Green Independent Lisa Savage of Solon said she is the only candidate in the race who is not a multi-millionaire, and added she will not take campaign contributions from any corporations.

Savage is running for U.S. Senate against Incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins, Democrat Sara Gideon, and fellow independent Max Linn.

Savage has been a school teacher throughout her career and a union negotiator. She seeks health care for all and access to higher education for young people that does not put them in debt. The candidate argues funding for social programs could be taken from what the government spends on the Pentagon.

In addition, she calls for income tax reform that would have the rich paying more to fund services for their communities.

She argues that ranked-choice voting makes this a game-changer, offering a chance for independent, third-party candidates.

Asked about the pandemic, she said her first concern as people started staying home was what do homeless people do? She argues it is also important to provide support to parents who have to stay home and work while finding themselves without childcare, and added the money provided so far by the government has been inadequate compared to what other first world nations are doing for their citizens.

She also argues the pandemic highlights the need for a national health care program such as Medicare for all, which she supports.

“Investing in the public health, it’s not a question of whether people deserve health care. Health care is a human right,” she said.

She said the U.S. response was more of an “every state for themselves” and she was disappointed in the lack of testing.

“We bailed out Wall Street again… and states and municipalities are still waiting for meaningful relief from Congress,” she said.

She argues insurance companies come between health care providers and the people. She wants programs that also cover dental, hearing and mental health.

Asked about police violence, she supports investing in mental health professionals and dispute resolution experts to assist police. She wants to get school resource officers out of schools, arguing black students do not feel safer with armed police on campus. She also said the war on drugs has been a dismal failure. Drug addiction is an illness, not a crime, she argued.

The need for jobs is a huge issue, she said. As a teacher, she has watched families struggling due to a lack of good jobs with living wages. One reason, she said, is that we cling to the notion that Pentagon contracting is a good jobs plan. She opposes building warships at Bath Iron Works, and wants to see the business converted to creating something else to combat the climate crisis under the Green New Deal. As an example, she said BIW recently produced nasal swabs for COVID testing.

She said Maine’s high student debt load is depressing the state’s economy. “I would like to see public higher education made available tuition free,” she said.

This debt keeps young adults from buying houses, starting families and participating in the economy.

Asked how she would pay for all of these services, she noted that with health care, insurance companies account for 30%.

Also, she noted that more than half of the federal government’s discretionary budget goes to the Pentagon, whether there is a Democrat or a Republican in the White House, and that does not include money for nuclear weapons, which she says is hidden in the energy department budget, nor does it include the VA, which she supports fully funding.

Most of the money in the Pentagon, she argues, is really corporate welfare for companies producing weapons that receive tax breaks. She also argues the wealthy pay smaller percentages of income taxes than school teachers and woodworkers. Making them pay their fair share could help pay for these services to the people.

In addition, she sees the Pentagon as driving the climate change problem due to military greenhouse emissions, which are not counted in government assessments.

She argued against providing fossil fuel companies subsidies.

“I’ve listened to second graders tell their friends about their plan for escaping our school when an active shooter comes,” she said. “That disturbs me.”

She said she thinks most Mainers including her husband are responsible gun owners, but she said assault weapons need to be taken out of the hands of people struggling with mental health issues. She favors universal background checks and eliminating loopholes. Background checks are a minor inconvenience to good gun owners, she argued.

She opposes trade war with China, arguing that can lead historically to “hot wars,” and that tariffs hurt lobstermen. Instead, the U.S. should negotiate trade deals with other nations, she said. Current foreign policy seems to merely be saber rattling, she argues.

“I am very much in favor of ending our endless wars,” she said when asked about Afghanistan.

The U.S. has more than 800 military bases in other countries, she noted, adding our main industry has become weapon systems and endless wars support this business. She also opposes “space wars.”

“We’re in it to win it,” she said of her grass roots campaign for Senate.

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