America not safe under Trump

As a lifelong Republican, I have supported every one of the party’s presidential candidates since Dwight D. Eisenhower. In several instances, I had to “hold my nose,” but I was loyal to the party.

In 2016, however, the question is: Can I put party loyalty above the safety of our country? The answer has to be no. I cannot believe Republican leaders are slowly but surely moving into the Donald Trump camp.

Can you imagine that unstable man holding the power to launch nuclear missiles?

Nathaniel Bond


Family breakdown erodes morals

The morality of our nation can be judged by the way men treat women and children. I am writing to raise awareness of the thousands of women and children who are sexually assaulted each year. Unreported date rape should be part of the equation. Many assaults go unreported for fear of reprisals.

The reason we have a decline in morals is the breakdown of the family. Couples that no longer honor marriage vows forget they are the first teachers of their children. Teaching moral direction and discipline. And the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you want to be treated.”

Churchgoing families will benefit from the saying, “without faith, your children will never be rich, and with faith, they will never be poor.”

Joseph Riitano Sr.


Gratwick, Metz need ethics lesson

Retired ophthalmologist Gerald A. Metz of Addison in a May 24 BDN letter to the editor jumped into the quagmire caused by his friend, retired doctor Geoff Gratwick of Bangor, regarding Gratwick’s failure to disclose his conflict of interest in voting for Medicaid increases in the state Senate, while his medical practice received $1.8 million in 2012 from Medicaid.

Ethics 101 teaches people that any direct or indirect pecuniary benefit an elected official receives or could receive in his professional practice from a governmental program, such as Medicaid, requires disclosure and recusal from the vote on expanding that program. As former Bangor Mayor Larry Willey said during his Senate campaign kick-off, if court-appointed attorneys fees came before him for a Senate vote, as a lawyer, he will disclose the conflict of interest and recuse himself from voting to expand those fees. This is basic ethics. I congratulate Willey for his clear statement on ethics in government.

In 2012, Gratwick and his supporters claimed then-Sen. Nichi Farnham violated political action committee rules. She was cleared by the Ethics Commission. Metz and Gratwick need a course in basic ethics, and their name-calling of those who tell the truth needs to stop.

Rebecca Baker


Gratwick has no conflict of interest

N. Laurence Willey, a Republican candidate for Senate District 9, in a May 10 BDN letter to the editor challenged incumbent Sen. Geoff Gratwick to reveal the payments he has received from Medicaid, presumably for health care services. Willey and Gerald Thibodeau, his campaign treasurer, in a May 28 BDN letter to the editor have implied and explicitly stated that Gratwick has a conflict of interest because his championing of Medicaid expansion in the Legislature will benefit him financially.

I understand Gratwick retired from private medical practice in 2013. His only medical activity now and since 2013 does not involve him billing Medicaid for any patient care he provides.

I can attest that Medicaid providers derive little financial benefit from the health care services they provide. Medicaid patients often present with complex health issues that require greater than average time and effort to manage. Medicaid expansion would result in more persons seeking care. It would not change the challenge to the provider, and it will not improve reimbursement.

Currently, the lack of any coverage for thousands of Maine residents who are ineligible for insurance constitutes an enormous additional obligation for providers, especially hospitals, to provide unreimbursed charity care.

Kudos to Gratwick for his unstinting efforts to obtain passage of Medicaid expansion. Perhaps, consistent with his challenge to Gratwick, Willey will provide a public accounting of all income received by his firm from government sources — not an unreasonable quid pro quo.

Charles T. McHugh, M.D.


Hiroshima bombing saved more lives

Regarding, President Barack Obama’s May 27 visit to the Hiroshima bomb site, I think the Japanese should be grateful the United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It saved thousands of American lives but even more Japanese lives by forcing their government to capitulate. Even so, it took several days before they gave up. The emperor was a leading militarist, and he would surely have continued the war with terrible destruction.

I suggest the Japanese prime minister, hopefully with support from the emperor, thanks the U.S. and President Harry S. Truman for saving thousands of lives on both sides and finally bringing World War II to an end.

Par Kettis


Support ranked-choice voting

I’m ready to pivot from intense focus on the national election. There’s much to be decided in state and local matters. It’s on us to walk into the voting booth well informed.

One referendum in particular seems like magic, but that’s always what common sense feels like. With ranked-choice voting, you’ll mark down your top choice, your second choice and so on. Each candidate has a weighted result on the end of the day. There are three big reasons I want ranked-choice voting for Maine.

First, ranked-choice voting puts our democracy back in the hands of voters, ensuring a majority. Out of the last 11 elections for governor, nine of them were elected with less than a majority of the vote. Also, we’ll get to voice our opinion through ranking candidates relative to each other, so our vote will say more.

Second, the magic doesn’t just happen in the ballot booth. Candidates have the chance to be your second choice, so they’ll tell you more about what they’re for, not what they’re against. It’ll be a fool’s errand to campaign negatively against opponents, as their target might be your No. 1 choice.

Third, there’s no such thing as a spoiler or a wasted vote. New people or parties outside of the norm won’t be seen as an unwelcome guests crashing a party. I’m proud of Maine’s independent streak, and this referendum ensures fresh ideas are heard.

I want ranked-choice voting.

Anne Bryant