Feb. 11 Letters to the Editor

Posted Feb. 10, 2010, at 6:48 p.m.

Misplaced enthusiasm

As I sat through the president’s State of the Union address, I came to the not-so-shocking realization that our elected officials are not really in touch with the wants and needs of the American people.

Our elected leader, for the most part, continued to push his agenda and showed little concern for the wants and needs of the people he is supposed to be representing. There were definitely two separate and distinct sides in the audience. One side sat stone-faced and distant while the other side, every time the speaker stopped to catch his breath, jumped up with glee and gave him a standing ovation.

While I try not to show disrespect for our elected officials, I find it very difficult, because their actions show that regardless of what the people want from them, they blindly follow the leader to only God knows where.

It has always been my impression that once elected to office it is their sworn duty to represent all the people in their district, state or country, not just those in their political party. Wouldn’t it be nice to have our elected officials as enthusiastic to serve our needs as they are to show their support, or displeasure, for the president?

Timothy Smyth

Millinocket

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Small business voice

My wife and I opened a business on Main Street more than five years ago, and in the first three and one-half years of operation we spent $23,500 on health insurance. That includes two years with DirigoChoice where we received a discount, giving us a needed break as we started up.

Then, we had a year of good sales along with a couple of part-time jobs that we took to help pay off some debt — and our premiums doubled! The cost of the insurance premium was higher than our business rent and our mortgage payment combined, and didn’t cover preventive procedures such as mammograms or colonoscopies. We are also making payments to the hospital on our portion of a simple day surgery ($4,200).

I could never raise rates indiscriminately or charge my customers that much money over years and years and give them nothing in return. That would be stealing.

That’s when we had to take a chance and drop our coverage. We went a year without insurance, until one of us could find a job with benefits. My wife got the best offer, so I run the store alone now.

Our senators talk about helping out Main Street; they say small businesses are important to our economy, but health insurance and credit card companies are like sharks chewing at your legs while you’re trying to stay afloat, never mind grow.

I’m with Rep. Chellie Pingree in urging the Senate to approve a public option through reconciliation. We can’t stall on this any longer.

Brian Brissette

Presque Isle

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Home health care

I am writing to ask legislators to increase home care funds. I know the budget is tight right now, but older residents have worked hard to earn the right to stay in their homes.

All my life I have done home health care and I know that older people are more comfortable in familiar surroundings.

I am 69 years old and disabled. I have lived in my home for the last eight years and I have worked hard to stay here.

My house has required a lot of upkeep since my husband died in 2005. Maintaining my home and my finances has required a lot of work. With the help of Elder Independence of Maine funds and home-based care, I have become financially responsible and able to maintain my home.

With the help of funds from my Elder Independence of Maine coordinator, I am able to have a new bathroom on the first floor. I am very proud to say that with home-based care I am independent and contributing to my community.

I urge legislators to vote no on home care cuts. Now is the time to support our seniors with consideration for their feelings and desires. I know also that home care is less expensive than nursing home care.

Please remember what you do now determines how you will be treated in your elder years.

Betty Goodwin

Bangor

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Listen to voters first

Much has been written recently about citizen initiatives, the need for so many and problems and time involved in certifying signatures, etc. If our state legislators, who are supposed to represent us, do their jobs and take the pulse of the people before they submit bills to seemingly further their own interests (while wasting much time and money for everyone), then just maybe there wouldn’t be a need for so many people’s veto referenda.

Case in point: The repeal last fall of Maine’s gay marriage law. Further, looking to the future, I would not be a bit surprised to see the new ill-conceived tax “neutral reform” law also soundly defeated in June.

Joe Bertolaccini

Orrington

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