Friday, March 14, 2014: Susan Collins, Medicaid expansion, east-west corridor

Posted March 13, 2014, at 10:56 a.m.

Support Collins

I agree with a recent writer who said that many of us are not happy with the state of affairs in Washington. We differ on the solution, however. Rather than replacing, we should be rewarding those who lead by example and work across party lines on behalf of their states and our nation. Fortunately, Maine has that leader in Sen. Susan Collins.

Collins grew up in The County and knows the value of hard work. No one has a better record of bringing Republicans, Democrats and independents together. She proved this recently by leading a group of her colleagues to come up with a plan to end the disastrous government shutdown. That certainly was not a proud moment in U.S. history — but Collins made Maine proud by proving that common sense in Washington can go a long way.

Collins cares deeply about Maine. Her record of accomplishments speaks for itself. What I admire most about Collins is that she’s willing to listen to others. As she has always said, no one party holds a monopoly on good ideas. She is an example of how Washington should work, and I’m proud to support her.

Kathy Hicks

Bangor

Safety vs. education

As a student at Eastern Maine Community College, we are expected to come to class completely unarmed, and I’m not talking about firearms, as tasers and pepper spray are also not allowed. With more than 2,000 students, is that a fair choice for us to have to make?

When thinking about our safety, you might be surprised to discover that many classroom doors have no locks. I am interested to know from all those opposing the right to protect ourselves why, at minimum, there aren’t even locks to protect us from potential intruders. Why do students have to be so vulnerable?

One day last semester, I lost my purse, which later was turned in to the security office. Since it didn’t go to the lost and found, I figured they found my Taser. The security officers did, and they gave me a warning for breaking school conduct and told me not to bring it back to school property.

I feel, at minimum, if I can’t protect myself, there should be locks between the intruder and students. Until then, should students have to choose between being a vulnerable lamb and their education?

Daileen Hibbard

Greenbush

Bad medicine

In a recent press conference, Sen. Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, spoke out against expanding Medicaid, despite the fact that the costs would be borne by the federal government, would save lives and create jobs. Instead, he suggested impoverished Mainers “work just a little bit harder than they have been, to try just a little bit harder to meet that goal of making $12,000 a year,” so they can qualify for subsidies for health insurance.

Thibodeau characterized the expansion of Medicaid as “a welfare system” that “make[s] Mainers dependent.” The senator’s cure for multigenerational poverty is simple: “What we all should be trying to do is work our way to economic prosperity.”

Thibodeau has misdiagnosed poverty in Maine. Dependence on the government doesn’t create poverty. Poverty results from a lack of jobs, lack of education and an economy that for many Mainers remains in recession.

Thibodeau’s prescription is bad medicine for Maine. I will be supporting Jonathan Fulford for state Senate — a man who truly represents the people of Waldo County.

Greg Bates

Monroe

Thinning a herd

Next week, Maine legislators will make a decision that will affect 70,000 Mainers, and the hundreds of thousands of others who love and care for and about them. It all comes down to this vote and our reliance on Gov. Paul LePage to expand MaineCare. This is literally a life-or-death decision for a huge portion of our population — our greatest commodity, the people of Maine.

Getting medicines, treatment and health maintenance for many disabled, elderly and very ill people and the hardworking poor is at stake. I hope that our elected officials remember that this decision is about saving and improving the lives of human beings. We are talking about the Department of Health and Human Services and not the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

We are making a decision to save and improve human lives, not to thin a herd. If things were the way they should be, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. We would have a single-payer universal health system, where no one is left out. Our current “survival of the richest” health care system is evil and elitist. Health care is a human right.

Kathy Day, RN

Bangor

East-west corridor

At its town meeting March 8, by a vote of 59 to 19, the town of Charleston passed a “Resolution to Oppose the Passage of an East West Corridor Through the Town of Charleston.” At an April 2013 Penobscot County commissioners’ meeting, Commissioner Peter Baldacci asked Cianbro CEO Peter Vigue, “If any community that doesn’t want a corridor, if they make a decision as a public body [that] they won’t have it … [if so] would you not try to reverse or appeal that decision in court?”

Vigue responded, “I have no authority to do so, nor would we do so.”

An audience member asked Vigue, “Would you put into writing a statement that says ‘for any community that says we do not care to have this … corridor brought to our … town, we will not do so’?”

Vigue responded: “Absolutely.” The preceding can be accessed at the WERU website’s news report archives, labeled “3 April 2013.”

While Cianbro says east-west corridor planning is still very much alive and well, the company failed to announce the final route it had proposed to announce by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, communities in the possible path continue working to keep the project out of this region. Area towns are pressing ahead with both short- and long-range efforts to prevent the corridor from becoming a reality.

Parkman, Sangerville, Dexter, Garland, Monson, Charleston and Abbot have all passed moratoria to prevent the corridor. Most have also passed or are working on other legal tools to use in opposing the corridor. It is my hope that Vigue is a man of integrity, such that he honors his own words and stops planning for the corridor to pass through towns that have clearly stated they do not want it.

Bob Lodato

Charleston

 

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