Leadership criteria

In his Dec. 17 column, conservative Republican Matthew Gagnon states “I will never support anyone who reeks of authoritarianism” when referring to his choice for president of the United States. Apparently he does not hold this same criterion for our Republican governor.

David Basley


Ranked-choice voting will improve elections

Maine voters have become increasingly frustrated with the current political climate. Elections have lost civility and integrity. Candidates running for office have grown to rely on attack ads and negative campaigning with less face-to-face contact with voters. Elections have become less competitive and more about which candidate can outlast the others. Regardless of personal beliefs, voters are waiting for more solutions and less finger pointing.

Ranked-choice voting is a statewide referendum question that will appear on Maine’s November 2016 ballot. The majority of voters agree something needs to change. Mainers soon will have the opportunity to join other cities and nations that have proven ranked-choice voting to be a beneficial reform. This system guarantees a majority winner, promotes issue-based campaigns and, perhaps most importantly, provides an opportunity for dialogue and understanding.

Ranked-choice voting is not designed to benefit one group of voters over another. It does, however, benefit candidates who are willing to approach those voters and discuss even the most difficult issues. Maine’s long history of electing Republicans, Democrats and independents won’t change under a ranked-choice system.

By implementing ranked-choice voting in Maine, our political landscape would shift dramatically to one that is more open and honest. With ranked-choice voting, an election can only be won with a majority. This requires candidates to show determination and vigor. This is what I believe we need from our elected officials. With elections being more competitive, the views and concerns of the voter come into focus, once again.

Griffin Johnson


Sen. King should lead on national park

I do not understand why Sen. Angus King has not come out publically in support of a national park or national monument in the Katahdin region — a no brainer to me and so many of my neighbors. Is it because he is holding tight to the forest products industry’s claim that air quality restrictions would prevent future industrial development near to the park? I hope not, because those claims are false.

Since the adoption of the Clean Air Act in 1977, there has not been a single reclassification of air quality standards in areas near where new national parks have been created. Not one. This means there is no evidence the presence of a national park or national monument in the Katahdin region would prohibit future industrial development.

A national park alone will not return the Katahdin region to what it once was but can be a part of a larger effort. I am assured there is room for many different economic development opportunities in this area. We need a leader such as King to deliver the only economic development opportunity on the table today: a new national park.

Maria Gifford

East Millinocket

Christmas tree political correctness at its worse

I read with disgust the Dec. 22 BDN article about the Bangor High School teacher told to remove her Pink Hello Kitty Christmas tree from her classroom. This is another example of political correctness gone mad.

Those who claim they are offended by such things as Christmas trees or greetings such as “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” also would be the ones screaming the loudest if they didn’t get Christmas off from work.

I am so tired of the political correctness and hypocrisy that seems to rear its head every Christmas and has only gotten much worse in the last few years. Let’s face facts: Christmas is, first and foremost, a religious holiday based on the Christian religion. Get over it.

Timothy Grant