Steele a dedicated public servant
I had the high honor and privilege of serving as assistant secretary of the interior under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Among my responsibilities was the supervision of the National Park System. The park system is one of America’s greatest creations, and Acadia National Park is one of the gems of this vast system that is cherished by visitors from around the world.
Former Acadia Superintendent Sheridan Steele built on previous Superintendent Paul Haertel’s excellent record. During Steele’s tour of duty, important land acquisition was accomplished. The start of the conversion of Schoodic Point to one of the natural wonders of the park, as well as the growth of the Schoodic Institute was masterfully led by Steele.
Obviously, he maintained a close working relationship with his successor and members of the Acadia park staff as the institute grew and has become an integral part of the park.
Steele has served in many national parks gaining the reputation for getting jobs done quickly, efficiently and within budget. His abilities led to him being selected to become Acadia’s superintendent. I have had the pleasure of working with him during my extended summer vacations at Winter Harbor. Having known and worked with many of the park service’s finest superintendents, I would judge Steele to be among the system’s finest.
The gift of a Caribbean trip by the appreciative Schoodic Institute in no way clouds Steele’s career of remarkable stewardship and management skills that are the hallmarks of his long service to the nation.
Hobe Sound, Florida
Ranked choice works
This amazing story of electoral reform and persistence was three years in the making. A petition drive, a referendum, legal challenges, a bill that would have effectively killed ranked-choice voting favored by the majority of voters in a nearly historic turn-out and a people’s veto that was successful to finally allow ranked-choice voting to be used in the June primary.
Opponents suggest it took eight days to compile results when in fact it was exactly half that. Municipalities have 72 hours, by law, to return election results, and yet workers started entering results into the tabulator in less time than that. Then there is a weekend. Workers should have worked that weekend, but unfortunately, there was no funding for anything, let alone overtime.
In just four days, workers, in a rented space, on a rented system, uploaded every ballot, and were able to complete certifying results from all 16 counties and announce a majority winner by June 20.
Janet Mills won Maine’s historic, first statewide Democratic primary using ranked-choice voting, with a 54 percent majority in the final round. It delivered exactly as it should have. In a seven-way race, voters ranked their ballots to give Mills a 54 percent win instead of 33 percent, which would have been sufficient in a plurality election.
Thanks to all Maine voters in this historic election and to the people in Augusta who processed those results to prove ranked-choice voting works.
Ringelstein a fresh approach
Democratic Senate candidate Zak Ringelstein caught my attention when he got arrested on the southern border at the detention camps. His biography is very impressive. He actually went to see what was happening. He brought supplies with him for the children.
Honestly and absolutely, I was going to vote for Sen. Angus King in the fall. Now I am not so sure. Although King’s efforts to stop this madness have been fair, I’m not looking for fair anymore.
I hope King understands he will have to work for my vote this fall. It is no longer a given. I want action against this administration, and I want it loud and clear. Ringelstein has put himself on the line, risking arrest. This Maine voter wonders if King will do the same, or will King rest on his laurels.
I mean no disrespect to King. He has done good things for the country and for our state. I just want him to know that I feel strongly about the serious issue on the border. I am impressed by the new, fresh approach by Ringelstein to stop the Trump terrorism.
Make voices heard
AARP Maine and our more than 230,000 members would like to extend our congratulations and best wishes to all the candidates running in the general election in November. We would also like to remind everyone that November is not that far away.
By far the biggest and most robust voting bloc in the state is that of Mainers over age 50. The issues impacting older Mainers are of particular importance here in Maine, the oldest state in the country. Whether it’s the cost of living in retirement, access to housing that’s affordable or staying connected to friends and family, AARP Maine is advocating on these issues.
At the national level, nothing is more important to our members than protecting the Social Security and Medicare benefits we have worked all our lives to earn. In Maine, we expect the next Legislature will be asked to deal with health care costs and access (especially for those ages 50 to 64), prescription drug pricing, and transparency about how pricing is established. We also look forward to following the election by celebrating November as the first-ever Maine Family Caregivers Month and raising awareness about the needs and challenges of 178,000 Maine family caregivers.
It’s a loaded agenda, and we welcome the participation of all who would serve in elected office.
At the same time, AARP encourages all Mainers to make their voices heard. Every vote counts, and together, we can hold politicians accountable regarding the issues that matter.
Volunteer state president
In response to Michael Cianchette’s recent column about ranked-choice voting, I disagree that the system caused some people’s votes to not count in the final result. The preferred candidate or candidates who were eliminated in the first, second and third rounds lost the election. They would have lost whether or not ranked-choice voting was used.