Support children’s health

Earlier this year, the president released his budget for the next fiscal year. Within that budget, he called for the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, and funding for child nutrition programs. CHIP and several programs that provide nutritious meals to low- and moderate-income children in school and out of school will expire at the end of September if Congress doesn’t act.

CHIP provides affordable, accessible health coverage to millions of children. Here in Maine, nearly 30,000 of children are covered under Mainecare. Thanks in part to CHIP, 93 percent of children in America have health coverage. With low premiums, deductibles and the preventative care children need, CHIP has improved the health and futures of millions of American kids.

Child nutrition programs, such as school breakfast and lunch and WIC, are keeping millions of children fed with nutritious food to grow and learn. These vital programs are helping parents meet the basics for their families.

This is what America is all about. Together, we can provide a better future for our children and help parents care for and support their families.

Wilbur Worcester Jr.

Hermon

Bangor Council right on park

The Bangor City Council has shown it understands the difficult economic challenges facing our state — particularly in northern Maine and the Katahdin region.

I want to thank the strong majority on the council for their support for a resolution supporting a new national park and recreation area east of Baxter State Park. The resolution, sponsored by Councilor Sean Faircloth, demonstrates the city recognizes its role as a leader in the region and shows councilors are willing to take difficult positions to improve economic opportunity for all of us.

With much grace and commitment, the Bangor City Council took on a big task. They showed us all how it is done. Much like the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, the Houlton Chamber of Commerce, the Katahdin Area Rotary, Medway Board of Selectman and East Millinocket Selectman, they worked together in their commitment to ensure a more stable future economy.

The proposed national park and recreation area would create between 450 and 1,000 jobs. It would be limited in size and would include a $40 million endowment for operations. It’s a new model for public lands everyone should be able to support.

Speaking as a resident of Millinocket — but not as a Millinocket town councilor — I want to thank Bangor for its leadership and support as we work to rebuild our economy.

Anita Mueller

Millinocket

End surveillance of Americans

Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, and Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, have introduced legislation in the House titled The Surveillance State Repeal Act. This bill looks to repeal the USA Patriot Act and the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments.

For too long has the government taken advantage of the fears of the American people to spy on the world. This bill looks to fix that. We do not need to spy on Americans to ensure our safety. The Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments have gone too far. Without a check on their power, they will continue to strip American citizens of their freedoms. I ask Rep. Bruce Poliquin to stand up and support this legislation.

Matthew Rodney

Litchfield

Term limits work

I have been a big fan of Maine Review since the BDN introduced it. It does a wonderful job of educating readers interested in state government. In-depth coverage of issues by Matthew Stone and others have been impressive.

On the other hand, Christopher Burns’ attack on term limits, “ What have term limits accomplished for Maine” (BDN, March 21), is a good deal less than in-depth. He relies almost exclusively on a single article published 12 years ago in Maine Policy Review and a few interviews with incumbents “in favor of repealing term limits” — hardly what you’d call unbiased sources.

The problem isn’t so much what’s in the article but what’s missing — any mention of the major reason for term limits. Term limits mitigate against the power of incumbency in elections, because voters tend to go with a name they recognize regardless of performance. If you doubt that power, think about last year’s term-limit free congressional elections, when voter national approval of Congress had fallen to 11 percent but voters returned 96 percent of its incumbents.

If you Google “term limits,” the unfair advantage of incumbency is the No. 1 reason given for supporting them. I expect that sort of distortion if an opinion piece is by a politician, but not from a BDN staffer writing for Maine Review.

Paul H. Gray

Castine

Sex trade and abortion

There’s a bill in Washington that is stuck in the teeth of ideology, and it concerns women’s rights, women’s lives, women’s choices and women’s freedom. Justice for women is on the chopping block.

Called “End Modern Slavery Initiative Act,” the bill’s intent is to “do something” about human trafficking globally and had strong bipartisan support. It provides for the formation of a foundation that would fund international programs: $5.1 billion to be raised by taxes, foreign governments and the private sector.

Generally, human trafficking has two major markets: labor and sex. Only women get pregnant on the sex market. They alone know the rage of being impregnated by a person who has enslaved them.

How does this fund help her? Could it, for example, pay for an abortion should she want that? Could she have that choice? Could she be respected and supported for her choice, whatever it may be?

Before the bill came up for vote, Republicans apparently slipped in a phrase that would forbid the use of this international fund for abortions. The Democrats are firm their position: It will not pass with an anti-abortion bias.

OK, the right-wing says, we’ll just hold the nomination for the next attorney general — an imminently qualified black woman named Loretta Lynch — hostage until this bill, with the abortion ban, passes.

Thankfully, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are championing the call to remove this oppressive language.

Nancy Galland

Stockton Springs