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Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012: Election letters

A few things President Clinton left out

Former President Bill Clinton, America’s “explainer-in-chief,” speaking at the Democratic convention, left a few important items out of his explanation: “The Republican argument against re-electing the president,” Clinton said, “is really simple. It goes something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t, with us blocking his every move, cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in.”

The jobless rate has declined from 10 percent to 7.8 percent. Consider how many more people would be working today if the Congress, on record as “wanting him to fail,” had not killed President Obama’s American Jobs Act.

Clinton said, “No president could have repaired all the damage the Republicans did in just one term.” He didn’t mention that the financial collapse that started here under former President George W. Bush caused a worldwide recession and that the U.S. economy is doing better than all of Europe, which pursues Republican-type austerity.

The collapse saw demand dry up and gas prices plummet from more than $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008 under Bush to around $2 when Obama took office. Gas prices are still lower now than they were under Bush.

The stock market has doubled. Five million jobs have been created. The war in Iraq has been ended. Osama bin Laden is dead. General Motors is alive. When they say, “Now put us back in,” don’t listen. Give Obama the time he needs to repair “all their damage.”

Peter Agrafiotis

Cape Neddick

Equal rights

My husband and I recently celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. Just a few weeks before our wedding, another couple was also married under the care of our Quaker meeting. Both times, the meetinghouse filled with family and friends who gathered to bear witness as two people turned toward each other in love, spoke their vows before God and turned outward to take their place in their community, as a family, joined as one. According to the state, we were married, but our friends were not.

As soon as we married, my husband and I immediately began to benefit from hundreds of advantages legally married couples enjoy. If I became ill, my husband could visit me in a hospital. When our children were born, my husband and I were both automatically recognized as their parents. From inheritance to insurance access, from taxes to Social Security death benefits, from the federal level to the private sector, my husband and I have hundreds of “special rights.”

Married life is not easy. Spouses support one another in life’s passages and crises, from unemployment to serious illness. We raise children together. We grieve inevitable losses. Even with every legal advantage, families experience great stress, as well as great joy. As a state, we can choose to give families our support by giving all families equal rights under the law. We have nothing to lose and a stronger society to gain. On Nov. 6, please help us share our rights with our friends. Vote yes on Question 1.

Susan Dickson-Smith


Mrs. Kornfield, you inspired me!

We can all think back to grade school and pick a particular teacher that made an impact. During my junior and senior year, I had the opportunity to have Mrs. Victoria Kornfield for English. To that point in my school career, I was a mediocre student at best, not really having a fire to push myself. Then I met Mrs. Kornfield. She was probably the most outgoing and loving teacher I ever met.

She had a unique ability to bring every walk of life together by convincing us to think for ourselves.

I am now a fifth-grade teacher at Brewer Community School, and I find myself attempting to inspire kids, using the “Kornfield method.” Often, we can lose sight of what matters in life and forget those who helped make us who we are as adults. I have never forgotten Mrs. Kornfield or the impact she had on me. If, at the end of my teaching career, I can say that I was half the teacher she was for me, then I would consider myself successful.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, I hope you will be willing to set party lines aside and vote for a person who has spent her life inspiring others to be the best possible human beings that they can be. I believe that Mrs. K. will help bridge the partisan gap that has evolved in Augusta.

She has proved in her teaching career that she can bring all walks of life together for a common purpose.

Dennis McGrath


Shameful marriage

Most of Maine’s citizens have seen the commercials in favor of homosexual marriage. First, there is the Gardiner family, where the old gentleman states: “There are four generations sitting around this table.” He then proceeds to explain that two of his granddaughters are in lesbian relationships. What a shame that he doesn’t realize that they will be the last generation!

Then there is the woman photographer who is excited that homosexual weddings will bring her more income. What a shame that she regards money over morality.

Finally there were commercials that had people claiming to be Christians who do not judge others or claim the law will not be harmful to those with Christian beliefs. What a shame that those actors disregard biblical passages that discuss homosexuality.

If Maine people really cared about those who desire to participate in this practice, then, instead of giving them a “green light,” we should warn them of their error.

