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April Turner: Social workers should partner with police

Favors child care reimbursement programs for working parents
By Fran Gonzalez | Sep 24, 2020
April Turner is seeking the House District 99 seat for the third time.

Freedom — Democrat April Turner, a Freedom resident, is running for the Maine House of Representatives in District 99, seeking to represent the towns of Brooks, Burnham, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Monroe, Troy, Thorndike and Unity.

She is hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. MaryAnne Kinney of Knox, who is seeking her fourth term in office. This is Turner's third attempt to win the seat.

An advocate for health care, mental health treatment, and the education and safety of children, Turner's priority is to help people with what they need to thrive.

We recorded a Zoom interview with Turner Aug. 26, in which she said she wanted to make a difference when it came down to making sure her sons had work opportunities in the county and within the state.

Pandemic

Turner agrees with much of what has been done in the state already to respond to COVID-19, including encouraging people to stay home and if possible work from home.She also thinks schools have done a good job of balancing serving the needs of students and their families.

Making sure nursing homes, hospitals and other care facilities have enough personal protective equipment would be a priority for Turner, in the event there is an uptick of hospital visits during flu season. She favors adding more free testing sites where “folks can make the right choices to protect other people.”

Many parents, she said, are concerned about how they will be able to work and provide their students with remote learning opportunities. Turner would like to look at what kind of child care reimbursement programs the state can make available, “so that way people can work and not have their whole paycheck go to the daycare centers.”

Economy

Turner favors increasing work-from-home opportunities, but sees broadband internet as a hurdle that needs to be overcome. “Without that,” she said, ”businesses cannot thrive. We need to include and upgrade to more broadband service, especially in our rural areas.”

Turner would like to see a universal health care system, which, she said, would give individuals the opportunity to start their own businesses. Many people worry that if they leave their current job that provides health care coverage, their family will go without health insurance. “We need that ingenuity to shape our future so we are not dependent on a tourist economy,” she said, “which does not have the best results for Maine.”

Police

Social workers partnering with police, Turner said, would help bring about a decrease in forceful action by police. She favors more social workers involved in domestic violence and mental health calls, where they would have more expertise than police. “And, perhaps, have a different approach,” she said. This would create a unique opportunity to reach and provide services to the family.

Taxes

Turner does not support towns setting up local sales taxes, but says the state should fulfill the 55% funding requirement for education that was voted in years ago and still has not been fully funded. “That is such a huge expense that is affecting families and individuals and our elderly with extremely high property taxes,” she said.

Climate change

She welcomes the growth of more green technology to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and said she would support solar and wind technology projects.

Abortion

She does not support policies that eliminate abortions. She has worked with families that are expecting a child and do not know what their next choice is. “It’s through family planning or Planned Parenthood that they are able to see what their options are,” she said. “We need to make sure those options are still available.” She added that it is an individual decision for every woman to make.

Guns

While Turner said Maine has been fortunate that it has not had any mass shootings, she would like to be prepared to prevent such a situation. Her concerns with guns revolve around their connection with domestic violence.

“We do see folks who are killed by their partner through the use of a gun,” she said. “In that 48 hours after a man or woman leaves their abusive partner, this is sometimes the most dangerous time of their life. The abuser is adjusting to the change and having some difficulty with it and goes to the action of using a gun.

“We need to have a system where, if someone comes to us and says, 'I’m really concerned, my brother and his wife just broke up and he is saying some things that are concerning,' that there could be some action taken,” she said.

Education

Turner said she has four kids who have all graduated from high school. She would like to ensure students have an education system that fits all of the different learning styles because one way does not fit all people. She favors making trades education available to students in middle and high schools.

She also said driver education should be part of the high school curriculum. “The cost for sending a child to driver's ed is roughly $600,” she said. “A lot of families cannot afford that and that puts a limitation on that student gaining their independence.”

Broadband

Turner feels that expanding broadband internet throughout the state will create an invaluable opportunity that will change Maine’s economy and aid in education as well.

In closing, she said she appreciated everyone who supported her, and added, “When I'm serving in Augusta, I'm serving all my district, regardless of my party affiliation.”

Election 2020 - April Turner - Candidate: Maine House District #99
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