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Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013: Shutdown recovery, liberal teaching, GOP repetition

Renewed recovery

As the government resumes operations, it will be important for our representatives to look beyond the immediate politics of the situation and consider policies that will minimize the economic consequences of the two-week shutdown.

I was very proud of the leadership that Sen. Susan Collins demonstrated, elevating the discussion from simple partisan politics and putting her constituents first as she always has. As we move forward, I hope that she spends this windfall of political capital in a manner that will lead to pro-business policies to get the economic recovery moving forward again.

Uncertainty has been a constant topic of conversation among small business owners, not only during this time of heightened tension, but also with the continually increasing national debt. One way to instill confidence in small business owners would be to solidify or lower energy prices as we head into the colder winter months.

If only there was a shovel-ready project that could give the economy a boost, while at the same time affecting a long-term decrease in domestic energy prices as well as a decreased dependence on foreign oil.

The Keystone XL Pipeline project has been held up time and time again by environmental radicals. What better time to approval the final permit and provide some relief to our small businesses than right now?

I would love to see Collins build on her accomplishments last week and push President Barack Obama to approve the final permit for Keystone XL in the coming weeks and use the reopening of the government as a springboard to a renewed economic recovery.

Cameron Marcotte



Belfast leadership

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Belfast voters should let their preferences be known by voting in an important local election about leadership. Communities in Regional School Unit 20 face another budget crisis next spring as the superintendent announced a possible multi-million dollar shortfall. In Belfast our obligation to the RSU is $760,000 monthly, an unsustainable amount without further real estate tax increases.

For the first time in several elections, three candidates seek two open seats on the RSU 20 board. We also have a three-way race for mayor. In Belfast, where the duties of mayor are largely ceremonial, the mayor is recognized as a civic leader. One of the duties of this office is to conduct city council meetings; it permits the mayor to initiate discussion and bring information to the council.

Although the mayor is not on the RSU board, this office allows the mayor to convey public opinion and direction to that board. Providing students with the best education possible is our goal. The issue does not stop here; it’s in Augusta and beyond where funding of the schools continues to decrease. My husband, Jim O’Connor, is the candidate for mayor who will be a leader for our city, communicate with RSU 20 officials and take a role in helping find solutions.

Providing students with the best education possible is our ultimate goal. Get to the polls, let your vote for new leadership be counted on Nov. 5.

Janis Stone


Grand letter

I would like to commend Jacob Gran for his courageous letter to the BDN on Oct. 17, regarding the teaching of liberalism. There is no question that teachers, especially in public school systems, must try to be completely objective in the presentation of course material. This means not imposing their ideologies regarding political and religious issues on young impressionable adults who are obviously made to feel the need to agree with their teacher.

It is well known that the academic community has a strong liberal component, yet we hear or read very little about this in the national media. With nine grandchildren at various levels of education, ranging from the second grade in New Mexico to a freshman in college in Maryland to a PhD candidate in Connecticut, I have heard similar unfortunate experiences with instructors pushing their narrow one-sided agendas.

One responding letter writer stated that “to elicit the reaction of a letter to the editor by a student means that the teacher is acting professionally.” In my judgement, that’s an irrational statement that couldn’t be further from the truth. It was the student who acted in a courageous professional manner, risking retribution from the teacher by making the public aware of what is going on in his school.

Additionally, in proclaiming that the Affordable Health Care act is a “great thing,” this teacher apparently doesn’t keep up with the latest news.

In closing, I thank Gran for his appropriate and timely letter.

Joe Bertolaccini


Why not try something new?

As a school psychologist, I recall the times during my career when, while evaluating a

youngster taking a particular section of a cognitive test, which required the student to correctly

assemble a puzzle from its component pieces, I would observe the student’s strategy. For most, the strategy was effective.

There were some youngsters, however, who repeated the same poor strategy over and over again. An unspoken voice in my head would often say, “for Pete’s sake, try something new and different because your repetitive approach is just not working.”

That same voice, this time spoken, could easily be talking to the Republican Party with

regard to the Affordable Care Act. The repeal strategy didn’t work during the shutdown; it

didn’t work in the 40 or so votes taken in the House to repeal; and it hasn’t resonated with the

American people who, according to a recent Gallup poll, don’t regard health care as a top problem.

So, I would say to the Republican Party: Be bold, and try some new things. How about

legislating? How about passing a farm bill? How about passing immigration reform? How

about passing a budget? These novel ideas might just raise those ratings of theirs out of the


And, a little advice, they should remember the words of George Santayana: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do not remember their past are

condemned to repeat their mistakes.”

The choice is theirs.

Mark Roth


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