Tell them to read the Bible passages in Exodus, chapter 19, where it relates the judgment of homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah. Or go to Leviticus, chapter 20, verse 13, where God commands men not to have sex with another man. Also, in Romans, chapter 1, verses 24-32, that says God has given homosexuals over to their own lusts (not love). And, finally, to Revelation, chapter 21, verses 6-8, that express the end result of those who are sexually immoral.

Maine voters need to caution homosexuals, not condone their behavior. Vote no on Question 1.

Philip Rundgren


SNAP benefits

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program plays a significant role in the economy of Bangor, our state and our nation.

More than 253,000 Mainers receive SNAP benefits. In our poorest counties, more than one in five citizens participate. It makes a significant difference in our rural economic health as it converts some of the bounty of our farms into real help for struggling families.

SNAP is more than two-thirds of the cost of the soon-to-expire Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. For this reason, some in Congress have proposed controversial cuts to SNAP. Washington tabled debate on the 2012 version until after the election. Without this omnibus legislation, our food supply could see anarchical-like changes. So, as we consider candidates for U.S. House and Senate, who will represent us well in discussions like this? Will the required “yes” vote help or hurt us?

State taxpayers are responsible for about 40 percent of SNAP’s administrative costs. The prevailing attitude among our elected state officials will shape the way Maine benefits from SNAP.

Hard times ask us to empower the basic needs of our least fortunate citizens. In the Bangor area, many local social safety net organizations and municipal general assistance programs are stressed by less, while our neighbors have greater need. Without SNAP, Maine’s rural economy would be worse. Thus, we should vote for local, state and national candidates who will protect it.

Heinrick Snyder


Return Randolph Mailloux

I worked for the citizens of Waldo County in the probate court for 37 years. I began my employment in 1971 as clerk to the register of probate.

In 1983, I was appointed register of probate, and from 1986 until my retirement in June 2008, I ran successful campaigns and was elected register of probate. I worked with both Randolph Mailloux and Susan Longley. In this year’s political race for the seat of Waldo County judge of probate, I proudly endorse Randolph Mailloux to serve the citizens of Waldo County.

When Mailloux came to the probate court in 1997 after his appointment by Gov. Angus King, he came with a successful practice and expertise in family law, probate law and how court systems operate. He quickly demonstrated his understanding of probate law and rules of procedure. He was even-tempered, informed, confident, an excellent listener, professional and efficient. He devoted time and energy working with the staff to serve the people in our community and beyond.

I am a Democrat, but I will not be voting the party line to keep a Democrat in office. I will be voting to return Mailloux to the Waldo County Probate Court. Based on his qualifications, ability and expertise in family law and probate law in general and judicial experience, he is the best choice. He can be counted on to do an outstanding job, and I encourage you to vote for him on Nov. 6.

Joanne M. Crowley

Stockton Springs

Credibility is top leadership desire

Two of the best minds in leadership development, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, have conducted research since 1987 on the question of what characteristics are most important in a successful leader. They have surveyed thousands over the years. A list of 20 characteristics has consistently surfaced.

These 20 characteristics have taken varying positions in the listing over the years, yet the top four have stayed the top four over all this time. These top characteristics most valued in leaders are honesty, forward-looking, inspiring and competent.

The researchers also found when a leader possesses and constantly lives out these characteristics, they achieve the top desired behavior in a leader. That is credibility.

There are three persons who have credibility derived from their deep commitment to living out the four leadership characteristics noted above. These three will receive my vote, and I ask that you vote for them also. At the national level, credibility is a hallmark of President Barack Obama. Independent Angus King has credibility required to represent Maine in the Senate. Democrat Katherine Cassidy’s credibility will distinguish her on behalf of Washington County in the Maine House.

These honest, forward-looking, inspiring and competent people can lead us to a better future. They have the credibility we need and want to distinguish Maine and America in the world.

Linda Cross Godfrey, President

Atlantic Leadership Center


Supporting Sharon Dunbar

Democrat Sharon Dunbar, candidate for the Legislature from District 40, serving Bucksport and Orrington, will make an excellent representative. Having worked with her in the Justice Studies Program UMA-Bangor, I observed her considerable abilities to organize student effort for public service, reach consensus within a group, manage her time wisely and work hard to master the academic process and share that information with others — all skills essential for a good legislator.

