Abigail St. Valle (left) and April Turner
Abigail St. Valle (left) and April Turner
Democrats Abigail St. Valle of Brooks and April Turner of Freedom are running for House District 99, which comprises the Waldo County towns of Brooks, Burnham, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Monroe, Thorndike, Troy and Unity. The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. MaryAnne Kinney of Knox, who has also filed to run.

Abigail St. Valle said she was raised in a conservative household on a farm in Waldo County, but became more progressive while attending the University of Maine. She has a degree in animal science and previously worked as a veterinary technician, but is working in sales while her husband attends nursing school at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. St. Valle said she became inspired to run for office after working on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“Our largest obstacle [is] money in politics,” said St. Valle. “When our political leaders take money from corporate entities they no longer put the people’s interests at the forefront. ...When I am in the State House, I will be a transparent leader, and only represent my people and put their interests into every decision I make. I am not a career politician and my only interest is helping my community become stable and prosperous, not for my own career self-interest. We need progressive leadership in our State House, and I’m ready to represent my community.”

If elected St. Valle says her priorities will be to provide health care for all, invest in job training programs and fight the opioid epidemic.

Turner did not return calls and an email for comment, but according to her website, she is a social worker, counseling children in crisis. She is currently pursuing a master’s in social work at University of Maine and has worked in the Senate Democratic Office and with the National Association of Social Workers as part of her internships. Turner previously ran for the House seat in 2016 and lost to Kinney by 666 votes. She is married with four children.

“I have a vision for our community and state that provides opportunities for our children and grandchildren to stay here in Maine and for our parents and grandparents to be able to remain in their homes and have a retirement that is fulfilling and free of financial stress,” said Turner in a Facebook post. “I don’t want people to have to make choices about their careers and aspirations based on the insurance package that a company is able to offer.”