Republican William “Bill” Elliott of Belfast is challenging Rep. Jan Dodge (D-Belfast) for Maine House District 97 because he wants to bring back traditional conservative values that he said were common during his childhood. The seat represents Belfast, Northport and Waldo.

“I would like to see our politics and ethics skew back toward the traditional conservative Maine values that I grew up with,” he said.

He decided to run against the incumbent because he said the state is experiencing an influx of people retiring in the state who are then changing the state’s politics in an “uncomfortable and unnatural way.”

After moving out of state to attend college and start his career, Elliott returned to the Maine coast, where he was born and raised. He has worked in banking, investing, fund raising, fire fighting and calls himself a professional artist. His experience with banking gives him adequate knowledge about how to balance a checkbook and be fiscally responsible, he said.

The pandemic

While recognizing the fear many people have of COVID-19, he takes issue with how the state and the national governments have been handling the issue. He believes the most vulnerable people, like adults in nursing homes, have been severely affected because the government is taking a broad approach to addressing the virus. He said the federal government has focused on the majority rather than the minority.

He said he would like to see the government provide individualized support for those who are most at risk instead of mandating that everyone stay home and shutting down most businesses that would have a serious impact on the economy.

“The pandemic is a scary and unusual thing,” he said, “and it’s absolutely correct to wear masks, socially distance and do all those types of things. But I also think it’s incorrect that we lock down our economy, that we keep kids home from school, that we actually show fear toward other residents and other citizens.”

Police funding

Police are dealing with more than they are trained to do, he said, and he would support increased funding for mental health issues. He does not believe in using excessive force against people with mental health issues.

He thinks most police officers do their job well and they are necessary for a cohesive society, he said. He believes they have to deal with people who are “hell bent” on destroying society and they are doing a good job dealing with those individuals.

Strengthening Maine’s economy

Maine’s economy is made up primarily of small businesses, he said, and he would like to pass legislation that eases regulations and taxes. He said a large issue for businesses is energy costs related to heat and electricity, which he would like to address.

It is unacceptable that some businesses had to close for good because of coronavirus restrictions, he said. This is not a time where Maine can afford to lose any businesses.

He said municipalities have to spend within their means and used Belfast as an example of overburdening taxpayers with a rise in the mill rate during a pandemic. He said the city did not need a new Public Works building that cost over $7 million to build, which puts more of a burden on some residents who struggle to pay their taxes.

Climate change policies

Elliott recognizes climate change as an issue that the state needs to address. He said increasing public transportation will help reduce emissions, and broadband availability will allow people to work from home so they are not burning gas in cars to come to work. He supports growing clean energy industries in the state, he said.

“If we’ve got wind — let's use it; if we’ve got hydropower — let's use it; if we’ve got solar — let's use it,” he said. “I’m 100% for that.”

Women’s reproductive rights

He does not believe in interfering with a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, stating it should be a conversation between her and her doctor. He does not believe that it should replace birth control but does not support an outright abortion ban.

Guns and mass shootings

Open-carry laws in Maine are part of the reason why there is a low crime rate in Maine, Elliott said, and he believes in the right to own firearms. He believes people should have training in handling firearms and there should be some regulations. But he thinks the “bad guys” know many Maine households are armed, which prevents break-ins.

Improving education

Students leaving the state after receiving an education is one of the biggest problems, he said. He wants to create more incentives for college and trade school graduates to stay in the state. He would promote funding for trade schools.

He wants to see more of a focus on math and English comprehension, he said. He would also like to promote learning practical skills people can use after high school graduation, like how to balance a budget.


Broadband is one area that needs improvement in Maine, Elliott said. People cannot work in many industries or grow their businesses because of poor internet connection. If the state wants to retain residents and promote economic development, then it needs to improve broadband availability.

“If you don’t have it, you’re dead in the water, and we have to see that going forward,” he said.