On Rep. Blanchard
As a witness to the events at Cold Stream regarding Rep. Blanchard, I’d like to state some facts. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of the negative comments are from people who were not present and about events that did not occur.
Here are some of the facts: Rep. Blanchard loves his country, his state and his community. He gives back unselfishly. He puts in countless hours for the people of the state, with minimal pay and hours away from his family. He does this for the good of the community.
Family is No. 1 for Rep. Blanchard. Family includes colleagues, neighbors and countless friends, who all know he would give the shirt off his back for anyone. He has been a tremendous role model to his own children and grandchildren. His children lead productive lives and give back to their communities. His grandchildren are all honor students.
Regarding the fireworks incident, Rep. Blanchard stepped forward to defend his grandson who was treated poorly by the fire marshal. He was definitely not intoxicated, just clearly upset due to the treatment of his family. Fireworks are illegal and he knows he made the mistake of allowing them at his camp. He paid the fine and suffered enough from the harsh words from people that don’t know the true facts.
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Re: the Henry Louis Gates “incident”: one small step for the Cambridge Police Department; one giant step backward for American human relations.
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EFCA bill comments
Andre Cushing ‘s comments (“Revised EFCA bill a sham,” BDN OpEd, July 28) regarding the Employee Free Choice Act are precisely on the mark.
Every taxpayer should be more concerned with the mandatory arbitration language the act contains than the organizational process language.
Mandatory arbitration, while resonating well as a way to resolve disagreements, is the vehicle that strips responsibility from management, elected officials and even union leaders.
Negotiations need not occur because an arbitrator will resolve any differences. Every taxpayer should be concerned when one considers the effect it will have resolving issues with unions representing government paid employees. Your elected officials will no longer be responsible for holding labor and benefit expenditures in check. This act abdicates those responsibilities to an arbitrator who, by the way, retains his status as an unbiased arbitrator by always giving equally to both sides.
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Act on health care
I was encouraged to find a column on health care reform in the July 15 BDN. Rep. Mike Michaud spoke about his perception on the future of health care reform here in Maine. I support Michaud’s insight into making health care a public option while addressing issues of long-term accessibility and structure, most importantly to rural states like Maine.
Our nation’s current health care system is the most costly in the world. However many Americans are underinsured or have no insurance at all.
More than 50 percent of people who file for bankruptcy in the United States do so because of health care costs. We don’t have a choice but to make health care reform a priority.
The need for health care reform is indisputable. The lack of providers in the state is a concern as well. The objective is to lower costs while increasing the quality of care provided. We need to focus on comprehensive reform that addresses these key issues by making health care a right while keeping the participation of our pro-viders.
With our current health care system in the state, I see myself paying off my college bills before ever getting out of the debt I have due to health costs. We must make coverage for all happen. It seems expensive now but the long-term effects of not doing so would be far more costly.
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Now, not never
The BDN’s recent editorial on climate change left me disconcerted. For far too long, climate change has been the target of political and social obfuscation, making it possible to delay action in the face of increasingly grim data. At this point, a reasonable person should be suspicious of a hollow debate, which is how I interpreted the BDN editorial.
The anxious hand-wringing that surrounds substantial policy change brings to mind Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which he wrote: “For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ This ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never.’”
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Our senators can help
Sens. Snowe and Collins should review professors Michael Hillard and David Vail’s explanation of the Employee Free Choice Act in the Bangor Daily News. The legislation isn’t about “secret ballots” versus “majority sign-up,” or employer versus employee. It’s really about right versus wrong — anything else is a distraction.
In America, as Hillard and Vail explained, workers have a “basic civil right and economic right to join unions.” But today, companies make it so hard to jump through the hoops necessary that only 7 percent of workers are unionized. Employers routinely, and illegally, fire or threaten employees who support forming a union.
Our current system is unfair and immoral. Thankfully our senators are in position to help correct the problem. Sens. Snowe and Collins should ignore the distractions and scare tactics from opponents of the bill supporting the Employee Free Choice Act when it comes up for a vote in Congress.
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Help the homeless
I am writing to the city of Bangor regarding the increasing population of homeless. It is time to take notice and help our fellow residents.
The homeless shelters in the area are all full to capacity. Men and women are being turned away with no place to go and no food. This is only summer; what will the fall and winter bring? With more jobs lost, more families on the streets, I think it’s time to open more family and emergency shelters.
Working at a shelter myself, I see the increasing number of homeless. It’s hard to turn them away because the shelter is full, or have no answers to their question, “What am I gong to do?”
This can happen to any of us. Many people lost jobs and never dreamed they would be here. Many have mental health issues and don’t know where to go. Many are young people with no homes. This is a serious problem in our neighborhoods. We all have to lend a hand and help during these hard times.
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