Monday, February 3, 2020
Jim Bleikamp 0:00
The buzz on Monday morning, first one in February the third.
And Fred Horch is here. A familiar name to a lot of people who live in Brunswick
and just beyond and a name that is going to get re-familiarized this year,
especially if Fred has his way. Right?
Fred Horch 0:19
Right, right. Good morning, Jim. Thanks for having me on.
Jim Bleikamp 0:21
Thanks for coming in. Fred gets here, unlike some guests, who
kind of slide in here with a minute to go. Fred gets here nice and early. He's
well prepared and has all kinds of handouts here. But I want to -- I do want to
take some time to just tell you about who Fred Horch is. He is as we have been
saying on our Facebook page, we mentioned -- we mentioned you coming in here on
the air on Friday and reinforced it last night on Facebook as I told you, we
would do because we like people to know in advance of what's coming. Fred is a
business owner. You say -- and I want to clarify this -- you call yourself a
Fred Horch 1:02
That's right. Yeah.
Jim Bleikamp 1:03
But you are still licensed to practice law?
Fred Horch 1:06
No, my license is inactive.
Jim Bleikamp 1:08
Oh, really? Okay. Okay.
Fred Horch 1:10
I have never practiced law in Maine, actually. I practiced law
in North Carolina.
Jim Bleikamp 1:13
Oh, okay. But you are legally trained?
Fred Horch 1:16
Yes, I have a law degree. I passed the bar. I practiced as a
Jim Bleikamp 1:20
We wouldn't want anybody to think you're disbarred or
anything like that. It was a life decision that you made.
Fred Horch 1:26
Jim Bleikamp 1:27
Okay. Okay. And after a short legal career, in which he
helped other people run their businesses, Fred decided he wanted to grow his own
businesses here in Maine. Founder and co-owner of Spark Applied Efficiency, what
you call a progressive mechanical contracting company, serving commercial
clients on the mid coast in the Greater Portland area. Some people, Fred, might
wonder what exactly is a "progressive" mechanical contracting company and how
they're different from any other mechanical contracting, right?
Fred Horch 2:05
Well, I have two other owners and on Friday my partner Pat Coon
sprung that phrase on me, so I'm still getting my mind around it. But what we do
is we help people save money by lowering their energy bills. Gil here at
Frontier is one of our clients. Bob Garver at Wicked Joe's another one. So, you
know, everybody who is in mechanical contracting tries to do their best to save
their clients money. But I think we go a step beyond that. We think in terms of
-- I mean -- our total focus is efficiency. So I think that's what we're trying
to explain to folks is, why hire us. There's a lot of other companies out there
doing the same thing, but we've been at it for quite a while and we really have
some really great ways to help people save energy.
Jim Bleikamp 2:51
Fred has also been community active as a Rotarian. Also
serving on the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program board. And you say you were a
Master Gardener volunteer? What exactly is that?
Fred Horch 3:04
Right. The Master Gardener volunteer program is through the
Cooperative Extension. It's a fantastic program. So anyone who's interested in
gardening, I highly recommend you check it out. It involves about a semester's
worth of classroom and field work. So you -- you really get to learn a lot about
horticulture and you get to practice things like going out and pruning apple
trees -- and you get trained by the Cooperative Extension people and other
expert gardeners. And then as a sort of payback for that you -- it costs a
nominal amount -- you volunteer in your community. So you give back. You share
your knowledge. And what I'm doing is I'm helping the high school garden.
There's a Brunswick Dragon garden and John Riggleman there at the high school
and Kim Bolshaw here in town and then a whole bunch of kids over the summer. So
that's my volunteer gig and I love it. We get out there. We grow healthy food
for the community. And it's just a really nice way to feel like you're making a
Jim Bleikamp 4:07
And it's a dragon garden as opposed to a chickadee garden or
a bumblebee garden.
Fred Horch 4:12
I'm not gonna -- I'm not gonna get involved in that. [Laughs]
Jim Bleikamp 4:15
That's a good one to stay out of, probably.
