Fulford Announces Bid for Congress

Jonathan Fulford of Monroe announced his candidacy for Congress last month. Fulford hopes to win the Democratic primary to run against Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin for Maine’s 2nd congressional district. (Photo by Bill Kitchen)

By Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Last month, Monroe resident Jonathan Fulford announced his bid for the 2nd congressional district seat, currently occupied by Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin. Fulford previously ran as the District 11 Democratic candidate for state Senate in 2016, but lost to Republican incumbent Michael Thibodeau by a narrow margin. 

Fulford runs a business as a home builder, and said he wants to help Maine achieve more energy independence, and to create more jobs. “I have been a farmer and a carpenter for over thirty years. I have run a construction business focused on energy efficiency, and I have always paid a living wage,” reads Fulford’s website. “I have seen the importance that a decent job makes for people to succeed.”

Transparency

Fulford said that he feels government should be transparent to the people, and that politicians should not be financially indebted to special interests. When running for state Senate, Fulford was a Maine Clean Elections candidate. “I don’t see how we can have a democracy that represents the interests of the people when the people who are elected owe a great deal of their success and their campaigns to money that has come from these entities,” said Fulford. “Therefore, you have a divided loyalty, and it should be that your loyalty is always to what’s best for the people.”

Before running for state Senate, Fulford said that he paid close attention to Maine’s 2013 energy omnibus bill, H.P. 1128. He said he was appalled to discover that buried within the bill was authorization to spend $75m annually for the construction of a natural gas pipeline in Massachusetts. 

“A total of $5.5 billion of Maine ratepayer money, to subsidize the building of a natural gas pipeline in southern New England with no jobs made in Maine,” he said. “When I found out, I worked hard to bring some transparency to that, because that happened behind closed doors in Augusta.” Ultimately, the pipeline project was shot down by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which ruled that its construction was an inappropriate use of ratepayer monies.

“That lack of transparency allows decisions that...a group of lobbyists can push through. There’s no public outcry, because [the public isn’t] aware that their rights and their commons are being used in a way that they would never approve, if they had the full facts.”

Health Care and Addiction

“I support having health care for all,” said Fulford, who released a statement after last week’s health care vote in the U.S. Senate commending Republican Senator Susan Collins for voting against the bill.

“It is way past time that we have that in place so that nobody is dying or suffering with a lack of medical care because the system is set up to create massive profits for insurance companies and pharmaceuticals, but there is not actually good delivery of health care. Particularly in rural Maine, this is a really big issue.”

Fulford said that a robust health care system is also key to dealing with the opiate addiction epidemic. “When the [health care] funding is not there, when it’s being threatened to be cut more, that’s moving in the wrong direction,” he said. Fulford also believes that a robust economy can provide jobs create “hope, meaning and a source of pride in people,” making them less vulnerable to addiction.

“Equally critical, though, is the need to provide the treatment people need to survive, recover and have meaningful lives. Without a good health care system, we don’t have that,” he said.

Job Creation

“There is a lot of need that is not being met in our society— health care, energy, there’s going to be demands on our agricultural system because of climate change where Maine is going to need to produce more food,” said Fulford. “These are all things that are affecting us as a broader society. And the solutions to those [issues] are good jobs.”

The small businesses are where we’re going to generate the jobs, it’s unlikely to be some big business that will come in and solve all our problems,” he said. “Let’s look at the small businesses which we’ve always relied on.”

Climate Change

Fulford sees climate change as an immediate threat to the Maine economy. “Lobsters have become commercially extinct in southern New England, that’s where the biggest landings were, because of warming sea temperatures,” he said. “Billions of dollars of revenue that come into Maine because of the lobster industry. [Climate change] is a threat to our economy, and not to acknowledge that...is ridiculous.”

Fulford believes that if elected, he can help Maine become more energy-independent, and that utilizing solar energy is one means to that end. He said that there is currently a 30 percent federal tax credit on photovoltaic systems. “I think that’s good. I think soon that industry won’t need any support, probably even already,” he said. “There are benefits to ratepayers, benefits to the environment, and benefits to the economy.”

“I think we can eliminate all the subsidies...for fossil fuels which make them look like they are more economically viable than they actually are,” said Fulford. “I think we need to prioritize tackling climate change, and... if we tackle it correctly and make it a priority for our country, then it will generate tons of jobs in rural Maine.”

Fulford’s campaign website identifies economic fairness, healthcare and climate change as his top three priorities.

“The job of government is to anticipate the threats to our society, and take the measures necessary to protect our wellbeing,” he said. “[Climate change] is a threat to our economic wellbeing that is being ignored.”

“We need to address climate change, because we need to protect our fisheries.”

To learn more about Jonathan Fulford, visit www.fulfordforcongress.com.