent in the classroom.

What is your position on expanding health care for the uninsured? How should that be addressed?

Allow for more patient involvement, transparency of costs and expanding options.

What, if anything, would you change about welfare programs in the state of Maine?

We need to preserve welfare only for the truly needy to protect the safety net and promote independence and self-sufficiency through job assistance programs.

Would you favor raising the minimum wage? To what level?

Young people and those new to the work force have fewer opportunities when government sets a high minimum wage.

What policies would you favor to encourage business and job growth? How do we balance the needs of the business community with the need for labor and environmental protections and taxes to fund public services?

Job makers need some certainty in the system. They will invest their time and money, and take personal risks, which will translate to more opportunities for workers if regulations and taxes are not constantly increasing.