Fred Horch 4:17
Jim Bleikamp 4:17
Okay. Fred is here as we have been mentioning because he is
running for the Maine House seat in the 49th district. That's roughly half of
Brunswick. An open seat for the first time in eight years. It has been occupied
for the last eight years by Mattie Daughtry who has served four terms, who is
now "termed out" as they say. The state term limits law would not allow her to
run again. But if you asked her she would probably tell you that's okay. Because
she's running for the State Senate. Fred, you ran for this seat as a Green
Independent as I recall eight years ago.
Fred Horch 4:53
That's correct. Yeah.
Jim Bleikamp 4:54
And you are back. So you, you have a longtime interest --
fair to say -- in this seat and in the Maine House, right?
Fred Horch 5:02
Yeah, I'm a political science major from my undergraduate days.
So I've been thinking about law for a long time. I went to law school. I
practiced law. It's kind of interesting to find myself running for office
because when I was in law school, that was the one career I ruled out. I met a
lot of people, you know, in their 20s that wanted to be politicians, and
honestly, they they pretty much turned me off. I'm like, wow, that's awfully,
um... For me. I just felt like I wasn't ready when I was 20. I knew how little I
knew. But I wanted to learn. And so I've been, you know, I've been going up to
Augusta for 20 years testifying. I -- I study. I really am passionate about the
issues. I served on Midcoast Hunger Prevention, because I see so many folks who
are struggling in our society. It really breaks my heart that we're the richest
country and we -- we just can't seem to organize ourselves politically. So I
just -- I just can't stay away at this point. I feel like I finally I know
enough. And I have some skills that I think would be very helpful in the
Jim Bleikamp 6:06
Okay. Here's -- here's the bottom line. This may be the
critical question, critical issue. I hear what I'm about to express, in general,
over and over again. And I suspect you've heard some of this. I hear again and
again. Fred, I think you're pretty well liked, pretty well received on a very
broad basis in this community. I hear it again. Everybody says, Fred is very
bright. He's accomplished. Very nice guy. But why why why does he insist on
running on the Green Independent line, a fringe party, rather than the
Democratic Party, which would welcome you and which would -- and I think you
might even agree with this -- provide you with the -- with the -- with greater
resources, and of course, just a more powerful image with which to win this
Fred Horch 6:54
Right. Uh, I think it really boils down to one word, and that's
integrity. And uh, you know, Green Independent? What does that mean? So,
Jim Bleikamp 7:04
Yeah, what does it mean?
Fred Horch 7:05
... means good for the planet. You know, so... I opened a green
store in town. I, uh -- I am a Green. I -- I think -- I think protecting our
environment is something that everyone that I've talked to thinks is important.
So I think that's a great place to start. And in politics, it would be really
nice to start somewhere where you can get common agreement. So I think green --
I hear what you're saying, that people, um, politically assume that's fringe. But
really -- I've got blisters -- I've been knocking on doors all weekend. I've
been doing this since January. And I talked a lot of people and I've never met
anybody who thinks protecting the environment is a fringe position. So I think
green, really, politically -- especially in Maine -- is not fringe at all.
Jim Bleikamp 7:49
I certainly agree with you that pro environmental positions,
as you say, especially in Maine, are winners across the board. Yet, Fred, why is
it that year after year after year, this party that calls itself the Green
Independent party, just does not gain a foothold.
Fred Horch 8:08
Well, it's because of your first question to me. Unfortunately,
people have the idea that you really can't choose your political party. That you
-- you have to be a Democrat in Brunswick to win. I brought some numbers for
you, Jim, to show you. I don't think that's true. This is the voter
registration. Most people in my district -- district 49 -- are not Democrats. I
think that's a shock to people. I know it's a shock to Poppy. I was talking to
her over the weekend. Poppy's filed paperwork. Here's the list of of declared
candidates who have taken out papers. So there are two Democrats in the race and
Poppy Arford is one of them. And she was saying, "I went down my street and I
was surprised that so many people are independent." And that's the second part.
