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Tuesday, April 4, 2017: Rep. Poliquin no profile in courage, helping the needy benefits all, local police aren’t immigration officers


Poliquin no profile in courage

I don’t understand U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin. He somehow did not know how he would vote on the health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act that would cut off coverage to 24 million people, including thousands in Maine, and would drastically raise premiums especially on older people living in rural Maine. What was so hard about that decision? Certainly not a profile in courage.

Jack Comart


Immigration bill would erode community trust

In these very unsure times, there is one fact that is very clear to me. More than ever, we need to maintain strong, trusting relationships with our police officers. My father was one of them. As a child, there were times when I watched him walk out the door and wondered if he would come back alive. And with the news of a shortage of police officers in Maine, we need to take a hard look at this law that will very shortly be up for Maine lawmakers’ votes.

Each day, men and women “in blue” put their lives on the line. That’s why I am against LD 366, An Act to Ensure Compliance With Federal Immigration Law by State and Local Government Entities. This law — which capitalizes on anti-immigration fervor — amounts to racial profiling by singling out people perceived to be “foreign” for different treatment.

We are all safer when there is trust between communities and law enforcement. This bill would make it probable that people in immigrant communities would not share information with the police for fear of being detained, deported, or otherwise treated unconstitutionally. The Trump administration has unlawfully threatened to withhold federal funds from communities that don’t comply with his orders, and local governments should not be forced to choose between their budgets and the constitutional rights of their residents.

Our officers are busy enough carrying out the job for which they were trained. They aren’t trained to enforce or interpret complicated immigration laws. Legislators should vote against this law.

Denise Schwartz


Foragers don’t need regulations

Spring is near and soon the wild fruits and vegetables will be growing and ready for harvest — fiddleheads, strawberries, raspberries, apples and more. Picking these has been an accepted practice for many years. But wait, here comes Augusta closing in for further investigation on how this should be regulated.

When are they going to stop this type of lawmaking and get to work doing something useful. I am willing to bet that the trespassing laws we now have are more than adequate to handle any problems that may develop.

I believe that if Augusta would just go away on this one that it would take care of itself. This is not a battle between the north and the south. Does anyone realize how much of these fruits and veggies just rot on the vines unharvested? Lawmakers should find something to do that has slightly more meaning than this, then they may be able to accomplish something with some real meaning.

Well, I have to go now and call Augusta. I am trying to have toast with strawberry jam, but I don’t know if I should use white or wheat bread. I bet Augusta can help me with this one. What do you think?

Robert Beaulieu


Helping the needy benefits all

I just spent two days in Augusta at the Interfaith Advocacy Days. Folks from many faith backgrounds came together to learn and to raise our voices for a moral budget and a more just, compassionate state government.

As we stood outside the governor’s office waiting for him to emerge from a behind-closed-doors press conference, I noticed a plaque in a prominent place on his office wall. It was a quote of Calvin Coolidge’s — “Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”

I’m guessing this is how LePage frames his world. Anything given to one is “taken from” another. A zero-sum game. Win-Lose. The scarcity principle writ large.

I guess that’s why he’s OK with the number of Maine children living in deep poverty being eight times greater than the national average. Never mind the empty stomachs. Deep poverty. That’s $10,000 a year for three people.

This is happening as the LePage administration brags about the money in surplus.

What Coolidge and LePage forgot is that we’re in this together. If you’re struggling to get by, my life is diminished.

Maine’s children are our future. Making sure they have every opportunity to thrive is the morally right thing to do. And rather than being “pulled down” by this, we all benefit.

Maryann Larson


‘Climate change’ banned

According to a recent news story, workers at the Energy Department have been told not to use the words “climate change.” Even the odious Richard Nixon did not try to ban words he disliked; his enemies list was for people, not words.

Later this month, scientists will march on Washington. Then the word “science” may be banned.

Peg Cruikshank


Collins’ questionable support for Gorsuch

Why is Sen. Susan Collins invested in assuring Neil Gorsuch a seat on the Supreme Court? How can voters have confidence in the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee when Collins and Sen. Angus King are simultaneously investigating Trump and approving his nominees?

U.S. intelligence agencies know the Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential election. President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russian officials throughout the campaign and after the election. Flynn misled the vice president over his contact with Russian officials, and Sessions lied about his meetings.

A Supreme Court seat is a lifetime position. Are we to sit silently by while Collins assures this seat for Gorsuch, a man nominated by a president under investigation for ties to a foreign government?

Collins has rubber stamped Trump’s nominees. Cabinet appointments, disastrous though they are, will not survive Trump’s presidency. But a Supreme Court justice could sit on the highest court of the land for 40 years or more. Once again, her constituents come in dead last.

Dori Burnham



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