The arrogance of political parties

I was pleased to see Vic Berardelli’s April 2 BDN OpEd. In it he reminded the parties that 41 percent of the Maine electorate are unenrolled in a political party and noted that a bill to shift to a primary election system would leave those voters disenfranchised while they foot the bill for a primary.

He reminded us of the arrogance of Sen. Justin Alfond, who said that all independent voters have to do to participate is enroll. Some of us were raised in a culture that taught us not to lie, cheat or steal, and what Alfond would have us do is lie to vote. And we won’t do it.

The arrogance of parties extends beyond this. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were independents, not buying into the mainstream philosophy of the political parties that they now represent, and this is the reason that the parties’ establishments are having difficulties with them.

Perhaps if the parties stood back a little and listened to the voices of the disenfranchised, the independents, the unenrolled, the people who are turning out for Sanders and Trump, they might learn something. Meanwhile, if Maine changes to a primary system, it should be paid for by the parties if the unenrolled are excluded. Or, perhaps they fear open primaries.

Ben Fuller


Clinton for president

When Hillary Clinton graduated from law school, she could had gone to a high-paying law firm, but instead chose to work for the underprivileged, for whom she has fought her whole career.

I personally think that many men in the political and media world are intimidated by her and women are jealous. Clinton can debate with the best of them, that’s for sure.

No one has been vetted more than her. To the media, Bernie Sanders walks on water; they never scrutinize him. He calls himself a Washington outsider, but how can that be when he has been in Congress since 1990? He makes so many promises to young voters that will be impossible to keep, yet they believe every word he speaks.

Clinton never makes promises that she can’t keep. I’m sure she’s made missteps along the way but haven’t we all? That’s called growing. Clinton has paid her dues in full to the American people and deserves to be the next president of the United States. What a great accomplishment that would be.

Estelle J. Bowden


Home health care workers deserve a raise

With each passing year, as our state ages, the demand for home health care workers is increasing, especially across rural and northern Maine.

I worked as a home health care worker years ago, and I, like many who have worked in the field, was forced out of the field because of the low pay. I went to college and got a better-paying job, and this is a recurring problem. People keep leaving a field that is understaffed because of a lack of pay.

The Legislature has already passed a bill to increase reimbursement rates through Medicaid, but they have yet to fund it. This year, with the surplus, we should invest in the future. Maine has an opportunity to keep young people from leaving our state and to keep people from leaving the home health care field, which forces seniors into nursing homes.

Let’s give home health care workers a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work to take care of our seniors and disabled. It will give young people real opportunities in Maine, and give our economy the boost it needs.

Sarah Hooper


Raise the minimum wage

I’m 20 years old and I am the father of an 8-month-old daughter. I know firsthand how difficult it is to raise a family on $7.50 an hour. People living on the minimum wage can never be prepared for what life throws at them. Even in low-income housing, food and everyday necessities take up a whole paycheck. So, when a medical emergency arises, it is hard to find the funds to take care of the family, a situation I encountered after my fiancee recently lost MaineCare.

What Mainers need to understand is that raising the minimum wage gives families like us the opportunity to provide for our daughter and ensure that she has all the necessities she needs to live a full and healthy life. Stories like ours are very common. Families like ours are depending on you this November to vote yes and raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

Patrick Gambel


Don’t vote Trump

No woman should vote for Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman. No woman should vote for Donald Trump, period.

Aynne Ames


National park opponents wrong

Barry Burgason wrote in a March 28 OpEd that the area within the proposed national park and recreation area is undeserving. He is wrong; the land is worth preserving with a park. He focuses so closely on the perceived deficiencies that he misses the forest for the trees. Maine’s North Woods represents one of the country’s last and largest contiguous forests east of the Mississippi River. This is the very definition of unique. His stance is not surprising; his employer owns and manages significant acreage in the Katahdin region.

Burgason states that the area would be better off if the status quo was maintained, meaning the public continues to rely on private landowners to allow public access. This sentiment is often expressed by park opponents when they say that they oppose a park because it would bring unwelcome “ government oversight” into the area.

Percival Proctor Baxter fought against this same anti-government and pro-private sentiment in 1921 while trying to establish what has become Baxter State Park. In a speech at the Maine Sportsmen Fish and Game Association in 1921, Baxter described “today’s tendency to decry public ownership, a cry often raised by those who seek to perpetuate their long-standing private ownership of natural resources.”

Let’s not forget that the creation of Baxter State Park was strongly opposed in its day. With eight decades of hindsight, it is obvious that preserving that land with public ownership was the right thing to do. Park opponents like Burgason were wrong in 1921, and they are wrong today.

Andrew Edwards