I'm a Green Independent. And you know, people are confused about the independent
part, too. Basically that means that I want to -- I want my own choice. I don't
-- I don't want to have somebody tell me, "Hey, Fred, I don't care what you
believe, who you think you are, what you think you're doing, you have to be a
Democrat." I just don't think that's good for democracy. And so that, you know,
integrity is really the main reason I'm Green and I'm staying with it. But I
also think there's a philosophical reason. I think you really need to stand up
for what you believe. You need to decide what you believe, and then fight for
it. And so, you know, I just really feel like it would not be the right thing
for me to -- for political expediency -- and Jim, I don't disagree one minute. I
think it would be so much easier to run as a Democrat. But I also am not sure
that's really the best thing for Brunswick or for me, either. Because I needed
to get 25 signatures to get on the ballot. And I've done that. And it took me
two weekends of hard work. But If I were a Democrat, I could throw a house
party, invite some friends over. Never talk to people outside my friend group.
Never get outside that echo chamber. You know, my wife's a professor at Bowdoin
College, and there's lots of Democrats at Bowdoin College. So it's really -- it
would be -- I think it would be a disservice to Brunswick and to me to just try
to go the easy route. And I also think you fool yourself when you think, Oh, I'm
really working hard as a Democrat in this town. I don't think so. Because you
just can cruise. I also brought some numbers.
Jim Bleikamp 10:35
I want to say I gotta move on here.
Fred Horch 10:37
Jim Bleikamp 10:38
But -- I will -- I want to say just for myself, I have not
checked lately on independent registration in Brunswick. I don't really doubt
what you're saying. It is true. In most corners of this nation, the single
largest voting bloc, it's independent.
Fred Horch 10:53
Jim Bleikamp 10:53
It's also true that is a party in Brunswick the Dems hold
the registration lead, I think pretty widely over -- well, any other party --
and especially in the 49th district.
Fred Horch 11:04
Well that's why I brought the numbers. So, yeah, right, great.
Jim Bleikamp 11:06
Okay. Let me let me go take your just a one step further
down this road...
Fred Horch 11:11
Jim Bleikamp 11:11
...then move on to some other things. Isn't the argument that some people, in
fact, Fred, some people who are very friendly to you and your candidacy -- and
you've heard this -- isn't the argument that you should run as a Democrat
strengthened this year, uh, by the fact that this is an election year in which
the single biggest issue, for so many Dems and so many progressives -- I saw
some polling that NBC and the Wall Street Journal did the other day in Iowa --
and I would assume that much is the same is true here. They put up all kinds of
issues before Democratic Progressive voters, and the biggest issue far and away
is get rid of Donald Trump. With -- with Trump so unpopular among Dems and
progressives, everybody saying their top priority is to, uh, get rid of him. Uh,
you do that with a wide and well populated Democratic Party. You don't do that
with fringe progressive parties dividing progressive voters, which may have been
a factor in Hillary losing in 2016. Right?
Fred Horch 12:18
Wow. That's an interesting perspective.
Jim Bleikamp 12:22
Well, it's pretty commonly held, isn't it?
Fred Horch 12:23
Uh, well, again, I -- I've been knocking on doors since the
beginning of January and talking to voters in the district. And uh, you know,
maybe people are just being nice to me, but, um, you know, I bring my resume,
and I say, this is what I want to do for you. And nobody has ever suggested that
me running for office is going to help Donald Trump win. I just can't see how
you'd make that connection.
Jim Bleikamp 12:51
Fred Horch 12:51
Maybe -- maybe you can elaborate.
Jim Bleikamp 12:52
Fred Horch 12:53
Like, if -- if I thought that I was helping Donald Trump win
election in any way I would -- I'd drop out. But I just -- it seems like I'm --
I'm not. I just I'm having a hard time making -- er, following you on that.
Jim Bleikamp 13:05
I'm talking about you becoming a part of a broad-based
organized coalition aimed at defeating Trump...
Fred Horch 13:13
Oh, well, I am!
Jim Bleikamp 13:13
... the Democratic Party. But...
Fred Horch 13:15
Well, okay. Okay, maybe -- sorry to cut you off there, but...
Jim Bleikamp 13:18
No, that's all right.