Dunbar is not only well prepared to be a good legislator but believes in finding common-sense solutions to problems and is not dogmatic or stuck in partisan ways.

I strong recommend Dunbar to the voters of District 40.

Mary Louis Davitt


On Nov. 6, I’m voting for who I trust

I trust Waldo County Probate Judge Susan Longley’s record. In State House and Senate candidates, I’ll vote for who I trust to stand up to Gov. Paul LePage’s American Legislative Exchange Council-inspired ideological majority party rants.

In House District 43, I trust Democrat Erin Herbig’s proven record opposing LePage’s extreme policies.

In Senate District 23, Democrat Chip Curry challenges another ALEC sycophant who’s dodging hard questions while rubber stamping LePage. I trust teacher Curry to answer all questions, even LePage’s.

In U.S. Congress, Democrat Rep. Mike Michaud’s legendary loyalty to all Maine’s workers, seniors and veterans contrasts his immoderate opponent’s extreme views on women, social services, health care and rich-only tax cuts. I trust Michaud’s moderation.

In U.S. Senate, I trust Democrat Cynthia Dill. Although 2010’s divided race elected divisive LePage, I can’t trust a millionaire refusing to identify party caucus, hiding a conservative record supporting Bush tax cuts, pipelines — a self-aggrandizing legacy. I ignore majority party mindless ALEC ideologues. Dill’s clearly the only one who’ll help restore balance.

Most important, I trust President Barack Obama to end wars, restore health care, further reduce debt, advocate fair taxes and keep us safe. I can’t imagine anyone trusting another elitist millionaire who can’t decide who he is. As the economy continues to improve, Obama is poised to lead us into better, safer and fairer times for all the 99 percent who keep this country working. The 1 percent will just have to learn to trust us.

Jeff Smith


Voting No on 1

Homosexuals hope you are not perceptive and see who they are.

Maine’s voters will be tested by the adult-oriented gay agenda, but they sure do not want to be gay or homosexual this week. From their own findings in California and Proposition 8, the ability to use the term “same-sex” verses the word “gay” picks up considerable percentage points — and many more by not using the word “homosexual.”

Test 2: The number 1 reason they added the part regarding religion was to confuse certain voters into thinking if they did not vote yes that homosexuals could sue churches now.

The ability to answer yes, and the first choice on the ballot, picks up points from the impatient voters who are quick and don’t care.

Test 3: If you notice in their commercials they focus on families of gays and very brief glimpses of actual homosexuals, because the numbers showed a higher disapproval when showing lesbians and much higher disapproval when showing homosexual males in commercials, and if they show any affection disapproval goes much higher. Wow, they seriously hope you do not see them when you vote.

Be smarter than the activists. You know who they are. Vote no on homosexual marriage.

Dan Powers


Discrimination is unacceptable

Opponents of Question 1 say it redefines marriage. Marriage has been repeatedly redefined to meet the changing needs of society. Marriage has been about business arrangements, not love; it has allowed for multiple wives; it has prohibited intermarriage between different faiths, cultures and races. In 2001 Alabama became the last state to repeal laws banning interracial marriage. Thankfully the institution of marriage has been redefined over the years, and it has been strengthened by these changes.

Opponents say marriage is a religious matter. They’re partially right. The state allows recognized clergy to conduct marriage ceremonies, but they must comply with civil laws as well. Notary publics also conduct marriage ceremonies. These individuals fill a civil role, but the same outcome is achieved: joining two people in marriage. Either way, the state has to issue a license to validate the marriage.

Some say they are portrayed as bigots for abiding by their religious beliefs. Religion has been used to justify many acts throughout history that today we find unacceptable: slavery, war, oppression. You have a right to your beliefs; you do not have the right to force others to live by them. We live in a democracy, not a theocracy.

The intent of this letter is to convince the undecided to support same-sex marriage and to encourage other supporters to speak out about why this is so important. This is a matter of human rights.

Discrimination for any reason is unacceptable to us, for us and for our community.

Andrew and Paula Matlins


President, not CEO

The discussion topic on the radio was Iran’s nuclear weapon development and the upcoming presidential election. Richard Perle, defense adviser to the George W. Bush administration, asserted that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, “with his business background,” would know exactly what to do.

