Remove Trump office
President Donald Trump’s bizarre claim that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap on Trump Tower during the 2016 election might stem from instability or plain old-fashioned calumny. In any case, it’s clear that Trump needs to be removed from office.
Trump plays to fantasies
Here’s a great quote from Donald Trump in “The Art of the Deal” to keep in mind while following the day’s news: “The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big for themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.”
LePage should cheer on the monument
As a recent retiree and newly minted full-time Millinocket resident, I am excited to have the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in my backyard. I’m dismayed and incredulous that Gov. Paul LePage would attempt to undo the economic progress and community pride made since its designation.
National monuments and national parks make good neighbors and act as economic drivers, no matter where they exist in the country. Acadia National Park brought nearly 3 million people to Maine in 2015, and when visitors come, they spend money. Acadia visitors in 2015 directly contributed $248 million to Maine’s economy. Remember, Acadia started as a monument.
I can see positive economic trends here in the Katahdin region. Businesses are investing and real estate is selling for the first time in years. I am one of those new homeowners. I believe that national monuments like this one contribute to a high quality of life, this is an important factor when deciding where to settle down and raise a family or, like me, retire.
My governor should be a cheerleader for the state, encouraging people to visit the monument. But instead he is antagonistic to it and the business it brings rural Maine. I strongly encourage Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to fight for the monument and proper funding for the National Park Service to help it become even more successful. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who has been remarkably and inexplicably silent on this issue, should stand up and protect the monument as well.
Open for fair business
Maine is open for business. Gov. Paul LePage has been on the road recently spreading that message. But while the governor courts new industries, Rep. John Schneck of Bangor is fighting to make sure Maine workers can actually work. He’s proposed LD 487, An Act to Promote Keeping Workers in Maine. It aims to ensure fairness in employment and career options.
At issue is the noncompete clause in a growing number of employment contracts. These are agreements in which employees are bound from employment with a competitor if they resign or are terminated. They are designed to discourage competition between businesses. This is ironic considering all we ever hear is how competition is good. Whether it is or not, noncompete contracts exploit low-wage, entry-level workers who may be desperate for a job. Many do not even understand what the contract means as they sign.
We are not talking rocket science, where trade secrets may be critical and where employees have better access to protection. We are talking about the overuse of limiting contracts that obstruct opportunities to advance. If fired or laid off, there is no alternative. If leaving for a better paid job, they are locked out. The only option will be to leave Maine to find a job.
With a dwindling workforce, that is not what we need. At the very least, Schneck’s bill would prohibit noncompete contracts for low-wage, entry-level jobs. That makes sense. Maine should be open for business, but it should be fair business.
Collins fights to protect seniors
In this time of political unrest in Washington, it’s easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees. Here in Maine, we’re fortunate to have a senator who is able to cut through the clutter and work with people on both sides of the aisle to get things done.
Recently, Republican Sen. Susan Collins partnered up with a Democrat from Missouri to propose legislation that would help protect senior citizens by giving banks and other financial institutions the ability to report suspected fraud. Under Collins’s bill, if a bank teller thought a senior was being ripped off by a crook, he or she could report the suspected crime without fear of being sued or losing his or her job.
Collins has also teamed up with a Democrat from Minnesota to urge the president to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research, one of the most horrific and costliest diseases facing our country.
Like a lot of my neighbors, I don’t agree with every decision being made in Washington. But I also recognize that there are good people, such as Collins, trying to do their best to do what’s right.
Implement ranked-choice voting
On Nov. 8, the people of Maine decided to change the way we vote when there are more than two candidates running for an office. We voted to adopt ranked-choice voting whereby instead of picking a single candidate out of three or more, you can pick your first, second, and third choice at the polls. This allows you to support your favorite candidate without fear of helping your least favorite candidate and will give us an outcome that may more accurately reflects the will of the people.
But the current administration is dragging their feet on implementing it.
Despite losing in November, opponents are working to hold off implementing ranked-choice voting, with the intention of weakening or reversing the law. Their efforts notwithstanding, it can still be put into place by 2018 as long as the Maine secretary of state’s office begins working now to create and execute an effective, efficient, secure and transparent implementation plan.
It is the responsibility of the Maine secretary of state to implement the law in time for the 2018 election. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap should honor the will of the people and begin working now to implement ranked-choice voting law in full for 2018.
Tomlin P. Coggeshall