Fred Horch 13:19
But, you know, you don't have to -- I feel like politics for
me is more about friendship than about marriage. Like, I can be friends with the
Democratic Party, and I can be friends with the Green Party, and that's okay. I
can, you know, I -- it's not like because I'm a Green I'm working against the
Democrats. That's -- that's not the case. And in fact, I worry -- I guess maybe
you're hitting on something that -- that really is part of the dysfunction in
our country. Is the idea that really the only way to make progress is to join
the Democrats. That -- I am having a hard time following you there and -- and I
also -- I don't think that's widely held outside of the Democratic Party. There
may be people -- as you're saying, who are, who are part of that political
culture, who, who really -- I have talked to some Democrats who basically have
said, You know, I, we wish you could -- we could support you, but we're on Team
Democrat. They're paid by the Democrats. I mean, that makes sense. That's where
they get their paycheck.
Jim Bleikamp 14:22
Understand that I'm not here this morning as a
representative of the establishment. I'm just challenging your rationale for
doing what you're doing. And the other thing, Fred and I -- I really didn't want
to spend, you know, too much, too much time...
Fred Horch 14:35
Jim Bleikamp 14:35
... on just the politics of all this. But, um, I do want to
ask you, how is this campaign, this year going to be different from 2012 when
you did that, and it didn't work?
Fred Horch 14:44
Right. Yeah. Well, really the first time I ran, I ran against
an incumbent Democrat and I knew some things... I talked to him about -- about
climate change and realized that boy, it was -- he was not where we needed to be
on that issue. He, I mean, he said everything great, but when I really pushed
him on, I'm like, What are you doing? And he just didn't know. So the first time
Jim Bleikamp 15:08
It was at a time when climate change was, I would say,
significantly lower profile issue than it is now.
Fred Horch 15:15
Right, and he was -- he was presented by the Democrats as
their point -- point person -- I forget what he called himself but he -- he was
the expert. He was the one who was supposed to be leading the whole effort in
the legislature and I didn't think he was doing a good job. I had no -- again I,
from -- since law school, I'm like, I'm not a politician. And -- and I ran as a
Green. Also because a wonderful man named Bob Dale kept coming into my store
week after week, and -- and just -- he was such an inspiration. I -- when he
asked me to run, I couldn't say no. I had no expectation of winning. Uh, people
at Bowdoin who study this thing said you, you'll have no chance of winning. And
I almost won. I almost defeated an incumbent Democrat. So that just shows you
that you can win. And then the next year, we were in sabbatical, in Japan, and
-- and the same person -- he was -- the person won and he was still in office
but then a scandal erupted and he had to abruptly resign and then there was a
scramble to get, uh, you know replacement candidates and I had just come back
Jim Bleikamp 16:14
Mattie Daughtry became the replacement.
Fred Horch 16:16
Right, so with -- with no chance to really plan a campaign --
and then I did very well in that campaign, too, with -- with again, like, as you
say, no resources and no chance to plan so this is a completely different
situation. It's an open seat, and I've been working my my butt off really. I
really want to win. And I do think I can. We've got a good strategy. It's really
-- it's a very small district and I can literally knock on every single door and
meet people. So that's -- that's the strategy.
Jim Bleikamp 16:42
We need a, uh, we need a, uh, a short break here and I'm
going to come back in about two minutes with Fred Horch who is a Green
Independent candidate for the Maine legislature Maine House seat in Brunswick
district 49 on WCME. It is about three and a half minutes till eight Midcoast
Morning Buzz on Monday, February 3rd. Jim Bleikamp here with Fred Horch next to
me. He is the Green Independent candidate running for the Maine House in
Brunswick's district 49, which is effectively about half of the town of
Brunswick, now represented by Mattie Daughtry, and Fred will be staying through
the eight o'clock news. We'll talk further with him next hour because I recall
that I did the same a week ago today with Kathy Wilson, and we're very fair
here. We are nothing, if not fair. So now that I have broached the name of Kathy
Wilson, who so far is the only Democrat announced in this race. How are you
going to be a different kind of state rep than Kathy would?
Fred Horch 17:52
Well, I think it's a great contrast. Kathy's got a fantastic
background and I like Kathy very much. I'll tell you that I really am going to
focus on myself and not talking about other candidates. So if you don't mind,
I'll tell you what's -- what I think I bring to the table and people can look at
Kathy and see -- see for themselves what she brings. So, again, I've been up
testifying in committee hearings for about 20 years now. And I would really like
to be on the energy, utilities and technology committee. I was a summer law
clerk for Pacific Gas and Electric out in California while I was in law school.
