Caitlin Hills (left) and Janice Dodge
Caitlin Hills (left) and Janice Dodge
Belfast residents Caitlin Hills and Janice Dodge are running for the Democratic nomination for House District 97, which includes the towns of Belfast, Northport and Waldo. Incumbent Erin Herbig is prevented from running again due to term limits and is currently running for state senate. The primary election will be held on June 12 and whoever wins will likely face Republican Bevelyn Beatty of Belfast. 

Hills, who is a professor of business communications for an online school, is also the chairwoman of the RSU 71 school board. She says that after serving on the school board for six years, she has seen firsthand how the state has caused property taxes to go up by flat funding education.

“Currently the state is shirking their responsibility of paying for school funding and they’re just passing that burden onto the municipalities, which raises our property taxes, which then pushes people out of their homes,” said Hills. “I want to create opportunities for our multi-generational communities and provide pathways for seniors to help young people and young people to help seniors so that we can have this winning symbiotic combination.”

Previously Hills was a policy advisor for Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida and later as a lobbyist for nonprofits protecting public lands from extractive industries. She is currently vice chair of the Waldo County Democratic Committee and a member of the Democratic state committee.

Jan Dodge grew up in Belfast and returned to her hometown after a 30-year career as a music teacher. She says her priorities are education funding, promoting legislation that helps older citizens and enactment of voter-approved referendum questions. 

“One of the reasons I am running is because it is quite apparent that there are many legislators who are not respecting the will of the voters,” wrote Dodge in an email. “Referendum Question #2 - Stand Up For Students and Rank Choice Voting are two examples of this. We experienced a state shutdown while legislators haggled over things voters had approved!”