Andover independent running for governor
Posted June 17-
Les Otten’s bid for the Blaine House has concluded, but for another, lesser-known local gubernatorial candidate, the race is just warming up.
Kevin Scott of Andover is one of three unenrolled candidates who are ramping up their campaigns for the November election.
Earlier this year, Scott traveled the state gathering the 4,000 signatures needed to get his name on the ballot.
Why is he running in a race that some might consider a long shot?
“It’s a desire to level the playing field in Augusta,” said Scott last week. “We have part-time legislators. But the governor tends to be an established political candidate, or a multi-millionaire. The national parties have a long reach into Augusta. The Legislature needs a peer in the governor’s office, not a consultant from Washington. Someone they can work with.”
Scott, a 1986 graduate of Mexico High School, has a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from George Mason University in Virginia. The youngest of six children, he financed his own college education.
In 1998 he established Recruiting Resources International, an employment firm that places professionals in engineering assignments with U.S.-based companies in defense, aerospace, semi-conductor, and other high-tech companies.
Because he is a business owner who works with companies all over the US putting people to work, Scott said he is particularly qualified to promote and enhance the business climate in Maine.
If elected, he said, he would emphasize “marketing Maine and job creation.”
Scott describes his overall political philosophy as “fiscally disciplined and socially moderate,” with an emphasis on simplifying government.
Maine, he said, “needs to subsist on what it has or less, rather than just giving more money to the government.”
To improve efficiency, for example, government agencies should be analyzed to determine if those that are inefficient are so by design, or as a result of a lack of leadership, he said.
Scott also said he would consider suggestions made to him on the campaign trail, such as a long-term plan to reduce state government by attrition, and by instituting, initially on a voluntary basis, a 32-hour work week.
Education, health care
School funding also needs scrutiny, he said, in order to establish consistency.
Scott suggests innovations to streamline the process. For example, he said, employees of the state’s lottery commission might become employees of local school districts.
“Money from the lottery could go directly to the superintendent’s budget, not into the general fund and back,” he said.
Other ideas on the table include a four-day school week and alternating 45 days in school and 15 days out.
Regarding health care reform, Scott said he considers health care a human right, “but the solution is in the private sector.”
He advocates a “start up,” comprehensive design for a Maine health care system, based on private ownership of health insurance.
His ideas include the use of health savings accounts, and the possibility of issuing a “Maine Health Bond” — similar to the state’s use of transportation bonds — to create public financing to benefit the public, he said.
He also said that public health care delivery should be improved so it is not in direct competition with the private sector.
Scott’s approach would also address professional medical liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.
In dealing with many of the major issues facing Maine, Scott said, he advocates “talking to other states and countries “who are successful, and find out how they’re doing it. Why reinvent the wheel?”
Scott was asked as an independent, how he would build consensus with the existing political parties to get things done.
Noting that legislators are elected every two years, he said he would “work hard to get like-minded unenrolled people elected. The campaign begins when I get elected. I want to elevate people who want to participate, who are not being approached by the parties.”
As for getting things done in his first two years, Scott said he would set realistic expectations, and focus on “getting the right people” to serve in the cabinet.
Lessons from Andover
Over the past several years, Scott has been involved in several controversial issues facing that town.
Examples include the fire department, the Andover Water District (of which he is currently a trustee) and Med-Care Ambulance.
In questioning the policies and procedures of those and other agencies, he has created both strong support and strong opposition among townspeople.
Asked what he has taken from those experiences, Scott said, “I’ve learned to sit down with people and listen to them. I’ve learned to be less confrontational and more confident.”
He said he hopes voters who have become disillusioned with the political system will consider him as a candidate.
“I’ve talked to seniors who have voted all their life, and they’re not going to do it,” he said. “The political parties brought them there, not the independents. I want to give those people reason to vote again.”
To learn more about Scott, go to www.mainesbestchoice.com.