Originally published in Compass, February 2, 2012
Blue Hill native seeks Snowe’s Senate seat
by Faith DeAmbrose
With a desire for what he calls sound public policy, and a passion for change, Benjamin Pollard (formerly known here as Justin) believes there is room for improvement at the federal level and that he is the person to lead the state into the 21st century and navigate a myriad of social and economic challenges.
Pollard, a Democrat, has thrown his hat into the ever-widening ring to attain the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Olympia Snowe, who will face some challenges in her own party first.
Raised in Blue Hill, Pollard once held an elected seat on the town’s planning board, was a former news editor of the Castine Patriot, and salutatorian of the George Stevens Academy class of 1990.
Pollard, who now lives in Portland, holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University and a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale’s School of Forestry. He is the owner of Portland-based Pollard Builders, “an ecologically sustainable construction company,” according to its Web site.
For Pollard, changes and reform are needed in national security, economic development, poverty alleviation, education, health care and environmental policy, and the challenges these issues present are key focal points of what Pollard describes as his “grassroots” campaign.
Running as a Democrat, and a self-described “conservative” and “centrist,” Pollard says his ideas often cross party lines, which he believes is not only good for the state, but good for the nation as a whole. He sees the party politics of today as a problem and a hurdle to getting things like the “Super Committee’s” budget cuts, or an increase to the debt ceiling, accomplished. Elected officials of different parties, said Pollard, “are less willing to work together and find common ground. It wasn’t always that way and was not what our Founders intended.”
As a small business owner, Pollard said he has learned what it takes to grow the economy through enterprise and would support policies that promote growth.
He believes federal government should “provide a level playing field for trade,” and reorient its military to address needs closer to home, while also maintaining troops outside of the country. He said “cutting our defense spending drastically sends the wrong message to the world about America’s determination to be the protector of freedom.”
Investments in education (from pre-K to graduate school), keeping health care costs under control, facing climate change, and tax and policy reform are just some of the areas Pollard hopes to tackle if elected to the Senate.
Over the course of the next few months, Pollard will make his views known by writing “policy papers” on the subjects of education, job training, health care reform, environmental policy, poverty alleviation and all other aspects of his platform. He is in the early stages of developing a Web site, Pollard2012.org.
Currently Pollard is working to gather the 2,000 signatures needed by March 12 to get on the ballot. He plans to travel across the state listening to concerns and learning about the issues that affect Mainers, while allowing his ideas about what is best for the state and the country to evolve.
Those interested in learning more about Pollard can call the campaign office at 773-8450 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.