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Wednesday, April 18, 2012: Mitt Romney, dental access and ALEC


Sketchy Mitt


One of Mitt Romney’s senior advisors suggested that when Romney becomes the candidate they can just shake up the Etch A Sketch and come up with a more focused and likeable candidate. Don’t be too quick to take him at his word. Mitt might morph into someone more accurately described as “Etch A Sketchy.”

Webster’s definition of sketchy: “roughly outlined, wanting in completeness, clearness or substance.”

If this is the best we can offer, this Republican thinks Charlie Webster should be less worried about preventing people from voting and more worried about holding on to voters from his own party.

Chris Young


Dental fix is sensible

I recently watched an episode of MaineWatch on MPBN that featured a segment on a new type of midlevel dental practitioner that a lot of health leaders see as a way to improve access to dental care. Although it seemed like a small and reasonable way to test this approach, a spokesman for the Maine Dental Association dismissed the idea.

Why does the Maine Dental Association oppose giving this approach a try? Better yet, why is it disputing that there is a problem with dental access in the first place? Although many statistics were thrown around during the show, it takes a single trip to rural Maine, where I’m from, to understand the seriousness of the dental access shortage in this state.

Has the Maine Dental Association been outside Portland or Bangor?

Judy Canney


Speak your mind

As a long-term resident of Maine, I am deeply concerned with many issues that affect our older residents. At 84 years old, I am on a very limited income and worry about what would happen if I didn’t have Social Security and Medicare.

It was awful last summer to watch as my benefits were debated again and again while Congress tried to figure out how to balance the nation’s budget. Social Security didn’t contribute to any debt problems of this country, so I really don’t believe that those benefits should be considered an appropriate cut to make.

What was really troubling, though, was that all of the deals and discussions going on were happening in a way that was not transparent. I worked all my life for my benefits. Without them, I would not be able to make ends meet. I did my best to save while I was working, but everything is so much more expensive now than it was then.

I’m excited to finally have a way to voice my own opinion on Social Security and Medicare. I filled out my AARP “You’ve Earned a Say” questionnaire and it’s nice to know they are listening. Anyone who receives these benefits should have a lot to say! I think we all have the right to speak our minds, especially in such an important election year.

Margie Higgins


King for Senate

I have been an active Democrat for years; yet I now enthusiastically support Angus King in his independent candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

The polarization along party lines in the U.S. Senate and Congress is no longer tolerable. Angus King has pledged that his sole guide in reaching policy decisions will be the best interests of the people of Maine. During his terms as our governor, Angus proved that he can work effectively with people regardless of political affiliation, and I believe that he will be an effective advocate for us in the Senate.

Until we return to the time when our elected officials supported positions based on the public good rather than party loyalty, we need Angus King as our U.S. senator. I am sure that both the Democratic and Republican parties will nominate capable people to seek the Senate seat. However, I am equally sure that these candidates will succumb to the crushing pressure to follow the party line and perpetuate the gridlock that has frustrated the legislative process in Washington. We can’t afford to put these people in the Congress.

Angus is a man of high integrity, wide intellect and strong character, and I trust his judgment. That’s why I am supporting this highly qualified independent candidate for U.S. Senate.

Daniel E. Harris



DHHS and state budget

House candidate and former Rep. Lisa Miller’s column (BDN, April 9) illustrates an ideological position that chooses to ignore our recent history concerning MaineCare, the Department of Health and Human Services and the state budget.

In 2004, when former Rep. Miller first ran for office, MaineCare enrollment stood at around 260,000 members. Since that time, we have gained another 100,000 members, bringing us to one of the highest Medicaid enrollment percentages in the country.

A full 49 percent of all state spending, besides transportation, now goes to the DHHS. Unsustainable is not the word. Suicidal is more like it. The taxpayers of this poor state simply cannot afford this continued expansion of this very expensive program.

The problems with MaineCare and the DHHS have been growing and festering for a long time. Candidate Miller should know this.

I can agree with candidate Miller on better cost containment programs. Republicans have been advocating more accountability in all facets of the program for decades. Democrats seem to have been satisfied with simply pouring more money into it, including hundreds of millions of Obama “stimulus” money.

Mrs. Miller also argues that MaineCare is somehow not a welfare program. Yes, Mrs. Miller, it is and in every sense of the word. One must fall below a certain income guideline before being assisted with their free, government-supplied health care. They are not required to pay a cent either before or after they receive their benefits.

Donna Carlton


Community Teach

ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has been called the poster child for the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics. ALEC is an octopuslike, shadowy network backed by corporations such as Koch Industries, Exxon-Mobil and big pharmaceutical companies to further their special interests. ALEC crafts “model legislation” that it distributes to state legislators to introduce — in areas from undermining voters’ and workers’ rights to health care and the environment, to so-called Stand Your Ground laws and attempts to privatize public education. They aren’t working for us regular people; they’re working for their big corporate sponsors. They are very busy right here in Maine: Sens. Richard Rosen and Brian Langley are ALEC members. Lately, under pressure, many corporations and state legislators are dropping their membership in ALEC.

Ellsworth 99% is sponsoring a Community Teach-In about ALEC, its influence in Maine and what we can do about it at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, at Ellsworth City Hall. I encourage all to attend and check out www.alecexposed.org.

Nancy Glista


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