House District 97 incumbent Jan Dodge (D-Belfast) said she still gets goosebumps when she drives around the Augusta rotary on her way to the State House. She hopes to keep her seat in the upcoming Nov. 3 election against Republican challenger Bill Elliott.

Dodge ran for her first term two years ago because she said some important local voices were not being considered, including teachers, which was her profession before retiring. It was a learning curve for her when she started her first term as a representative but she quickly learned the importance of relationships among House members.

The years under Gov. LePage’s administrations, she said, were difficult and she is proud of being part of the progress since he left office. She hopes to continue that progress, though she thinks many of the issues to be considered moving forward will be coronavirus related.

She said the Maine Legislature should reconvene now to address coronavirus issues and is disappointed that it has become an issue among members of the House who she said are not holding true to their oath as elected officials.

Police funding

Dodge does not believe in defunding the police but said she wants to look at increasing law enforcement training and incorporating counseling services for situations that do not require physical force or a weapon. She said many officers are not trained for the circumstances they are dealing with.

She recognizes social injustices toward Black minorities and said she will continue to fight for racial and social justice.

Strengthening Maine’s economy

Dodge said because the state’s economy was booming before the pandemic, it will help recovery after the coronavirus shutdowns. A big part of strengthening the economy will be through retraining programs that will become available. The situation with the coronavirus is still in an unknown state, she said, so it is difficult to create an economic recovery plan.

“I can’t imagine that folks aren't going to understand that we have to do some pushing to get things rocking and rolling again,” she said.

The state will have to continue to support people through social programs until households have recovered from the economic outfall because of the pandemic, she said. She has received many phone calls from constituents who said they need relief because of COVID-19.

Local sales tax option

She was disheartened to find that there is not much support in the House for a localized sales tax option to offset municipal service costs, she said.

But she is satisfied that after fighting in the Legislature, revenue sharing was increased, she said. It is important to her because it eases the financial burden on municipalities that positively impacts taxpayers indirectly.

Climate change policies

The Green New Deal is a positive start to addressing climate change issues, Dodge said. She believes the state needs to be bold and to make impactful decisions now. She gives credit to Maine citizens for being forward-thinking on the issue.

She wants to see the state invest in clean energy and research into how to store the energy harnessed through solar and wind, she said. She hopes Maine will become a leader in the movement.

“I believe that citizens have acknowledged for the most part the importance of the actions that we take,” she said. “And I have faith that we’re going to follow the Dirigo and Maine is going to be a leader.”

Women’s reproductive rights

The option to have an abortion is a decision only a woman and her doctor should discuss, she said. She believes abortion is personal choice women make for various reasons and there should be no legislation prohibiting the option.

Guns and mass shootings

As a descendant of a hunter who owns guns, Dodge respects owning firearms as part of American culture but believes there should be more control over weapon sales in the U.S.

She is disappointed in the direction the country has gone in marrying gun rights to issues in a way that is unproductive. For example, she does not believe guns should be put in schools as a response to mass shootings.

Improving education

As a member of the Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and previous educator herself, she said education is not properly funded and teachers are taking on responsibility beyond their scope.

She said colleges need to put more tuition dollars into their institutions but does not know how the state would fund free college tuition. She wants to work harder to figure out how to make college and vocational training more affordable.


Broadband is one area she believes it is important for the state to fund, she said. It is unacceptable that broadband is still not a statewide option. She believes if the state wants to attract workers and remain competitive, it needs better broadband options.

She said she is happy the referendum for funding to bring broadband up the I-95 corridor passed but it needs to be extended throughout the state.

“I mean we’ve been batting this around for way too long,” she said. “This is one of these problems where, solve it, just fix it. Do what needs to happen, please and thank you …. We should not have allowed ourselves to get so far behind.”