Voters’ Guide 2008: State House District 117





Anne Haskell and Phil Haskell square off in District 117. (photos/courtesy candidates)
Anne Haskell and Phil Haskell square off in District 117. (photos/courtesy candidates)

Voters’ Guide 2008: State House District 117

By Chris Busby

The race in House District 117 (the Stroudwater and Rosemont neighborhoods) pits one-term incumbent Democrat Anne Haskell against Republican Phil Haskell, a first-time candidate.

No, they’re not related.

Anne Haskell, 65, took this seat over from longtime Democratic legislator Joe Brannigan, who’s now a state senator, easily besting a Republican and a Green challenger. Now retired, she has previously run an administrative and payroll services company and worked as a financial administrator for a women’s alcoholism treatment center and a local engineering firm. She is currently vice chairman of the board of Gorham Savings Bank, and serves on the board of the non-profit People’s Regional Opportunity Program (PROP).

Haskell also previously served three terms in the House representing Gorham, and was elected to Gorham’s Town Council. She worked as Gov. Angus King’s Director of Appointments to Boards and Commissions and as the Maine International Trade Center’s chief operating officer. She is married with grown kids and grandkids, and has some college experience, but no degree.

Phil Haskell, 71, is also retired. His past work experience includes employment with General Electric and as director of manufacturing for a company in Maryland. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maine, and a Master of Business Administration from Xavier University. He is married and has three grown children.     

Some answers have been edited for brevity and clarity. For additional notes on some questions, see the bottom of this guide. 


Do you support a ban or any further restrictions on assault weapons?

Anne Haskell: Plans to submit legislation advocating for voluntary background checks for private gun sales; otherwise, supports no further restrictions.

Phil Haskell: Would consider further restrictions; would neither oppose a ban nor advocate for one.


Do you support the proposal to allow a casino to operate in Oxford County?

Anne Haskell: Not this proposal, but is “not totally opposed to casinos;” would like a casino that includes a convention center.

Phil Haskell: Is personally not comfortable with the proposal, but would support it because the state so desperately needs jobs and revenue.


Should Maine abolish its lottery and scratch ticket games?

Anne Haskell: No.

Phil Haskell: No.


Do you favor any further restrictions on abortion?

Anne Haskell: No.

Phil Haskell: No.


What measures would you support to make the state’s medical marijuana law more effective?

Anne Haskell: Has been a leading supporter and sponsor of medical marijuana legislation. Is not sure how Maine can increase access without running afoul of federal restrictions.

Phil Haskell: Not sure. “There should be other alternatives outside marijuana. I’d prefer not to have marijuana in the equation at all.”


Would you support a statewide ban on smoking on bar and restaurant patios and decks? 

Anne Haskell: Yes. Notes that her first husband died of lung cancer, “and I watched it.” He was 52.

Phil Haskell: No.


Should Portland and other municipalities be allowed to levy a local-option sales tax? 

Anne Haskell: “I think that’s well worth exploring.”

Phil Haskell: No.


Should the state provide money to build a megaberth at Ocean Gateway?

Anne Haskell: Undecided. Would need to see more evidence of statewide benefits.

Phil Haskell: No.


What’s your position on Question 1, the referendum to repeal the beverage tax?

Anne Haskell: Opposes repeal. “Drink local beer and [you] won’t be taxed” at a higher rate.

Phil Haskell: Supports repeal.


Should intelligent design be taught in public school science classes?

Anne Haskell: No.

Phil Haskell: No. “There are three things that must be done and done very well in the public schools: it’s called reading, writing and arithmetic. All the rest is frosting on the cake.”


Should state lawmakers consider making the legal drinking age in Maine 18 again?

Anne Haskell: “I think we probably ought to look at it, see if there’s a rationale,” but also said, “I don’t support it” and “I’m going to be a hard sell on moving it even down to 20.”

Phil Haskell: Yes.


A few notes on the questions…

• As compiled by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: At present, there are no state restrictions on the sale or possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons in Maine. Gun owners are not required to register with law enforcement authorities. Gun dealers do not need a state license, but must keep a record of on-premises sales. Individuals and collectors are not required to keep a record or perform a background check on those who purchase assault weapons at gun shows or through private transactions. There are no restrictions on ammunition magazines that allow the shooter to fire scores of rounds without reloading. Cities and towns are prohibited from imposing any restrictions stricter than state law. There is no waiting period required for gun sales.    

• According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, Maine currently restricts access to abortion by prohibiting public funding for the procedure for low-income women eligible for state-funded health care. Women under 18 must have the written consent of one parent or other adult family member to get an abortion; that mandate cannot be waived in cases of rape, incest or child abuse, but can be waived if a doctor determines the young woman’s health is threatened and she is of sound mind to give consent. Individual health care providers, hospitals and clinics can refuse to perform abortions with no legal ramifications. No woman may have the procedure without being advised by the attending physician of the estimated length of her pregnancy and the risks associated with pregnancy and abortion.    

• Ten years ago, Maine voters passed an initiative allowing doctors to recommend marijuana to patients suffering from a handful of specific illnesses and symptoms (including nausea and wasting syndrome resulting from AIDS and cancer treatments, glaucoma, epileptic seizures, and muscle spasms associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis). Patients can grow a few plants and possess 2.5 ounces or less of the drug, but there is no formal or state-sanctioned system to provide the medicine (or the seeds or plants needed to start growing), leading most patients to turn to the black market or forgo the medicine’s benefits.   

• A “local option” sales tax is a tax levied by towns and cities — typically an increase on the state sales tax on meals and lodging — that allows the municipality to keep the additional revenue (rather than send it to Augusta) for local purposes and projects. State lawmakers from cities like Portland have tried unsuccessfully for many years to convince their more rural and suburban colleagues to allow such a tax. 

• The “megaberth” is a large dock capable of handling modern cruise ships that was originally planned to be built as part of the Ocean Gateway marine passenger terminal next to the Maine State Pier. When Ocean Gateway ran over budget, the megaberth was cut, and city officials are now trying to figure out how to get the money to build it. Ocean Gateway was built using a mix of local, state and federal funds, and some argue that because ships using the berth would bring an economic benefit to communities beyond Portland, the state should pony up more dough to finish the job.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: