Student and alum compete for seat in legislature
Mark McNulty '11 is running against Henry Beck '09, the incumbent candidate
Henry Beck ’09 and Mark McNulty ’11 are running against each other for the seat in the Maine House of Representatives for District 76, which includes Waterville and Oakland. The election will take place on November 2.
The Maine House of Representatives is the lower house of the Maine Legislature. The House consists of 151 members that represent 151 districts across the state. The Legislature has the power to make laws, although they are subject to a veto by the governor. It can also propose constitutional ammendments.
Beck, the democratic incumbent, is currently the youngest member of Maine’s legislature. As a native of Waterville, “I really know local issues,” he said. Beck was elected to the Waterville City Council in his first year at the College and was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2008, during his senior year. “I spent my senior spring taking classes and serving on the legislature,” Beck said.
Boston native, McNulty, is a Republican. “Maine is a very interesting state, in terms of the partisan divide,” McNulty said, and he decided to run against Beck because “the seat has gone uncontested for awhile, and I believe that people need a choice. I thought, why not put my name in the hat.”
“It’s a good thing for voters to have a choice,” Beck agreed. He also believes that the fact that two members of the College’s community are running against each other for public office is a testament to the student body’s interest in politics. From his experience, “Colby students are very engaged,” Beck said.
McNulty describes the College’s student body as “decidedly liberal.” This atmosphere has helped prepare him to work in politics because “being a Republican but knowing the other side of things [has been] essential to working through problems,” McNulty said.
Beck also appreciates that a liberal arts education creates “well-rounded and fair” adults, and “forces a person to look at all sides of an issue and be very thoughtful.”
As a member of the Waterville City Council during his time on the Hill, Beck helped to strengthen the “bridge between the Colby community and the community where I grew up.” Beck has upheld this initiative this past year as State Representative by supporting issues like pesticide control and marriage equality, which are particularly important to students on the Hill. In the upcoming election, Beck is happy to have the endorsement of environmental groups and Equality Maine, a nonpartisan organization that works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Maine.
In addition to voting for a bond package that promoted infrastructure and bond growth in his capacity as State Representative, Beck said he was “especially proud to be a part of” a bill that removed the limits in a Maine-based health insurance company’s policy for people with chronic illnesses. Beck also helped to secure funding for Educare, a childcare development center in Waterville.
If re-elected, “I want to protect community health and mental health services vital to Waterville and Oakland,” Beck said in a recent interview with The Morning Sentinel. He also hopes to address the state’s economic climate—particularly the way the legislature handles the next state budget—as well as focus creating jobs and improving higher education in Maine.
In his time on the Hill, McNulty has been involved with the Colby Republicans, and this past year he helped work on Peter Mills’ gubernatorial campaign. If elected, McNulty hopes to explore opportunities for economic growth in the energy sector by utilizing the state’s many natural resources. He also wants to address the issue of youth flight in Maine and wants to work to keep young people in Maine. “I want to accomplish reforms that will keep jobs and young people in Maine,” McNulty said in his interview with The Morning Sentinel.
Keeping with this sentiment, Beck encourages students on the Hill to become more involved in local politics and, most importantly, to vote in the upcoming election.