Searsport candidate aims to bring activism back to politics

By Kendra Caruso | Feb 20, 2020
Photo by: Kendra Caruso Jessica Connor talks at her campaign event in Searsport Jan. 31 kicking off her run for District 98's seat in the Maine House.

Searsport — Jessica Connor of Searsport is looking to capture District 98’s seat in the Maine House. The seat represents Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville and Winterport, and is currently held by Winterport Democrat Scott Cuddy who is running for reelection.

Connor is one of several Republican candidates who feel Maine voices are not being heard or prioritized in Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ administration with a Democrat-dominated Legislature.

She spoke at her Jan. 31 campaign kickoff event about changing government priorities to address concerns like rising taxes, the economy, and reducing government oversight. She said she wants to bring activism back into politics and foster political discussions between people again. She said that not talking about politics is how our government and citizens have become so divided.

“I know it’s cool in our culture to say, ‘I don’t do politics,’” she said. “But I'm here to tell you that state representatives pass and prevent laws every day that affect you during each and every legislative session. ... It is high time that we start making politics cool again and we start controlling the narrative and getting involved.”

Coastal towns like Searsport are becoming more gentrified and overtaxed, she said. She talked about finding a balance between locals and wealthy out-of-staters buying local property so everyone can afford to live in the area.

She discussed her struggle as the owner of a business with few employees and revenue under a certain amount. She said she wants to support legislation that will strengthen the economy and small businesses.

“We need the support to grow our clientele and customer base so that we can thrive and not just get by,” she said.

She said she thinks that legislators are voting away residents’ freedoms and that she wants to protect Second Amendment rights. She does not support state-run health care, but would like to work with other elected officials to encourage a competitive private market to drive costs down or possibly expand Medicare.

She wants to make well-paying jobs that are in demand in the state available to people who need them, she said. She talked about opening up trade job opportunities to keep people in the state.

For the first time in her campaign, Connor talked publicly about the adversities she faced as a child growing up with parents who had substance abuse issues. She talked about early childhood memories of living in a renovated school bus where she said she did not even know how to use eating utensils.

When the state removed her from her parents' care, she went to live with her grandmother, who she said cared for her better. Eventually she and her grandmother started butting heads and she ended up leaving.

She said she grew into an angry teenager hopping between friends’ houses. But she always went to school because she knew education was her ticket out of poverty.

“Getting an education seemed to be the only surefire way that I knew to escape the uncertainty in the future,” she said. “So when I woke up in the morning I got myself to the nearest bus stop and made it to school.”

She married her middle school sweetheart and had three children after settling down in Searsport. Now, she wants to represent the people of her district as a person with firsthand experience of some of government’s shortcomings.

A small crowd gathers in Searsport Jan. 31 to listen to House District 98 candidate Jessica Connor speak. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Patricia Keyes | Feb 21, 2020 11:52

Jessica is salt of the earth. I'm so proud of her personal growth and her competence to run. She has worked hard and brings her own experiences and community involvement to her resume. A really kind decent person who cares about everyone in our community. I hope you all get to meet her!

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