DISTRICT 2 – Eric Brakey and Dale Crafts are competing against each other and Adrienne Bennett in the July 14 primary to be the Republican candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
Brakey, a state senator from 2014 to 2018 and Republican nominee for the 2018 U.S. Senate race is focusing on freedom.
“Freedom is our birthright as Maine people, and that’s what I fought for in Augusta,” Brakey said. “That’s what I’m gonna fight for in Washington, D.C. I’m gonna fight for freedom to create our own jobs and rebuild our economy.”
Crafts, who served in the Legislature from 2008 to 2016, said the divide in the country is bringing America away from what it’s all about.
“I have six children and 14 grandchildren, and I want to make sure that they have lived the American dream that I’ve lived,” Crafts said. “I want to go down to Congress and partner alongside President Trump to bring this economy back strong like it was before this coronavirus hit.”
Both agree the economy needs to be fixed.
“We can decide whether we want to go into a business, not go into a business, go into a restaurant, not go into a restaurant,” Crafts said. “I don’t think the government’s job, I don’t think it’s constitutional that they can say you can’t do this, and you can’t do that.”
“We need to slash spending in Washington, D.C., so more people can keep more money in their own pockets, so we can rebuild our economy here,” Brakey said.
Brakey thinks the federal government stood in the way when responding to COVID-19.
“You had the CDC blocking the development of private testing, which really slowed down the response,” Brakey said. “You had bureaucracy standing in the way of the expansion of healthcare with certificate of need laws that enabled healthcare monopolies to reduce the supply of care.”
He also criticized the state’s response.
“Janet Mills took a sledgehammer to our economy and really has decimated our tourism industry, decimated so many people’s jobs,” Brakey said.
Crafts said no one could have been prepared for the pandemic but thinks Trump handled it well.
“President Trump came out on a daily basis trying to inform us exactly what was going on,” Crafts said. “He brought on all the professional doctors and all the right people, the experts to try to keep us informed on how contagious it is.”
He said the state needed to reopen by section quicker than it did.
“The governor eventually realized that and opened up the 12 counties and started letting people go back to work to a certain extent,” Crafts said. “It needs to be opened up way more. We actually made the shutdown worse than the pandemic.”
Amidst protests against racism across the United States, Crafts and Brakey believe groups shouldn’t be divided based on race.
“The only difference between people is the color of their skin,” Crafts said. “I’ve been taught as a Christian man that you’re supposed to love everybody despite what color skin they are.”
“We need to get back to having that shared American identity where it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white or where your family comes from. It matters if you share those American ideas with us,” Brakey said. “I think that that’s how we defeat racism is we remember that we’re all Americans at the end of the day.”
In regard to police reform, Brakey thinks the culture is positive within Maine’s law enforcement.
“I think that Maine really is the way that police should be,” Brakey said. “If we want to look at police reform in other parts of the country, I think Maine should be an example for the rest of America.”
Crafts said the majority of police officers are good, but a system should be in place for ones that cause issues.
“Maybe there’s gotta be a better process,” Crafts said. “If you got a problem officer, it has to be dealt with, and maybe that’s what we need to work on.”
Neither candidate thinks school resource officers should be removed.
“Not for the reason’s they’re trying to do it, no,” Crafts said.
“I think that we need to make sure that our schools are properly defended for if the worst ever happens,” Brakey said. “I think it’s short sighted to be removing school resource officers unless of course, there’s some other security plan in place.”
The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face incumbent Jared Golden in November.
“I want to serve. I’ve been a servant all my life,” Crafts said. “I’m a Christian man that knows I wanna be known as a servant, not a politician.”
“I believe in a free Maine and a free America,” Brakey said. “I think that that’s what Maine has been about since the very beginning.”