I really tried to avoid writing this letter, but I feel compelled to do so in light of recent news from the Middle East.
Do we really need to kneel down to Islamic hard-liners? We believe in freedom of the press. We do not invoke journalistic standards or morality differently between nationalities and religions. Except, of course, as it concerns Islam. We are not imposing journalistic segregation, nor should we.
Regarding the fatalities in Benghazi, why is it that only Chris Stevens was mentioned in the news? With all due respect to his memory and condolences to his family, there were three other fatalities. I have heard the name Sean Smith mentioned once or twice. The other two names of victims I haven’t heard. I realize that his profile is more pronounced than the others, but this is really exaggerated. This uneven report on the fatalities is simply not fair. It gives value to the worth of human bodies and memories.
One more thing: President Barack Obama declared that “all” those responsible for the seizure of the consulate in Benghazi will be brought to justice. I realize that Obama has many more resources at his disposal, but give me a break. It was a bombastic statement that cannot be fulfilled. At least, not in this life.
Keep tax relief
As a small-business owner, I know that when considering a change in business tax rates, it’s important to keep in mind the difference between revenue and profit. Revenue is all the money you bring in, profit is what’s left after expenses such as cost of goods and wages. Taxes are based on profit, not revenue.
So when you hear a proposal to increase taxes on businesses with income more than $250,000, we’re talking about a quarter of a million in profit. So don’t think it will affect the corner convenience store, local bookkeeper or almost any other small-business owner you know. Only 3 percent of unincorporated businesses in the country make that much profit.
For the other 97 percent of us, the effect of slightly higher taxes on the most profitable businesses is all positive, since the increased public revenue can be used to pay down debt and bolster programs that support our customers, the middle class. With federal finances in better shape and programs such as Medicare and college tuition assistance strengthened, working families are more likely to spend on local businesses such as mine.
A few months ago, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins got it half right when she went against her party and voted to end tax cuts for those making more than $250,000.
Unfortunately, she also voted to end tax cuts for the middle-class families and small businesses making less than that. She and Sen. Olympia Snowe will face this issue again soon. They should vote to keep middle-income tax relief, while restoring fairer rates for the better-off.
Our family has had the privilege these past four years of observing state government through the experiences of our son, Andy O’Brien, as he served as Democratic representative from District 44. It has been truly eye-opening, especially the trend toward ever-more-partisan politics, even in Maine.
Now Lloyd Chase, D-Liberty, a new face in the political arena, is running for this seat. Chase is a Maine native and understands what it’s like for working Maine families. His ability to compromise when necessary and to work toward solutions with people who have diverse opinions, backgrounds and beliefs is needed more than ever in Augusta.
Chase has seen so much change in Maine during the time he has lived and raised his children here. Family businesses have closed, school budgets have been reduced and small towns struggle to maintain services with reduced resources. Chase wants to put partisanship aside and work across the aisle to build our local economies, energize our communities and invest in education.
We urge voters to consider Chase for the House of Representatives. Be on the lookout for him as he visits the towns of District 44 — Appleton, Hope, Islesboro, Liberty, Lincolnville, Morrill and Searsmont — over the next several months. He’ll do a good job for us.
On Thursday I broke my ankle biking in Acadia National Park. I want to thank the ranger who quickly and competently helped me, the ambulance drivers and the friendly and helpful people in the emergency room at Mount Desert Island Hospital.
While I lay in the ER, I thought how fortunate I was to have this great medical care and the insurance to pay for it, and I thought it would great if all Americans had access to the same care without the fear of being ruined financially.
I have a nephew who lost his job and then his insurance and could not get new insurance because he was seriously ill. Is that the America we want to go back to? I don’t understand patriotism that loves the country but doesn’t care about fellow Americans.
Some ask us to pity the people who made enormous fortunes through bank shenanigans and outsourcing our jobs. If we tax them lightly we are told, it will trickle down. Well, it’s trickling down, but it isn’t jobs.
Remember, they sell you indifference and hatred of others, but when you get home and see what you bought, it’s reduced benefits and job insecurity. God bless America and all its people.
Frey in November
Even though I am a registered Republican, I was shocked that Rep. Jim Parker of Veazie sided with extremist Republicans in his party by supporting LD 1746. This bill cut crucial funding for home visitation programs that are extremely effective in preventing domestic violence.
Because of this vote, more women and children do not feel safe in their own homes right now. Parker needs to go.
Fortunately, there is a great candidate running to represent Bangor, Orono and Veazie. His name is Aaron Frey. Frey, a Democrat, grew up in Bangor and has experienced some of the same challenges that many of our neighbors face every day. His time in Bangor has taught him that public safety needs to be a top priority. Instead of making the streets more dangerous by senselessly cutting public safety funding, I know he will fight to protect funding for important anti-domestic violence programs. It is my sincere hope that Frey is elected this November.