Rep. MaryAnne Kinney, R-Knox, will continue to represent House District 99 in her second term, after holding off challenger April Turner, D-Freedom, by a vote of 2,794 to 2,117.

The nine-town legislative district includes Brooks, Burnham, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Monroe, Thorndike, Troy and Unity. Kinney was elected to the seat in 2014 over incumbent Brian Jones of Freedom.

Speaking Nov. 15, Kinney said she was surprised in her first term to find meaningful legislation taking a back seat to political games.

She hopes to continue working on welfare reform, which she defined as making welfare available to the people who need it first. She connected the problem with the minimum wage and the fact that some welfare recipients could make more by not working.

Kinney, who served on the joint standing Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee, sponsored one bill in her first term that sought to allow parents who had failed to pay child support to retain their driver's licenses. The issue was brought to her attention by a constituent who had the ability to earn money for child support but wasn't allowed to, she said.

"He had access to a car, he had a job lined up, but he couldn't get to the job," Kinney said. "We give it back to drunks who have violated the laws on driving. They can drive. Why can't someone who is trying to do better for their family?"

Kinney's bill was voted down. She learned in the process that the law was already on the books, but came away with questions about how the information gets from Augusta to the residents who need it.

She was encouraged by the turnout of voters for Donald Trump as a rising up of the silent minority, but said ultimately representatives are going to have to work together.

"We're going to have to come up with stuff that works for both parties," she said. "We'll have to compromise." She added that compromise didn't mean one side always giving and the other side taking.

Kinney's opponent, April Turner, said she was proud to have received 43 percent of the popular vote in her first bid for public office but was disappointed she lost.

"I had hoped to win," she said. "I ran every day like I was."

Turner said she knocked on 2,000 doors around her district and talked to constituents of all political stripes. A recurring theme was the need for medical insurance, she said.

The longtime social worker said she will probably run again, but she hasn't decided if it will be in next election or not. For now, she has changed her Facebook page from "April Turner House of Representatives," to "April Turner Community Advocate."

 

 

filed under: