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Saturday, July 21, 2012: Susan Collins, apologies and Kent Ward

5,000 and counting

Sen. Susan Collins has never missed a single vote since she took office in January 1997. This week, she topped 5,000 votes cast during her tenure. Five-thousand consecutive votes is a very impressive record.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with her position on every one of those votes should not diminish the deep commitment Sen. Collins has demonstrated to the spirit of the democratic system and to the people of Maine.

In fact, Sen. Collins has cited the dedication of working Mainers as her inspiration to make it to the Senate floor each and every time. Her commitment to her job and her appreciation of the impact that each vote can have on her constituents stands as a model of representational government.

With the elections just around the corner, it is my hope that newly elected and re-elected federal and state legislators will work as hard as Sen. Collins to examine the challenges we face in Maine. The needs of a constituency facing challenges around health and long-term care, unemployment, hunger and age discrimination deserve our elected leaders’ concerted and undivided attention.

Carol Kontos

AARP Maine state president


Apologies don’t cut it anymore

As a parent, grandparent and school psychologist, I have always advocated for sincere apologies when the situation dictates with the underlying principle that an apology issued on demand is of little value. I also believe that inherent in the process is that the apology will be accepted with the understanding that the behavior requiring the apology is not repeated. A very simple process.

However, if the unacceptable behavior returns over and over again, the apology has little value because it is likely that the individual hadn’t really been sincere in apologizing. With that in mind, Gov. Paul LePage’s apologies for his outrageous statements for close to three years during his campaign and his tenure in office just don’t cut it anymore. If the governor is so out of control that he cannot censor himself, he should not be serving. If the governor is not out of control but is deliberate in his choice of words (e.g., “spoiled brat,” “Gestapo”), he should not be serving. Either way, he is more than an embarrassment, he is a disgrace to the state of Maine and its residents.

Mark D. Roth


Child support

I read Bob Emrich’s July 11 OpEd piece on marriage and found that I agreed with the basic premise of the piece: children do benefit from having two parents in a committed, loving and, yes, married family.

Society’s support for married families seems to be much greater than it is for single-parent families, much to society’s shame. What I found totally offensive was his supposition that those marriages need to be woman-to-man to be supportive of children.

When my husband and I became parents, we, like all new parents, became much more aware of the challenges of parenting and looked to families around us for support and ideas on how to raise our child to be the best human being she could be. Some of the families from which we

received the most inspiration were those of gay couples with children.

The children in families of gay couples are most often not just chosen, but tenaciously fought for. Others can tell you how difficult it is for gay couples to adopt, but what I know is how much these children are wanted and loved. Why should these children be denied the societal supports of a married family when this is what their parents seek to give them?

Tina Bernier


Doesn’t understand

Our health care system is very complex and sometimes hard to understand, but I would expect Gov. Paul LePage to be well-informed enough to “get it.”

Apparently, he just doesn’t understand. Why else would he support health care freeloading? For part of my career as a nurse, I worked in the emergency department and I know first-hand that any uninsured person having a medical crisis can get care (exceedingly expensive care) at a hospital emergency room. Nobody checks insurance status before treating any sick person. In fact, it is illegal to do so. So who pays for that care? If the uninsured person can’t afford to pay the enormous bill, then the hospital covers its costs by charging more to the rest of us.

If everyone pays into an insurance fund, then the costs for everyone will be more reasonable and more fairly distributed. An alternative plan would be for those who don’t want to buy insurance to agree to be barred from getting any free medical care — but do we want the ambulance at the scene of a traffic accident to check victims first for their insurance cards, and leave them by the roadside if they can’t offer proof of insurance? Even the idea of that is abhorrent to us. So we will continue to treat everyone (as we should) but the cost will be paid by only some of us.

Frances Loring, RN


Old Dawg

We all know that no one can ever truly replace the Old Dawg’s (Kent Ward) weekly column, no matter the subject — baseball, poor grammar, politics, whatever. The “ink-stained wretch” was always worth the read.

However, to think that we now have in his stead the unending carping of Ethan Strimling and Phil Harriman to face for the next 100-plus days till the election, and perhaps beyond, is a bleak prospect. All that they say has been said before by many others. They offer nothing new, nothing that piques one’s interest — in short, nothing worth the read. Saturday is just another day.

Pat Ayers


Health legacy

One has to wonder what kind of health care legacy our governor wants to leave our state. By failing to start a democratic and transparent process now of designing a health insurance exchange for Maine, he is crippling our ability to respond. He is forcing us to miss the opportunity to lay the necessary groundwork of education, community dialogue and planning. We will end up with the one-size-fits-all plan from Washington.

Gov. LePage, if you don’t allow Mainers to step forward and participate, then don’t complain if you don’t like the results. An ostrichlike response risks handicapping our state for decades to come.

Rosemary Delano-Merritt

East Eddington

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