I was a project coordinator for Maine Interfaith Power and Light, which was
selling green electricity across Maine. I have had a sustainable living store
helping individual people manage their energy bills, and now I'm running a
company that helps commercial clients manage energy bills. So I've got a lot of
experience, a lot of interest in clean energy. And so I think that's a strength
and if I am elected, that would be one of the three committees that I would ask
to be put on. And as you know, the Speaker of the House, decides how they want
to use the talent in the legislature. And everyone gets on a committee. So even
if I'm a Green Independent, it's not like I'm gonna be sitting in a corner by
myself. They'll put me on some committee. And so I -- I think that would be a
great use of my skills and talent.
Jim Bleikamp 19:19
But there again, fair to say that if you were elected as a
Democrat and the Speaker of the House is a Democrat, as is likely, you would
have more leverage in getting the committee assignment of your choice, likely.
Fred Horch 19:33
You know, that's -- that's a really interesting question. And,
um, it's hard to say. I've heard both sides of that. Some people say yeah,
people do play sort of petty politics with that. And other people say no, the
speaker really tries to do what's best for Maine. And so I think it depends...
Jim Bleikamp 19:51
Or her best.
Fred Horch 19:52
Her best, sorry. Sorry. I really, really it's been her, right.
Jim Bleikamp 19:55
We're gonna we're gonna have a new speaker.
Fred Horch 19:58
We will have a new speaker, right. Yeah.
Jim Bleikamp 20:00
Okay. Fred Horch, certainly sounds like the environment and
we would assume this from the name of the party under whose manner you're
running and all you've said -- the environment in general is your top issue,
Fred Horch 20:17
Actually, you might be surprised. My top issue is good
Jim Bleikamp 20:21
Well, that's very broad based.
Fred Horch 20:23
Right and I have specific examples I'd love to share, about
what I think the government should do better.
Jim Bleikamp 20:28
You may share that. That's a great tease for our next hour
which we're about to enter. Fred as I mentioned a moment ago will be staying
with us just as his opponent Kathy Wilson did a week ago. We'll talk further
with, uh, Fred Horch who's a Green Independent candidate for the Maine House
from Brunswick. For now, it is eight o'clock at WCME.
WCME Announcer 20:53
Live from historic Fort Andross in downtown Brunswick.
Your way to wake up on the midcoast. The Midcoast Morning Buzz WCME.
Jim Bleikamp 21:00
8:12 twelve past eight, uh, spending a bit more time with
the one of two announced candidates. So -- so far and there may be a third.
There could be more -- the registration deadline is not until March...
Fred Horch 21:14
Jim Bleikamp 21:15
...yeah, so there is a ways to go. But we're trying to get
these candidates in here as much as possible as we become aware of them. And
Fred Horch is here this morning. He is the Green Independent party candidate for
the Maine House seat in District 49, which is half of, uh, Brunswick, now
represented by Mattie Daughtry who is moving on seeking a senate seat. Just
briefly, uh, reintroduce, uh, Fred Horch, because Fred, you are a new voice to
people who were not even close to having their radios on just a few minutes ago,
because that's how it goes at this time of morning.
Fred Horch 21:55
Jim Bleikamp 21:55
You know the drill. Fred is a business owner, a former
attorney, he is co founder, co owner of Spark Applied Efficiency, which as he
explained last hour is a progressive mechanical contracting company serving
commercial clients along the mid coast and Greater Portland. He is a Rotarian.
He has served on the board of Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program. He is a master
gardener volunteer. He, I believe, agreed with my impression a few moments ago
that energy and environmental issues will be very big for you, given your
affiliation, especially with the Green Independent party, which essentially has
environment in its name, but you tell me that actually good government issues,
which Fred you must agree as spans a pretty broad base, conceivably, but you say
you have one particular issue on which you want to be active.
Fred Horch 22:54
I do. So I'm an "efficiency first" Green. If our state
government's gonna do something it should do it well. And I've been talking to
our town counselors and school board members about what's the one thing that
they wish our legislator would do for them, and it is bring the money. So our
state had a referendum. We agreed as a -- as a state that the state government
would fund 55% of the cost of education. And we haven't been doing it. And so my
top priority is to change the way the state does its budget. I realize it's not
up to me. The House and the governor work together. But the best idea I've heard
is to prioritize that. LD one, the first bill every session should be to
allocate that 55%. Get that through, get it to the local towns. That would make
everyone in Maine better off because we would run our government more
efficiently. And I don't know if I have time to elaborate, Jim, but I can tell
you why that's important.
