May 23, 2018
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Thursday, July 12: USM president’s new position, why the IRS is important

Affordable Care Act

I’d like to thank Dr. Geoff Gratwick for his recent article “ Challenge of ACA for Maine.” Dr. Gratwick’s article highlights how the Affordable Care Act supports our society’s fundamental belief that, as Gratwick writes, “nobody should be left to die on the streets.”

However, there is tension between what we believe to be the right thing and our own fears. Many are afraid that because of the ACA, they will be taxed for not having insurance. In reality, the tax will only affect a small percentage of people, roughly 2 percent, and in the long run, the ACA will save all of us money — especially middle -lass and working families who are struggling to make ends meet. In fact, in 2019, more than half a million Maine households will be better off by an average of $1,685 per year, and this summer, more than 10,000 Maine families will get a rebate averaging $463 apiece because of provisions in the ACA.

Thank you Dr. Gratwick for your reasoned and thoughtful discussion of the Affordable Care Act. If I were fortunate enough to live in Senate District 32, Gratwick would have my vote!

Nyasha Millard


Frey support

I am writing to show my support for Aaron Frey. Aaron is running for state representative for District 18, which includes Bangor, Orono and Veazie. I have come to know Aaron as an honest, hardworking individual who has a genuine concern for working families. He sees the connection between investing in education and attracting good-paying jobs to the region. I believe our current legislators have let us down. I am tired of watching school budgets get axed while corporations and upper-class individuals continue to get tax breaks.

No real investments are being made in the community that way. A strong society is built from the ground up, and Aaron Frey understands that. I have no doubt that he will be a strong voice for all of us in Augusta. Please join me in supporting Aaron Frey on Nov. 6.

Joe Knox


For the people

There are supposedly three branches of government controlling us: executive, legislative and judicial. They are supposed to regulate the operation of this nation unbiasedly, regardless of party affiliation. From where I sit, it doesn’t quite seem so. Most rulings passed down by the Legislature seem to strongly follow party lines. Definitely anything directed from the executive branch goes strictly down party lines.

The latest ruling from the judicial group seemed to follow the same trend. It would make more sense if those elected to public office could give up their party affiliation, become “Representatives of the People” and act accordingly. After all, they did take an oath to represent the people regardless of what party they belong to. As it seems right now our “elected officials” swing the way their leaders want them to, not the way the people want. We don’t have any control on who gets appointed to the Supreme Court.

Maybe we should try to change that too.

I feel that because of the “could care less of what the people want” attitude of our elected officials, we, the people, have to get out and try to make a difference before it is too late. We have to start somewhere. If we don’t try and this country continues on the downhill slide, shame on us. If we do try and nothing happens, at least we tried.

Timothy Smyth



Rejected leadership

Former University of Southern Maine president Selma Botman lost a no-confidence vote by the USM faculty 194-88 — better than a 2-to-1 drubbing. Any way you spin it that is a rout and she should have been fired.

However, Botman is being rewarded with a transfer within the system to a new post that will continue to pay her over $200,000 a year or five times as much as a new professor.

How can this be justified when budget cuts are increasing the size of virtually every class in the system and there are hundreds — yes hundreds — of faculty vacancies that are not being filled for lack of funding and adjuncts like myself are teaching over half the classes in many departments?

I have been willing to give our new chancellor time to right the ship, but this move is insulting to those professors and instructors who have won the respect and admiration of their students and peers, by doing a good job, and to the students they teach.

The primary missions of our public institutions of higher learning are teaching and research, and we are currently desperately short of the funds required to do that adequately. Adding administrators at this time is counterproductive, especially one whose leadership has been so resoundingly rejected.

Bruce Pratt



IRS employees dedicated

In a radio address, Gov. Paul LePage made an inappropriate and offensive remark about the Internal Revenue Service, referring to it as “the new Gestapo.”

Comparing the IRS to the secret police of Nazi Germany is an insult to committed IRS employees who have dedicated their professional lives to serving our nation.

Moreover, the governor’s comments demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the work IRS employees do.

The fact is the IRS and its employees play a critical role in the health, safety and prosperity of our nation. It is the agency that collects 93 percent of our nation’s revenue and those funds support food assistance programs for children in need, the roads we travel on, the security of our borders, our national defense, and many other services for Americans. IRS employees are dedicated to helping their citizens get a full and timely refund, whether that taxpayer seeks help by calling the agency or by walking into any of the five Taxpayer Assistance Centers in Maine. And the IRS is vital to addressing the fiscal deficit.

Attacking IRS employees and other federal workers does a disservice to our nation and its long history of noble public service. Federal employees are not concentrated in Washington, D.C. They are members of communities across the country, including those in Maine. They are part of the fabric of our cities and towns.

The IRS employees I represent in the state of Maine are dedicated, hardworking professionals. We deserve better from our governor.

Lisa Krahn


National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 7 (IRS Maine)

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