Jayne Crosby Giles
Jayne Crosby Giles
Republican Jayne Crosby Giles is running for Maine Senate District 11, which comprises all of the towns in Waldo County. Giles served two terms in the Maine House from 2006 to 2010, first on the powerful Appropriations Committee, which writes the budget, and then on the Business, Research & Economic Development Committee. A community kick-off for the “Jayne for Maine” campaign will be held Wednesday, February 7, at Waldo County Shrine Club from 5 to 7 p.m.

A longtime community banker, Giles previously held the position of vice president for commercial banking at Machias Savings Bank and also held senior roles at Camden National Bank and Key Bank. She was also CEO of MaineStream Finance, a non-profit bank that works with low-income clients in rural communities. For the past year and a half, Giles has run her own consultancy firm, doing development work for businesses and nonprofits.

“This area is special, but I know there’s some challenges here,” said Giles. “We have a poverty rate in Waldo County that’s 14 percent higher than the state. Our median income is lower. We have some affordability issues when it comes to housing. And I just felt the time was right for me to look toward Augusta and really try to tackle some of these issues.”

If elected, Giles says one of her priorities will be to focus on supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs. She said she is concerned that Waldo County is aging and wants to make it easier for elderly people to age in place. She is also supportive of early childhood education and wants to make housing more affordable for young families. Giles says she would like to follow the example of seven other Republican-led states and request federal waivers to make changes to the Medicaid program. She says she doesn’t support Gov. Le-Page’s proposal to mandate work requirements for MaineCare recipients, but would like to see it develop a wellness program to encourage recipients to adopt healthier lifestyles. She said such a plan could also include requiring certain recipients to pay premiums for coverage.

“Those states were able to do something that wasn’t totally what the feds were asking, but they were able to design what the state felt was a more sustainable plan that fit the demographics, the health needs, the ages of the local state,” said Giles. “When you look at something on a very broad-brush national basis, it’s very hard to get all those federal to fit a local state. We’re rural, we’re a Northeastern state, northern climate, older population with specific health needs, and I’d rather see us look into that as a way to make a more affordable approach to this.”

On fighting the opiate epidemic, Giles said she would like to see a balance between supporting law enforcement and drug and mental health treatment programs. She said she is a firm supporter of renewable energy and in forcing the governor to release voter-approved bonds. Giles will likely face Rep. Erin Herbig (D-Belfast) to succeed Senate President Mike Thibodeau, who is term-limited and running for governor.