I spent my childhood on a small farm raising sheep, pigs, and chickens, with two geese that ran the operations, as they do. I tended my own garden and learned to show my sheep in the fair. My bus ride to school was an hour each way and my family knew everyone in town. As an adult, I’ve spent time in the city and the country, but I still prefer rural life. I know quite a bit of the challenges and benefits; our problems are experienced differently depending on where we live.

I love everything about my home in Unity — where only in Maine, one can live just a short distance from Freedom, Friendship, Liberty, and Hope. Recently our town (along with Brooks, Knox, Waldo, Monroe, Swanville, Thorndike, and the west side of Frankfort) was assigned a new legislative district and needs a representative. I’m prepared for this responsibility and I know I can do a good job.

To the position I’ve sought, I offer my knowledge and expertise in nonprofit administration and public health, community planning and military experience. My background suits the need to make good decisions and build productive relationships. I built my career on a foundation in social work to keep my focus on people. After nearly ten years as a public servant in state and local government, I know that putting people and communities first drives growth. Understanding some of the economic challenges in areas similar to ours, we have a lot of work to do.

I believe that leaders have a responsibility to constituents — beyond the votes that get us to Augusta or the ones we cast once we get there. People deserve to have the ear of their legislator for issues big and small. I’m a natural helper and drawn to problem solving-after decades of this I feel capable of providing this to my district as a part of the Representative’s obligation.

Before I began working on laws and public policy, I was far removed from it as a busy young mom. In college, I was invited to Augusta to speak about our child welfare laws, drawing on my own experience in foster care and work with children with special needs. It was daunting. Given three minutes to testify, I was so relieved to be finished that I didn’t immediately hear the sharp call for order: applause is not allowed! But that was all it took to be amazed by the power of one citizen’s voice to influence the legislative process. When I was invited to attend policy meetings and join working groups, I began to help others find that their voices are as important as mine felt that day.

My campaign for District 38 is focused on our community — from the biggest concerns to the smallest backyard problems. I am responsible for ‘representing’ bigger issues that need the state’s attention. I would like to invite you into that process, in front of the people making decisions. I know that yours is the most effective voice, rather than mine.

Right now, our household budgets are stretched with energy costs, grocery bills, and childcare. We have a hard time affording housing and health care. Town officials are struggling to do their jobs without raising property taxes. It’s a sore spot for all of us. If I’m elected, I want to approach these areas the same way I do at home — finding ways to cut costs by working more efficiently, “smarter, not harder.” Let’s create more housing with Community Land Trusts, explore child care options using our established school resources, and protect revenue sharing for our communities to become more self-reliant.

My goal in November is to raise your expectations of me and to build a responsive government. Yes, I am ready to act on the issues that I am passionate about, to develop projects to make our lives easier, and to support laws that remove any barriers to our success. Yes, I’ve been listening, and planning my next steps.

Please help me rewrite the job description for leadership in Augusta by visiting my website, Facebook, or Email me. Tell me what you think we need to work on. If we aren’t building and strengthening our communities, no one is. You’re the job, and I am ready to get to work.

Democrat Robyn Stanicki of Unity is a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives in District 38.