Congressional candidate visits Boothbay, Edgecomb

Tue, 05/21/2024 - 9:15pm

    The 2024 U.S. Congressional District 1 campaign visited the Boothbay region, May 17, as Republican candidate Andrew Piantidosi, 37, of Cape Elizabeth campaigned in Boothbay and Edgecomb.

    Piantidosi has worked for and partnered with Fortune 500 companies tailoring solutions to problems in infrastructure, software and cyber security. He now wants to use that problem-solving know-how as a U.S. Congressman. 

    Piantidosi pointed to problems at the U.S. southern border, the high cost of living and ongoing foreign wars he said jeopardize the American future. “The proper representation is paramount in D.C. (Chellie Pingree) represents a far-left agenda. I’m under no illusions that this won’t be a tough race with a district with 28% Republicans and 40% Democrats,” he said. “But the rest of the district needs representation, too.”

    The recent southern border crisis has begun spilling over into Maine’s First Congressional District. As asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants and refugees increase in numbers, Piantidosi is concerned about the impact of a long-term stay in Maine. “We are just kicking the problem down the road with no real solutions. I couldn’t disagree more with the current policy. If an illegal alien assaults law enforcement, they should be deported. That is not happening. This is being handled as a political matter when it's actually a humanitarian crisis.”

    Piantidosi said he was a strong supporter of Israel.

    Piantidosi’s candidacy is about “working to build the next generation of Maine.” He is married to Elizabeth Piantidosi. The couple married eight years ago and have children Taylor, 6, and Lucy, 4. The future of young families, like his, plays an important role in why he is running. Piantidosi supports school choice. He believes parents should have a greater say in where their children attend school.

    One of his daughters was diagnosed with autism two years ago. He said his family “fought tooth and nail” to keep her in the Cape Elizabeth school system. “They wanted to send her to a school 45 minutes away. We said ‘no.’ It was a struggle, but we did it,” he said.

    His family’s dilemma made him think about how others would handle a similar situation. “It shouldn’t be this difficult for families. I want to make it easier for families to make a living. It shouldn’t be this hard,” he said.

    If elected, Piantidosi would be a first-term congressman replacing a 16-year incumbent in Pingree, of North Haven. He believes his inexperience is a positive. “I don’t know any lobbyists. I haven’t ridden on their planes or had lunch. I’m an outsider,” he said.

    The Piantidosis moved to Maine to raise their daughters. His wife was born in Maine. Andrew Piantidosi studied history and political science at St. Anslem’s College in New Hampshire. “The history of the country is very important to me. My parents grew up poor and worked hard to make something of themselves. The American Dream is important and I want to preserve that,” Piantidosi said. 

    In coastal Maine, the Atlantic right whale debate threatened the future of Maine lobstermen. Piantidosi said he is “100%” behind Maine fishermen. He has worked with a local Portland lobstermen’s group, New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association. He called the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s position that lobstermen harm the Atlantic right whale as “pseudoscience.” He believes this is a fight for all Mainers. “Portland fishermen tell me NOAA affects their lives on a daily basis. It’s classic overreach,” he said. “This is affecting their livelihoods. I’d like NOAA to show where one Maine lobsterman’s line touched the whale recently found off the Virginia coast.”

    He believes environmentalists view lobstering as a “threat” to offshore wind power as their real opposition to lobstering.

    Boothbay Republican Dawn Gilbert guided Piantidosi at stops at the Boothbay municipal building, Dunton’s Doghouse, and Hawke Motors. He also visited Cook’s Landing in Edgecomb.

    Piantidosi is competing against Kennebunk Republican Ron Russell in the June 11 primary.