Mainers support national monument
It was quite an event last Wednesday in Millinocket at the congressional field hearing requested by Rep. Bruce Poliquin about the proposed national monument in Maine’s North Woods.
By a 4-to-1 majority, the people from the Katahdin region spoke eloquently about the area’s economic collapse and the need for a new vision at a public session after the hearing. Many who testified were young and spoke about their experience visiting the federal lands out west. About a half-hour into the public testimony, one person complained about the “kangaroo court” led by folks from away and asked people who supported a national monument to stand. About three-quarters of the people in the room stood up. At that point U.S. Rep. Bob Bishop of Utah, who led the field hearing, stood up and excused himself.
The testimony continued for more than two hours with a final count of 12 speaking in opposition and 48 speaking in support of a national monument. Clearly, the people of the Katahdin region have been misrepresented by a vocal minority who are looking to the past for solutions to today’s economic reality.
The testimony from Millinocket was very clear. The real question is whether Poliquin was listening.
Ranked-choice voting good fit for Maine
There has been a lot of discussion about the November election, but I think one of the most important issues voters will face at the polls this year is the statewide referendum on ranked-choice voting. If passed, this system would be applied to federal and state primaries and general elections in Maine, beginning in the 2018 election cycle.
When we rank the people running for office, we vote with our hearts, without fear that we are throwing away our vote. This gives voters a way to come to compromise on the people who will lead us all, rather than forcing voters to play the game of voting “against” a particular candidate.
In a place such as Maine, with strong independent candidates, this makes sense. It gives people the freedom to speak up for the people they believe in, and it can bring new ideas and minds into the conversation. Without ranked-choice voting, voters play the game of trying to choose the most likely winner.
I want to vote with my heart, not my fears. Ranked-choice voting makes sense for me and for Maine.
Work together to improve bus system
Whether you’ve used the Community Connector service or know those who have, please know that the bus system is crucial to the communities it serves six days per week in various ways.
Transportation For All is a group of individuals from these communities working to effect much-needed improvements in the bus system.
You can help. More participation is needed from Bangor’s neighboring communities to give voice on their behalf. Riding the bus is not required to be heard. Attending a Transportation For All meetings is a great way to learn more and show support.
The Community Connector and all associated with it can do only so much, separately. Leverage is vital to any organization, business or system to achieve better results. Teams working together evenly distribute the required work. It’s better that 100 people work one hour each instead of one person working 100 hours. The load is lightened, and the teams are then eager to handle another challenge.
Transportation For All meetings are held 9 to 11 a.m. the first and third Thursdays every month at the Hammond Street Congregational Church.
Zeigler for House District 96
How fortunate for us that Montville resident Stanley Paige Zeigler is running as the Democratic candidate in House District 96 — Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont. Having captained a marine research vessel for many years, Zeigler knows how to lead people —with different goals, experiences and expectations — through all kinds of weather.
Zeigler is a man of great warmth, intelligence and curiosity who is always eager to learn more about what Maine people are thinking and what he can do to help them. Since retiring, Zeiglar enthusiastically has embraced his role as Montville representative on the Regional School Unit 3 board and the board of the local recycling center.
Be thankful Zeigler is ready and willing to serve you and your family. Please give him your full support on June 14 and in November.
Honoring fallen military members
The Hermon High School Junior ROTC cadets, under the leadership of retired Maj. Marcel Fortier and retired 1st Sgt. Rob Jenkins, carried the “Banners of Heroes” in the Memorial Day parade, as they had for the Veterans Day parade last November. These young people are very respectful, dedicated and committed to doing their best, and I want to thank them for helping me to honor the Maine military members and those with ties to Maine who have lost their lives since Sept. 11, 2001. It is with pride that I commend this largest Junior ROTC organization in the state.
Gagnon wrong about ranked-choice voting
As a citizen interested in politics, as well as a student in a mass media course this summer at the University of Maine, I’m aware of the impact media have on politics and voter perception. I feel Matthew Gagnon misrepresented, in his June 1 BDN column, what ranked-choice voting is about and its benefits, and I think people should hear both sides of the issue.
The point I have the biggest problem with is the idea that ranked-choice voting is more confusing and convoluted. Candidates with the lowest number of votes are eliminated, and whoever listed them as their first choice will have their ballots added to their second choice’s numbers. This is repeated until a winner is decided. In the age of computers, this is not as big of a problem as it is made to be.
I think the best reason to implement ranked-choice voting is to reduce “tactical voting.” In this election in particular, that is something I’ve encountered a lot — people voting against a candidate, such as Donald Trump, instead of for one. If they could rank their choices, they wouldn’t have to do that.
It’s for this reason I support the ballot initiative to implement ranked-choice voting for Maine elections.