MAINE — Bruce Poliquin and Elizabeth Caruso are vying for the Republican nomination for Maine’s second congressional district. Republican voters will decide who will get the nomination at the June 14 primary.

Caruso has a degree in engineering and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, she said in an email to The Republican Journal. For the last 30 years she has been a registered Maine guide and was the former owner of an outdoor adventure outfitter, which offered whitewater rafting, snowmobiling and ATV touring, along with a bed and breakfast and a shop.

She still works as a guide for a local commercial outfitter, she said. She has also served on the Caratunk Select Board for 16 years.

“In this purely grassroots campaign, my supporters know me as a powerful Maine advocate, not intimidated by big names or big money,” she said.

Poliquin is a more familiar face to Mainers. He represented Maine’s District 2 in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019. He also served two years as state treasurer. With experience from running his small business for 40 years, he understands the economy and how jobs are created, he said in an email to The Republican Journal.

Caruso vows to uphold the Constitution and enforce the freedoms outlined in it, she said. She believes all rights hinge on the right to bear arms, which is a right that she thinks is being challenged. She also wants to end censorship she thinks big technology companies are placing upon people.

From conception to the last breath, she describes herself as pro-life. She wants to preserve Title IX rights and will fight for women’s safety in bathrooms, sports and prisons, she said. Testifying against school and COVID-19 mandates, she believes in medical freedom and is against medical mandates. “Americans should make their own educated decisions,” she said.

Parents have a fundamental right to direct their children’s education, Caruso said. She believes in school choice and that schools should be more focused on improving academics. She would like to see more emphasis placed on technical, trade and vocational programs for high schoolers.

Caruso would also like to see more support for law enforcement and the military, she said. She describes herself as an America-first candidate and would like to see the southern boarder secured. Securing elections, gaining energy independence, protecting critical infrastructure, reestablishing pro-American trade agreements and securing currency are all issues she thinks need to be better addressed.

Poliquin hopes to address inflation, which is at a 40-year high, he said. He thinks the government is spending $5 trillion more than what is needed to fund it.

“Wage gains and family budgets are being wiped out by the higher cost of groceries, clothing, and housing inflation will continue to rise until the spendthrift politicians are replaced by fiscally conservative business professionals committed to controlling government spending,” he said.

Energy costs are rising right now and he thinks it is because the president and the Democratic majority are shutting down energy pipelines and the ability to explore for more U.S. oil, he said. Poliquin hopes to help reverse what he calls “extreme anti-energy policies.”

Illegal migrants from the southern border are another issue he would like to address, he said. He called it a dangerous situation where the president and Democrats are refusing to secure the southern border. He thinks taxpayers end up footing the bill for the illegal migrants.

Poliquin thinks his proven record of fighting wasteful government spending and debt speaks for itself and his primary opponent does not have that same record. He has visited the southern border and has a record of supporting domestic energy independence and constitutional rights.

“I have a proven record of supporting our constitutional rights and liberties including the Second Amendment,” he said. “My opponent does not.”

Caruso wants people to remove career politicians, identifying Poliquin as one of them, and nominate her to run for the party, she said. She thinks his refusal to debate her is proof that he cannot be expected to fight against “the D.C. machine, deep state corruption and political pressures.”

“Clearly career politicians have lost the heartbeat and trust of Mainers, whose message — and mine — is that we’re done with D.C.’s political games and deceptive speeches,” she said.