Alzheimer’s support appreciated

I recently visited Sen. Susan Collins’ office to thank her for supporting additional funds for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health. We also discussed the personal financial impact on Mainers who love and care for those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is devastating our communities, our state and our nation, both financially and emotionally, across all demographics. I would like to thank Collins for making Alzheimer’s such a large priority — for making us, the 15 million Americans who provide unpaid care to those they love, such a large priority. Without individuals such as Collins, the fight against Alzheimer’s would be even more daunting.

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. This is a perfect time to publicly share our stories of Alzheimer’s and come together against this disease. Let’s join Collins in the fight. Together we can bring an end to this devastating disease.

Laura Rivers

Old Town

Misplaced campaign attacks

I am disappointed in the tone of N. Laurence Willey’s state Senate campaign as expressed in a May 28 letter to the editor by his campaign treasurer, Gerald Thibodeau. The characterization of Sen. Geoff Gratwick as benefiting personally from his votes to expand MaineCare questions any doctor who sees low-income patients and advocates for better public health.

Willey’s attack shows he has not done his homework. Gratwick has retired from his medical practice and has zero financial benefit if this sensible and overdue expansion, embraced by 23 other states, were adopted by Maine.

We live in an era where public policy and health care go hand in hand. Taking care of our elderly and the infirm is a huge public expenditure.

We are fortunate — we have two professional people running for the Maine Senate. Gratwick has more than four decades of experience as a physician and a record of public service. Willey is an attorney with a record as well. I hope both professionals will run their campaign by taking the high road and focusing on the issues at hand.

Rich Couch

Hermon

Climate change not good for anyone

Demographers are forecasting an exodus of northerners to “the faster-growing Sun Belt states for the warmer climate,” as reported in a May 28 BDN story. It’s surprising that they are ignoring the red flag of climate change. In the time period discussed, the Sun Belt may become the Insufferably Hot Belt, also subject to more severe storms off the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and to droughts and serious water shortages in the west, all exacerbated by the heating planet.

South and west likely will be increasingly plagued with health issues from ozone and fossil-fuel particulate pollution in the air; increased diseases caused by insects moving into new geographic ranges; and, similarly, pests, invasive plants and viruses taking a toll on agriculture and forests. So Maine may be sitting pretty by comparison.

One caution, however: Climate change will have its effects on Maine, too, in future years. The answer for all of us, north, south, east and west, is to put an increasing fee on carbon fuel, with proceeds returned to households, to incentivize the rapid development of clean energy.

Marianne Gabel

Deer Isle

Time for new voting system

I support ranked-choice voting because it will allow me to vote for the candidate I most support, without the need to think strategically or fear inadvertently splitting the vote, which could help to elect my least favorite candidate.

In the many three-way gubernatorial races we have had in Maine over the last 40 years, voters have found themselves in the position of having to choose between the candidate they strongly support and the candidate who was tolerable but who had a better chance of winning. Ranked-choice voting would rightfully put an end to the need for this kind of strategic voting.

Beyond the benefits to voters, this system has also been shown to reduce negative campaigning because candidates have to reach out to broader bases of support in order to earn a majority vote.

Ultimately, a ranked-choice voting system positively changes voting and candidate behavior. When voters feel as though they have more choice and candidates feel as though there is an incentive to talk about the issues as opposed to personal attacks, more Mainers will be encouraged and excited to participate in the democratic process.

Susan Shell

Montville

Lawmakers on walkabout

The people whom we vote into office to represent us in Augusta are sworn to do just that, represent us, which does require them to be present when there is a vote being taken.

Recently, when the Legislature met and voted to override LePage’s veto on the solar bill LD 1649, there were five Republican House members who joined in the initial vote to override the governor’s veto. The next step was to have this bill brought up again for a vote, which took place within an hour. But those five Republicans, plus one more, were missing. It seems they were ” taking a walk.” That may seems a bit strange, until one is told this is an Augusta saying that translates to “sitting in the House Republican office to avoid having to vote; to avoid doing their sworn job; to avoid having their vote on their record.”

So the people in Knox, Fairfield, Cumberland, China, Bowdoinham and Oxford had no representation on that rather important bill, which would have brought hundreds of jobs to the state. This event might be a wake-up call to all Mainers to start noticing if their representatives might be “taking a little walkabout” when votes are being taken.

People of my advanced age may remember a large record company called RCA. They had a famous ad which had a dog sitting in front of an old-fashioned record player with his head cocked to one side with the message, “Listening to his master’s voice.”

Marcia Kola

Deer Isle

Long against Agenda 21

Each year, Rep. Ricky Long, R-Sherman, introduces a constitutional amendment bill to ban United Nations Agenda 21 from Maine and each time the Democrats vote the bill down and do not allow Mainers the right to vote on the amendment.

Closing of the paper mills is part of Agenda 21.

Long has been a fighter for the Constitution and the working people of Maine. He is running for the Maine Senate District 2 and he needs our vote in the June 14 Republican primary.

Gene Trisch

Springfield