Unlike President Barack Obama, who has been negotiating with Iran for four years, Romney would be able to recognize “a failed policy” when he saw one and thus respond to Iran in a much more appropriate, that is to say, aggressive way.

When, I wonder, did a business background become the single most desirable trait in an American president? As far back as 1837, in his American Scholar address, Ralph Waldo Emerson decried the way “young men of the fairest promise … are hindered from action by the disgust with which the principles of business are managed.” In other words, said Emerson, the United States is not a business venture; it is rather a nation, an actor on the world stage, and as such it should be motivated by something above and beyond profit.

Peace should supersede profit. As long as we keep talking to the Iranians, and no one suffers, no one dies, the negotiations have not failed. Perle, neocon mastermind behind the unnecessary Iraq war, is wrong once again, and Obama is right. Obama is, in the end, conducting himself like the president of our nation, not like our CEO.

William J. Murphy


Immigration challenges

Neither Republican challenger Mitt Romney nor President Barack Obama are facing facts when it comes to jobs and immigration. And the press isn’t telling the story.

We have 22 million unemployed/underemployed Americans. We need to create 125,000 new jobs every month just to keep up with population growth, predominantly driven by immigration. Romney promises to create 12 million new Americans jobs with rising incomes. Twelve million new jobs in eight years is 125,000 jobs a month, just enough to cover population growth without any reduction in the unemployed.

Obama, pandering to the Hispanic vote, continues to promise he will pass “comprehensive immigration reform.” Had this bipartisan boondoggle passed in 2007, it would have been the most dramatic change in immigration law in 80 years.

Why aren’t journalists reporting these numbers? But kudos to Romney at least for holding the line on illegal immigration. He promised to enforce our immigration laws as they are written. Not terribly bold, but it’s a beginning. If 8 million illegal immigrants lose their jobs, that’s 8 million jobs available to Americans at little cost to the budget.

Jonette Christian

Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy


Supporting Farnham

Republican Nichi Farnham has worked tirelessly for the people of Bangor — first as a city councilor and mayor, and now as our current state senator. I know Farnham personally, and I can tell you, without reservation, she is a genuine, loyal, committed advocate for our community.

I was appalled when I heard that the Democratic Party claimed that Farnham had somehow skirted election laws by coordinating outside spending in her race. The BDN reported that the complaint was baseless and that, as we all expected, Farnham had no involvement in any PAC that has spent money in her race — or any race for that matter!

These types of claims only serve to disrespect the Maine Clean Election Law by refusing to give credence to the process. Through this all, Farnham remained steady, staying above the fray and keeping a level head — just as she has always done for the people of Bangor and Hermon.

Please join me in supporting Farnham. She is the type of leader we can all be proud of.

Kathryn Hicks


Marriage proposals

Any good parent knows it’s entirely possible to love a person yet despise their wrong behaviors. Similarly, it’s fallacy to presume all those opposed to same-sex marriage hate gays and lesbians. Every human is intrinsically valuable, worthy of respect. However, valuing and respecting people as human beings doesn’t mean we must necessarily respect or affirm their behavior. Our society forbids many behaviors by law, not to deprive individuals of what they find pleasurable or rewarding, but because a greater good is at stake.

Same-sex marriage supporters have aired very touching advertisements during this latest effort to sell their viewpoint: a family sitting around a table with lesbians who are their family members and workers voicing their support for their homosexual co-worker’s right to marry. Such messages are very effective because they personalize the issue. However, the effects of allowing same-sex marriage will reach far beyond family and friends. Essentially, Maine citizens will decide whether to radically modify the fundamental unit necessary for perpetuating and maintaining a healthy society. Traditional marriage, done right, has proved most often to produce healthy, stable children, a prerequisite for a healthy society.

Consider the greater benefit for all Maine citizens if the money, time and energy expended in efforts to legalize same-sex marriage had instead been devoted to supporting or promoting traditional marriage in Maine. After decades of attack by social engineers, politicians and the media, traditional marriage could use some support.

As someone has said, before you tear down a fence, it’s wise to consider why it was put there in the first place.

Lynn A. Weston


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