Jim Bleikamp 23:52
Yeah, go ahead.
Fred Horch 23:53
Yeah. So if you've ever paid property taxes, you know that
they go up every year and a huge chunk of it -- I think probably more than half
-- is to pay for education. And the way the state does is budget now -- and I
understand this, the legislators don't want to be, um, you know, have their
hands tied, they basically do, er -- put education with everything else. And
then at the end of it, Oh, geez, we didn't have the money for 55%. And the idea,
which I support, and I'll work hard with other folks to make happen, is no,
let's -- let's prioritize education. We had the referendum. We know what the
number is. 55%. So we should calculate that first off, and we should set it
aside. I think of it kind of like when you're saving for retirement. If you pay
all your bills, and then at the end of the day, try to save for retirement,
you'll never have anything left. But if the first thing you do is set aside a
chunk for retirement, then you'll make sure that happens and then the rest of
your budget, you'll figure it out. And I think that's the way the state should
approach this issue. I think it'll make us more efficient as a government. And
really in order to keep taxes low -- and provide services -- that's what we need
to do. Make state government more efficient.
Jim Bleikamp 25:04
While you're saying that you're going to be more efficient,
you're also a saying in the course of that statement that you're going to be a
strong and heavy advocate for education -- for public education.
Fred Horch 25:14
Yes, I, we -- we have three kids that have gone through public
school here. My oldest is in college now. My middle child is heading to Bowdoin
to play soccer there. We've, we've -- we have great schools and Brunswick and
we've -- we've benefited. I believe that great schools benefit everyone in
Maine. And I think, again, the trick is how do we fund the school efficiently so
we're not wasting time and energy. And so that's just one good government --that
55% idea is my -- is one of many ideas I'd like to bring to Augusta.
Jim Bleikamp 25:42
Well, let me give you a specific for instance and ask you
what you would have done, how you would have gone. As you know, I'm sure, last
spring we had a vigorous intensive school budget debate here in Brunswick,
spread out over several weeks and it got pretty emotional, as it seems to do
every year. And, in the end, your opponent, your prospective opponent, Kathy
Wilson, who calls herself a strong advocate of the schools -- and she went
through Brunswick schools -- and she says she's fully supportive of Governor
Mills rather expansive educational agenda -- at the same time, she pulled back
on the school board's budget proposal, as did, in fairness, as did the majority
of the council, eventually. Would you have supported in full the school board's
budget proposal last spring?
Fred Horch 26:38
You know what, I was actually in South America with my family
on sabbatical, so I didn't follow local politics and in general, I understand
there's so many pressures. So I don't know what what went on with that vote. I
will tell you that as a legislator, I -- the job will be how to spend a state
budget. And I know that for sure, education -- that 55% -- is a state
referendum. We've -- we've asked the entire state to weigh in. And so as far as
the 55%, not only will I make sure it happens, but I will do everything I can to
find a way to make it happen efficiently. Again, I think everyone I've talked to
is like, Oh, I believe in it. But I just haven't seen that practical sense of
how to get things done. And that's what I bring to Augusta.
Jim Bleikamp 26:42
Fred, I would just humbly make one suggestion...
Fred Horch 26:42
Jim Bleikamp 26:42
...that you really, uh, find out about the details of that,
uh, budget debate because I think it's gonna come up. I think you're going to be
asked about that, because I know, you say that you're not big on attacking your
opponent. But ultimately, I mean, people who are voting are going to draw
contrasts among the candidates. I mean, that's what...
Fred Horch 27:53
Well Jim, could I respond quickly to that?
Jim Bleikamp 27:54
Fred Horch 27:55
I honestly think that it's -- that's the job of the voter. I
can tell you what I'll do. I really don't want to go attacking someone else...
Jim Bleikamp 28:02
Yeah, but I think...
Fred Horch 28:02
... for their vote.
