Augusta adviser and Army veteran face off in Republican primary for House 59 seat

AUGUSTA — Augusta City Councilman Mike Michaud and Army veteran James Orr are facing off in the Republican primary to represent part of Augusta in the state House of Representatives.

Both candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for House District 59 on Tuesday. The winner of the Republican primary would face Representative Raegan LaRochelle, an undisputed Democrat in the primaries.

The district, after redistricting last year, consists roughly of northern Augusta, on the west side of the Kennebec River. Most of the district was previously part of House District 86.

Michaud was elected to represent Ward 3 on the Augusta City Council in 2019, after serving a year on the Augusta School Board.

“I’ve developed a great passion for giving back to my community,” Michaud said of why he’s running for the House, noting that he and his wife threw a backpack and school supplies through the through the Augusta Elks Club. “And that passion just kept growing. After serving two and a half years on the council, I have paid attention to many issues that do not just affect the city, but the entire state. I feel like I have the passion and understanding for people and can make a difference at State House.

Orr has never held elected office before, but ran against LaRochelle in 2021 for the former House District 86 seat, losing to her in a special election held to fill the seat vacated when former Rep. Justin Fecteau, R-Augusta, resigned in July of 2021.

Augusta City Councilman Mike Michaud, Republican primary candidate for District 59 of the State House of Representatives in Augusta. Courtesy of Mike Michaud

“Most politicians have lost sight of what makes America great, and we need to get back to basics,” said Orr, who volunteers as president of Veteran Mentors of Maine, explaining why he present. “I believe it starts with ordinary people running around and kicking career politicians out of the polls. I will represent the typical hard-working Mainer and will not be beholden to special interests or play partisan games.

Orr said the biggest issues facing the state are the current costs of basic necessities like gas, food, fuel oil and prescription drugs, that people’s rights are being eroded by government and big tech companies and that parental rights need to be protected.

He said as a state representative he would fight any further tax increases, sponsor a bill to temporarily suspend the gas tax, defend people’s constitutional rights and sponsor an amendment. constitutional order to consolidate parental rights and support their right to choose the school their children attend.

James Orr, an Army veteran and Republican primary candidate for District 59 of the state House of Representatives in Augusta. Courtesy of James Orr

Michaud said the biggest issues facing the state are rising prices and inflation, which he says could force seniors and others on limited incomes out of their homes if they are not. not controlled, and to guarantee children a good education.

He said as a state representative he would listen to voters and talk to other lawmakers to come up with a plan to tackle the high cost of fuel and other basics and work with lawmakers. of both parties to find bipartisan solutions.

Michaud said he would support the idea of ​​eliminating state income tax or taking other steps to reduce the tax burden on Mainers.

Michaud said his resume, advocacy and community leadership make him highly qualified to be a good legislator, and it’s up to voters to determine who they feel most comfortable with when they go to the polls.

Michaud said the state could help address the housing shortage in Maine by redirecting some of the federal funding earmarked for COVID-19 assistance to create more affordable housing, and if the state is able to help reduce the cost of goods, it would help solve the housing problem. crisis by making housing more affordable.

Orr said one of the reasons the cost of housing is so high is that a lack of skilled workers has led to increased construction costs and reduced housing inventory. He said the state could help solve this problem by adding more technical education in schools.

He said he would sponsor a bill to implement a voter identification system that he says is necessary to protect the election.

Orr said if Michaud is a good guy, he supported a bond that will raise Augusta’s property tax during the current economic downturn, which he called unacceptable.

Orr said he was not a politician and cared more about helping ordinary people than what was politically expedient.

Polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Polling locations are based on residential addresses, with those living in Ward 1 voting at the Buker Community Center, those in Ward 2 in Downtown Augusta, those in Ward 3 at the Augusta Civic Center, and those in Ward 4 at Cony High School.

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