Milne to challenge Herbig for District 11 Senate seat

By Kendra Caruso | Feb 11, 2020
Photo by: Kendra Caruso District 11 Senate candidate Duncan Milne, right, talks to people Jan. 18 at a gathering in Palermo Community Library.

Belfast — Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Duncan Milne, a Republican, is challenging District 11 Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Waldo, for her seat in the Senate. He said he hopes to use his leadership experience in the military to represent people in Waldo County.

Milne and his wife are originally from Cape Elizabeth. He joined the military after graduating from college and then moved around the country several times over his career. He decided to finally put some roots down in Liberty after a rigorous house hunt around the Midcoast.

He led as many as 40,000 Marines and sailors at one point in his career. Working under good military leaders, he said, allowed him to learn good leadership skills. And he said public service is in his DNA and just because he retires does not mean he stops wanting to serve.

He is president of the Dixon Center, which advocates in local communities for programs to benefit veterans. The organization works with public and private entities to meet veterans' needs. He wants to take a similar approach to the government, he said.

Instead of funding new programs or committees, he wants to encourage local groups, businesses and organizations to help meet needs or fix problems in their communities. He thinks there are enough programs, and we should be reinforcing the ones that currently exist rather than creating new ones.

He said a lot of tax dollars are wasted on creating new programs that yield few results or are targeted to one voting group. “I see programs being described with no real avenue to pay for them,” he said. "... Some programs that make us feel good instead of providing real economic empowerment to the people, I think, are ones that I would look at. And these have to be programs for everybody.”

Taxes are an important aspect of his campaign. For several years he maintained residency in Maine, hoping to return one day, but had to change it to Virginia when he lived there because it became a tax burden.

He said his mother was taxed out of two houses in the Portland area after property tax increases made it impossible to stay in homes she owned at two different times. He thinks people do not completely understand what tax money is going for. “I see taxes going up without a firm understanding of what they’re paying for,” he said.

He wants to continue to grow the economy in Maine and said one of the biggest hurdles to business growth is regulations. He said there are too many regulations standing in the way of a strong economy.

“They’re regulating this or regulating that. It’s just not a fertile environment for business,” he said. “So, when you combine that with all these tax increases and program expansion, who’s going to be the bill payer for that down the road? Because there’s going to be a bill to be paid.”

He said he would like to see a stronger push for learning trades rather than pushing students to spend four years getting a degree that is going to yield little pay and a large student loan debt. He said there are industries in Maine looking for skilled workers, but the state does not have enough of them.

“There are so many opportunities for people to get skills and training and jobs that are high-wage jobs in this state right now,” he said.

“…. There are tons of jobs that, really, when showed to a person who went to a four-year degree and got a philosophy degree or whatever and they’re doing something that’s not philosophy ... and they see somebody who got a welding certificate working at Bath Iron Works making their own hours and making tons of money. That’s staggering.”

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.