Bangor is fortunate to have two hardworking, intelligent candidates with solid values and creative ideas running for the state Legislature: Democrats Geoff Gratwick in Senate District 32 and John Schneck in House District 16.
A practicing physician and Bangor city councilor, Gratwick is passionate about health care. At a recent candidates’ forum managed by the Maine People’s Alliance, he said health care, run by insurance companies, is broken and getting more broken. He favors a universal system with a strong focus on prevention.
At the same forum, Schneck, businessman, veteran and journalist, spoke up for tax fairness. He said trickle-down economics doesn’t work because demand rises from the bottom and that income tax cuts primarily favoring the wealthy lead to higher sales and property taxes, harming the lower and middle classes.
Both favor renewable energy and a bond to improve the state’s infrastructure. Their opponents, Republican Nichi Farnham and Doug Damon, did not participate in the forum.
I have known Republican Nichi Farnham for more than 20 years and have watched with admiration as she has raised her three little boys into fine young men while at the same time contributing so much to her community and its institutions. She has served on the boards of the United Way, the Bangor Y, the Bangor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, and her roles as a member and chair of the Bangor City Council and as a member of the Bangor School Committee are also well known and respected.
In some of those activities, I have been privileged to be at the same table and have observed first-hand her commitment to being prepared by doing her homework, considering what is best for the constituency being affected and then making thoughtful, intelligent and fair decisions.
As our state senator, Farnham has performed her duties with that same dedication and integrity. Whether as a committee member, committee chair or as a member of the full Senate, she has voted, sometimes with her party and sometimes not, with the best interests of the people of the Bangor area and the state of Maine always her top priority.
On Nov. 6, your vote to re-elect Farnham to the Maine Senate will best serve us all.
Voting yes on Question 5 in November will create jobs, improve the quality of drinking water and protect our environment.
Maine is blessed with abundant and high-quality drinking water supplies. These resources are well managed by a network of independent water utilities around the state, some for over a century. Safe drinking water is ensured by a thorough system of laws and regulations. In Maine these rules are administered by the Maine Drinking Water Program.
The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund administered by the DWP and Clean Water State Revolving Fund administered by the Department of Environmental Protection were created by the federal government to provide affordable funding for public health and water quality improvement projects. Since 1997, the DWSRF has invested $179 million in Maine public water systems.
In order to qualify for the federal funds, Maine must provide a 20 percent match annually. Question 5 on the Nov. 6 ballot provides the 20 percent match for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds for two years.
This $7.9 million bond referendum, if approved, will allow Maine to access nearly $40 million in federal matching funds. Funds for capital upgrades will be available to water and wastewater systems at a reduced interest rate. If the match is not approved, the federal dollars will be forfeited and local ratepayers and taxpayers will need to pay the higher cost of conventional loans.
As a winter enthusiast, I was excited to read the Bangor Daily News article recently about upcoming ski sales around the state. The Penobscot Valley Ski Club Ski and Snowboard Equipment Sale, at Bangor Parks and Rec on Saturday, Oct. 20, was among those listed. The PVSC sale is this nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser and supports winter downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country ski programming in the greater Bangor area.
The Penobscot Valley Ski Club supports discounted skiing and snowboarding lessons and a junior alpine racing program at Hermon Mountain. It supports cross-country ski programs in Orono, Bangor and Winterport and are actively involved in developing Nordic ski trails in and around Bangor. The club also offers discount ski trips to western Maine and Quebec.
Information about the club, programs and the sale can be found at www.pvskiclub.org. Many vendors from Maine and beyond will be at the ski sale, as well as program representatives to answer questions. Save the gas and check out the ski deals and programs right in your backyard.
On Oct. 23, GrowSmart Maine will convene a statewide summit to discuss issues pertaining to forestry, farming and fisheries — how the industries have changed, their challenges and future possibilities.
Since 2003, GrowSmart Maine has worked to make progress without destroying the resources that make Maine special. Our downtowns, filled with empty mill buildings previously facing demolition, needed to be revitalized. Our working waterfronts were disappearing and being changed into elite and private lots. Large tracks of our North Woods were being sold to private owners with a trend toward limiting public access.
Over the last few years, GSM has been struggling with the economic fallout of the recession and concentrated on ensuring its sustainability. Now we have a growing membership and strong partnerships with other organizations, and we are committed to our core mission to promote sustainable prosperity for all Mainers by integrating working and natural landscape conservation, economic growth and community revitalization.
In 2006, GrowSmart Maine partnered with the Brookings Institution and commissioned “ Charting Maine’s Future,” which outlined the economic sectors that showed promise and provided details about how other sectors could grow.
This year, GSM revisited that action plan and recently released the update “Charting Maine’s Future: Making Headway,” which will be featured at the summit.
All Mainers are welcome at the summit, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 23, at the Augusta Civic Center. For details and to register, visit growsmartmaine.org/summit or call the GSM office at 699-4330.