Art Carter Running for State House of Representatives

By Lura Jackson

 

Retired combat veteran and military intelligence specialist Art Carter is actively campaigning to take a seat in the Maine State House of Representatives. Carter, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Anne Perry, a Democrat.

Personal background

Carter served in the United States Army for 21 years before his position was downsized and he was forced to retire. In that time, he protected the South Korean border during the Korean War and served in Vietnam. He attained the rank of Major and reached GS-14 as an intelligence research specialist in Washington D.C. before returning to Washington County in 1995.

Washington County is Carter’s identified homeland, a fact that stems from both he and his wife, Cynthia, having family roots that go back here for hundreds of years. Together, the Charlotte-based couple has five children, ten grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Once returned to Washington County, Carter became active as an EMT for Calais, Charlotte, and Dennysville, a position from which he later retired. He has been involved with the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry for many years and was a driving force in filing its papers of incorporation to enable it to receive grants – along with the St. Croix Historical Society. “I have an extensive background in corporate development,” Carter emphasized.

Running for the State House

Carter was prompted to put in his name for the House of Representatives following a series of medical issues, he explained. “I’ve had several personal instances lately dealing with medical services, and they’ve all been very difficult problems,” he said. “I was like, ‘Well, it appears the federal and state regulators are the perpetuating problem-makers for most of these situations.’ If I’m going to talk about it, I better do something about it.”

Of the 35 hospitals in Maine, 19 are in the red and 14 are just above the line, Carter outlined. “Only two are really making money. Why? The regulations and restrictions applied by the federal and state administrators and legislators.” Seeing that inspired him to “try to run and do something about it.”

Carter sees his military background as being a strong asset in resolving difficult issues. “I have an extensive background in government operations. I’ve been involved in many large government projects. I have the leadership and understanding necessary to look at the legislative agenda and see what needs to be corrected to the best of my ability.”

Stances on key issues

On Medicaid expansion, Carter is in favor, but he notes that the system needs a major reworking at the federal level. “More of the same doesn’t match up. We need to address how the services are being compensated for…. If we don’t – at the state level – insist that something be done, it won’t work out.”

Along with addressing basic health services to improve access and help to restabilize critical care hospitals like Calais Regional, Carter will be raising his voice to advocate for establishing a long-term care facility in the county, of which he sees a distinct lack. “There is no solution that I can see right now in the works for Washington County.”

A third health-related issue that Carter said he would like to address is increasing the number of beds available at the mental health facilities upon which Washington County depends. He shared personal experience in which the hospital was at capacity and unable to adequately admit medical patients as a result of those needing mental health care.

Aside from his focus on health, Carter identifies high property taxes as his second focus. “People are being taxed out of their homes. We have to look at what the state has in place to cause the high real estate tax. We all know the school system spends most of the money, and the towns like to keep their schools. They are the social centers of the community. But it has to be looked at because the real estate tax is just going up and there’s no end in sight.”  

Carter doesn’t support recreational marijuana based on his personal research into the sensitivity of DNA replication and how introducing any foreign chemical into the body can jeopardize that. “I cannot, at any level, support marijuana for recreational use.” He does, however, support medical marijuana “if it is done through the proper channels.”

In terms of economic development, Carter says a new plan is needed to attract major industry. “I agree with the cottage industries, little stores and shops, and so on. But they’re not going to do what shipbuilding did, lumbering, those were big concepts of earning money. We need a new concept for economic development. And I’m not talking tourism. Tourism is okay – it’s seasonal. We need to come up with a new approach.”

Resolving the high costs that towns are facing by addressing how school systems are organized is an option that Carter isn’t afraid to bridge. “The unfortunate solution is the one I think people would fight the most: consolidation. The little schools are very expensive, and consolidation is one way to fix that.”

Regarding the drug problem in the area, Carter said that while he has traditionally been in favor of the punishment-oriented approach of law enforcement, he sees prevention and treatment as being equally important. “We need a better approach to a long-term solution,” he said. “You’ve got to the give the greatest appreciation and thanks to the volunteers who are involved in the drug rehabilitation efforts. They are doing a great job with very little resources.”

 

In closing, Carter offered a perspective on his personal approach to politics and to life in general. “I believe in the old adage of ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ and ‘Love your neighbor.’ I don’t want to talk poorly of anybody.”