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Friday, May 9, 2014: Bruce Poliquin, teacher appreciation, Emily Cain, family event


Social media power

In the last few days, some buzz has emerged about former state treasurer and Second District congressional candidate Bruce Poliquin financially supporting Handgun Control Inc. in 1989 (which Second Amendment supporters would liken to the captain of a fishing vessel donating to Greenpeace) and approving of a broad expansion of background checks for gun sales.

I don’t mention this to assert that Poliquin, who calls himself a strong supporter of gun rights, doesn’t mean what he is currently saying on the issue, or even that there aren’t people (although they’re probably a lot further to his left) who agree with him on background checks.

But it’s an excellent example of how the news and social media are contributing to the public discourse. Candidates simply cannot assume the mere passage of time will obscure anything. Now more than ever, things have a way of coming out more quickly, circulating more widely and lingering more persistently, knocking a candidate off message and putting him on the defensive.

Time spent apologizing for or explaining prior actions that contradict one’s current position is time lost from campaigning. And especially with Second Amendment devotees, who passionately point out that “shall not be infringed” is an unequivocal phrase appearing nowhere else in the Constitution, there’s precious little wiggle-room. Once you’ve earned their suspicion, it’s hard to regain their trust.

Paul Tormey


Teacher appreciation

I have read that teachers make 1,000 decisions per day. There are 175 days in most school years, which means our teachers make more than 175,000 decisions in any given year. Even more impressive is that those decisions are made with the wellbeing of each individual student in their classroom at the core.

Today, our teachers are asked to do things that range from helping students learn how to potty train to helping students learn how to solve complex chemical equations and most things in between. Our teachers teach students the importance of reading, writing and arithmetic as well as the importance of living healthy lifestyles, how to become effective problem solvers, and how to treat others with respect. Our teachers teach students how to deal with and harness their emotions, how to organize their thoughts coherently, and how to persevere when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Teachers put every ounce of their heart and soul into what they do. They often don’t hear many “thank yous” or “good jobs” until years after a student has left their classroom, if at all, nor are any expected. Teachers do what they do because they love children, children of all ages, shapes, colors, sizes and experiences. I am daily amazed at the work that our teachers do for our children in RSU 3, and, for that, I just want to say thank you, and I would encourage others to do the same for their teachers.

Heather Perry

Superintendent, RSU 3


Family-friendly event

The organizers of the Kid Central Festival last weekend in Bangor deserve recognition and appreciation for putting together the day. It was exactly the kind of family-friendly event that makes Bangor a community to be proud of. The activities seemed to appeal to a broad range of ages, and there is no question our 2-year-old had a fun and educational experience. I can only hope that the bead bracelet we made together at the CISV Maine tent will last until next year.

Anne-Marie Storey


Healthier workforce

You’ll have to forgive my ignorance, for I do not have the wisdom of Solomon that our good governor possesses, nor the analytic knowledge of the state’s legislators, but I can’t for the life of me understand the rationale for rejecting an expansion of Medicaid to our most vulnerable citizens, other than ideological rhetoric.

We are told that the move could cost the state millions in the future. That may be true — if we can even put a dollar amount on good health — although recent analysis has dramatically cut the amount the expansion might cost. Yet I do not have the crystal ball that Gov. Paul LePage looks into.

Would not providing better health care to thousands of needy Mainers — whether through a state program, a federal program or private insurance — create a healthier populace, so the amount we pay to hospitals every year be reduced?

What’s more important to the state and its economy is the fact that a healthier citizenry equals a healthier workforce. Adults, and especially children, who lack proper health care are unlikely to possess the skills or even the ability to meet employers’ needs in the present or the future.

As BDN editorials have pointed out, political infighting is not limited to Washington, D.C., and Augusta should stop the ideological battles for the good of the state’s future. It may be too late for Medicaid expansion. Or not, as November is just six months away.

Steve Colhoun


Vote Emily

Rep. Jeff Evangelos’ May 4 column criticizing Sen. Emily Cain, D-Orono, on recent state budgets was full of bits and pieces from past budgets, but it lacked context.

Like Emily, I have been on the Appropriations Committee faced with the need to balance the state budget with limited resources. Thankfully, for the past decade, Emily has been providing leadership in Augusta, making sure working families are protected.

In 2011, we were presented with a terrible budget from Gov. Paul LePage that would have been devastating to Maine families and communities. We had two options — stay at the table and negotiate a better deal, or take a partisan approach and refuse to work together.

Emily’s leadership meant avoiding a state shutdown, safeguarding health care for 28,000 Mainers, ensuring Maine seniors could afford prescriptions, keeping nursing homes open, preventing the shift of General Assistance costs to towns, securing pensions, and protecting funds for family planning and substance abuse and tobacco prevention.

This bipartisan work was done in the best interest of Maine people, not for scoring partisan political points.

Washington has enough people who don’t value compromise. Emily has a record of working hard to stay at the table, find common ground and do what is best for Maine. I have seen her prove this in Augusta time and time again, and I know Emily will do the same in Washington.This is why I support her in the Democratic primary for Maine’s Second Congressional District and will be voting for her on June 10.

Sara Stevens

Former State Representative, House District 17



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