Jim Bleikamp 28:04
Yeah, but they're gonna want to know what you would have
done had you been in a position of voting on that school budget, uh, last
spring, because that's really where the rubber hits the road. And that's where
people get an idea. You say -- I mean everybody says they're committed to
education, but it is votes like that, uh, you know, where -- where -- where
politicians weigh in, in very specific form.
Fred Horch 28:29
I -- that's -- that's a fair point. And I'll just say that I'm
running for state rep for a reason and not for town council and not for school
board. I think town counselors and school board people are put in a horrible
position, because our state legislature is not doing its job. And that is why --
I've been asked to run for town council and school board many, many times. And
I've always said, Look, if the system at the state level is so messed up, it
puts all the town councillors and all this school board members in a terrible
position. And I don't want to be put in that position myself. I really respect
people who run for town council and serve. And I hundred percent understand what
you're saying but I am not going to attack anyone who serves on our town
council. I think they deserve our our thanks and appreciation. On the same time,
I am criticizing people in state government. And I've run for office. I think
it's legitimate if I'm going to criticize someone for how I don't think they're
doing their job well, you sure as well better be able and willing to do it
better. And that's -- that's another reason I'm running. I've been very critical
of our state reps and I will continue to be so until you let me do it. Because I
just think the job can be done better.
Jim Bleikamp 29:41
Okay. And with that thought in mind, we will come back after
a short break and talk about state -- state issues!
Fred Horch 29:47
[Chuckles] Thank you.
Jim Bleikamp 29:48
Because -- and I think you're well taken on, uh, on most of
what you're saying. I don't know if I can concede it all. Maybe most of it.
Fred Horch 29:56
Jim Bleikamp 29:57
8:21. Fred Horch, Green Independent candidate for the
legislature in Brunswick is here.
WCME Announcer 30:03
As much a part of the midcoast as Popham Beach and
Jim Bleikamp 30:08
8:24. Twenty four past eight. The buzz on Monday morning
with Fred Horch here, Green Independent party candidate for the Maine House from
Brunswick. So Fred, you haven't exactly fallen in love with every question I've
asked here this morning, but I've tried to make them both fair and topical. I
know you don't like to attack anyone but I am going to ask you because I think
it's important to ask you, how would you be a different -- I'm not even say
necessarily a better, but a different kind of state representative than the
woman who you seek to replace, Mattie Daughtry, who you opposed, uh, back in
Fred Horch 30:47
Right. I think the big difference between Mattie and me is our
life situation. I've got a family. I've got business. I've got a law degree.
Jim Bleikamp 30:55
She has a business.
Fred Horch 30:57
Right, right, um. Let me rephrase that. I have -- I have
worked for other people to help them start their businesses and I've been in
business for, you know, decades. And I understand she has a brewery. In fact,
I'm knocking on her door soon to see if she could hire us to run her business
but, but when we ran against each other, I took that to be your question. She
didn't have a business at that point, really. I mean, she -- she was just
getting started with her, uh -- her career. So, you know, I'm a mid career
person and so that's how I was different then than Mattie. And, you know, like
the difference everyone can see is that Kathy is at a different stage of her
life. So, I think it's a great contrast and I, I really like having choice as a
voter and I hope people appreciate having choice. And Jim, I just want to
mention as a fellow business owner, I really admire what you've done here. This
radio station is fantastic and watching you operate your board. It's just --
it's -- it's not a job that I would want to do and you do it very well.
Jim Bleikamp 32:02
I want to say -- and I appreciate that -- looks harder than
it is, Fred. You -- I know that I could show you how to do this. You could be --
you would be amazed at how well you would quickly do on this. I, really.
Fred Horch 32:16
If your guests -- if people haven't been here before, it's --
he's got a lot of things going on here at once. And he's asking some great
questions and just multitasking like -- like no one's business. So keep going,
Jim Bleikamp 32:27
I do appreciate that very much. What kind of a grade would
you give to Governor Mills so far? She's been in office for a year now. We've
gotten a sense of who she is and what she's like.
