Trump takes America down wrong road
Much has been said about the Trump administration. Last week with the sudden firing of the FBI director without warning or notice, there were many conflicting accounts coming out of the White House, confusing the press and public who are trying their best to understand what the White House is doing.
Reasonable people cannot understand what is happening. The facts change daily and some comparisons to Richard Nixon and Watergate or Ronald Reagan and the Iran-Contra affair are made.
This is worse and more dangerous than Nixon. There are no people of moral character in this White House. In addition to President Donald Trump, we have the invasion of a new right that is dangerous, with the likes of Steve Bannon who has publicly said they are ” dismantling the administrative state.”
We have Jeff Sessions as attorney general. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan leading a conservative Congress to promote this dismantling. Our Supreme Court and courts being filled with this new ideology of corporate conservatism that is neither democratic nor Christian. How many more Judge Neil Gorsuchs will there be?
The Democrats are right that we are in a full constitutional crisis. When will the Republicans start to act as Americans, not politicians, as one American citizen scolded his Republican congressman on television. America is at the crossroads, and it has started to go down the wrong road. Will it continue?
Don’t review monument designation
I ask that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stop the review of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. I ask that Rep. Bruce Poliquin join our two senators and our other representative and speak out forcefully in support of the national monument.
It is clear that the majority of residents, businesspeople and public officials support and believe that the monument will be good for the environment and for the economy of central and northern Maine. Many people who originally opposed creation of the monument now publicly state that it will be good for the environment and the economy.
Since its creation, we have seen increased investments in our economy; increasing real estate values; increased demand for lodging, camping and food; and jobs for local people who have been hard-pressed to find good-paying jobs since the lumber and paper mills began to close. The monument is not only good for our economy. It is good for our environment. It provides recreational opportunities for locals and visitors.
We have had enough time to comment. Now is the time for all Mainers to come together and move forward.
Originally, the monument may have divided some Mainers against each other. But we now see that it is a unifier rather than a source of division.
I ask my governor and all elected officials to listen to the people of Maine and to demand that the monument not be included in the review process by the Department of the Interior and that its status is maintained.
Fight childhood poverty
The percentage of Mainers living in poverty is 13.4 percent, and 16.6 percent for children. The overall rate dropped nationally, but not for Maine. Children living in poverty are more likely to fail at school, go to juvenile detention and have unwanted pregnancies, as well as experience drug problems, depression, heart disease, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
Efforts to combat poverty have traditionally focused on increasing family income. While these interventions are incredibly important, unfortunately in many cases they are not enough. Families in poverty go through extreme levels of stress, and patterns of conflict may be established that will not vanish simply because more financial support has arrived. We do need to lift families out of poverty, but we also need interventions that support poor families, and schools, as they try to raise happy, healthy kids.
Importantly, we have these interventions ready and waiting, begging to be implemented in Maine and nationally; there are many programs, policies and practices that tackle the negative outcomes linked to poverty. Importantly, reducing some of these effects may actually lift families out of poverty as well (for example, efforts to keep kids in school may lead to higher family income down the line).
This is the prevention science approach, and it would have a positive impact not just on children and families in poverty, but virtually every child in Maine, by reducing crime and freeing up government money for better investments. The value of an evidence-based prevention science approach is that it doesn’t waste taxpayer money and precious resources on unproven bandage strategies that do nothing to prevent problems from occurring over and over again.
Republicans fight Equal Rights Amendment
Every Republican senator at the State House except two — Sens. Roger Katz and Dana Dow — voted against an amendment to the Maine Constitution to explicitly protect Mainers from sex discrimination, LD 197.
This bill proposes a long-needed updating of the Constitution to show respect for women and their equal rights under Maine law. The House will vote in a couple of weeks and many more Republicans will need to stand up for equality for women to reach the required two-thirds vote to proceed.
Republicans will continue to vote along party lines to block the vote unless their constituents call and say, “Respect women. Vote for this bill.” Senators are supposed to represent their constituents, not their political party. Recent polls say that over 90 percent of Americans think that women and men should have equal rights under the law.
Now, Republicans are using scare tactics to rationalize voting against the bill, saying an Equal Rights Amendment means that the state would have to fund abortions. Really? Should women be second-class citizens in the eyes of the law in order to prohibit abortion? Abortion is a legal issue that will be decided in the courts. Equal rights are fundamental to democracy.
Are Republicans going to use the abortion reason to prevent women from receiving equal pay and fair insurance premiums?
Voters need to let their state representatives know that a vote for LD 197 is a vote for respecting the equal rights for women in the state of Maine and putting it in the Constitution, where it belongs. Call them.