Fred Horch 32:38
Right. Well, the thing that I just love about Governor Mills
is just her approach to working with other people. That is just such a
refreshing change from our previous governor. So, top marks for that. I really
do think that she's willing to work with Republicans and consider ideas that --
that may be are more conservative. And I know some people in the Democratic
Party don't think that's a good idea. But I like that. I like the idea of being
open to different parties. And of course, her stance on climate change has been
fantastic. I think she's being serious about it. I mean, she spoke to the UN as
a governor. So, I think she's just been a wonderful governor, for Maine. I think
she represents us very well, globally, which is really important to Maine. We're
in a global economy and to have our chief executive be someone that other people
respect, I just think it really is good for Maine.
Jim Bleikamp 33:32
The question that I am bound and determined to ask every
legislative candidate this year and I think given your affiliation with the
Green Independent party, I can pretty much anticipate the answer: Central Maine
power transmission line.
Fred Horch 33:48
You know, that's -- that's interesting. So the issue is -- is
--and we've been trying to do this for a long time -- is connecting the Canadian
grid to the New England grid. And the proposal is to connect it in Lewiston so
basically power from Canada would be delivered to Lewiston. It would power Maine
and all of New England. And Massachusetts would pay a large portion of it.
That's a good idea. And I do support connecting the grids and bringing in
hydropower, because I think it will lower costs for Maine. I did reach out to
Brownie Carson to get educated on this issue. And he does not support this
proposal. And he gave me some really good reasons why not. I have reached out to
folks on the other side saying why -- I think Governor Mills is office is on the
camp that says we think this is the best deal we can get. And it might go to
referendum. My question to Brownie was what's...
Jim Bleikamp 34:43
By the way we should know today. And I would expect an
announcement today that -- all the indications are there will be an announcement
from the coalition of opponents today -- that they have secured sufficient
signatures to put it on the ballot.
Fred Horch 34:58
Right. So the question I had to Brownie was, if I'm elected,
what will my responsibility be? Will I have a chance to make a decision on this?
And again, thinking efficiency first, I don't want to be speculating on things
that aren't my job. I -- there's plenty to do as a legislator. So the question I
had to Brownie was, what is the Maine House gonna do? Do we have a role to play?
I was talking to a town counselor about this. And he said, Well, there's all
these ordinances that people want to pass that are completely unenforceable. And
there's a whole bunch of legislation that people like to pass in the House,
which are completely useless. And I'm sorry, but I just don't have time for it.
If there's an issue with the CMP corridor that I will have to make the decision
about, you can be assured that I will do the research, and I will do what I
think lowers energy costs and protects our environment. Right now, it's not
clear to me that I will have that responsibility, but -- but I'm definitely
following the issue very closely.
Jim Bleikamp 35:59
Fred Horch. Green Independent party candidate for the Maine
House District 49 in Brunswick. Our time this time has elapsed. I really want to
thank you for coming in here.
Fred Horch 36:10
And thank you, Jim.
Jim Bleikamp 36:11
And even though I challenged you on your reluctance, refusal
so far to join the Democratic Party, I do because that's my job. I do want to
say that I enjoy having a non Democrat, non Republican in here for a change. I
think a multiplicity of parties is very healthy. And I'm glad we're talking as I
say to someone other than a -- a Dem, Republican or independent, and in Maine,
it's almost like independent on any level is almost like the new major party in
some respects. I mean, we have an independent senator after all. You are a Green
Independent, which is a little bit more of a ...
Fred Horch 36:52
Right. I think of it as a flavor of independent.
Jim Bleikamp 36:54
Fred Horch 36:55
You know, I mean, people push back and say, Oh, you're a party
person. It's like nah, I know a lot about the Green Party. It's -- I'm really an
independent. I'm a Green Independent.
Jim Bleikamp 37:03
A defined flavor.
Fred Horch 37:05
Jim Bleikamp 37:05
Very, very well put.
Fred Horch 37:06
Jim Bleikamp 37:06
Fred Horch, we will continue to follow this campaign. It is
a top priority. I'm glad that, uh, unlike so many legislative races -- at least
a number of them -- there is more than one candidate already. It's very healthy.
We'll talk to you further.
Fred Horch 37:23
Great, thanks Jim.
Jim Bleikamp 37:23
Thanks for coming in. Fred Horch. It's 8:32 now, uh, WCME on
a very busy buzz on Monday, February 3rd. As Fred was correctly observing, so
busy, in fact that we're going to extend the program today.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai