January 18, 2018
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Friday, March 3, 2017: Rep. Poliquin evasive on issues, MDOT’s annoying roadside messages, STEM jobs paradox

Poliquin evasive on issues

Last week, Rep. Bruce Poliquin did not comment on whether he supports or opposes Gov. Paul LePage’s letter to President Donald Trump asking him to rescind the designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. This adds to a growing list of issues on which Poliquin has played coy, such as Trump’s travel ban or Trump’s presidential candidacy. His evasiveness leaves a lot of 2nd Congressional District voters wondering where Poliquin stands.

At the same time, we’re also left wondering, where is Poliquin? He has not held town halls, despite repeated requests from constituents. His staff told callers that his schedule was completely booked for the congressional recess week, but they could give no information on where he might be or with whom he might be meeting. The “ events” section on his website remained blank.

I visited Poliquin’s office last week with a group of concerned citizens. His aide informed us that while Poliquin had been informed about our visit, he would not be present. The aide was friendly and polite, but apparently uninformed: he said he knew nothing of Poliquin’s whereabouts, and said he didn’t even know where the congressman had been during the week of the congressional recess.

When he won re-election, Poliquin said that “ folks in the 2nd District are my customers.” I think he owes us a little more than this string of evasions and absences. Showing his face would be a welcome start.

Jenny Davis


STEM jobs paradox

I find it curious, odd and suspicious that Maine employers say they cannot find applicants for their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs when so many recent graduates in STEM fields are leaving the state because they cannot find jobs here.

Perhaps potential, well-qualified applicants are put off by deceptive ads some employers run for what appear to be entry-level jobs, but when applicants drill down into the application they find the employer really wants several years of experience. Perhaps it is the subtle discrimination of asking applicants to check off the school from which they graduated or received their certificates, but only listing some of the thousands of 4-year colleges and providing no place to write in a different school.

It is wonderful that the Harold Alfond Foundation wants to help graduates in STEM fields pay off their student loans, but the money would be better spent helping Maine STEM graduates find STEM jobs in Maine.

Helen A. Shaw


Proud of Maine law enforcement

I am writing at the close of a long and difficult trial for the murder of Heidi Pratt and Michael Kitchen. This has been a challenging three years for many neighbors, families and friends in Oakfield and surrounding communities in southern Aroostook County.

I want to personally thank the agencies, officers and other team members for their professionalism and compassion for those most deeply affected by these tragic events. In a time when conflict and disagreements divide many communities from those sworn to protect and serve, I couldn’t be prouder of our state police, courts and state attorneys. Our justice system worked slowly and surely toward its goal, and these fine individuals treated the witnesses and grieving families with the utmost respect.

In this case of many different locations and events, determining the best way to move forward took perseverance. Through it all, the state’s victim advocate was a constant source of comfort and a compass to find the way through a confusing and unfamiliar process. The state went out of its way to ensure those of us who were needed to testify at the court in Washington County were treated with respect and dignity.

I feel indeed fortunate to live in a place where our law enforcement representatives are a living embodiment of professionalism and strength in our rural communities. We owe them a great debt for their work each and every day. I salute the members of the law enforcement agencies that worked this case as they were on the front lines of bringing this investigation, trial and verdict to a conclusion.

David Gordon

President and owner

Katahdin Forest Products


MDOT’s annoying messages

If the Maine Department of Transportation wants to cut down on distracted driving, it should start with shutting off its fancy, roadside alert signs provided by the federal government. Just because it has them doesn’t mean the department has to use them.

Messages like “Santa sees you when you’re speeding” and “Turn signals — the original instant message” are completely unnecessary and make drivers take their eyes off the road. Also “Ice and snow — take it slow” when all driving lanes are clear and dry is beyond annoying.

The department should only be posting a message when it is necessary and relevant, otherwise drivers will naturally begin to ignore the signs as they are just more clutter in the landscape.

I thought Maine had a no-billboards law? I think the department is in violation.

Theresa Triandafillou


Portland body camera debate

I was deeply disturbed by a quote from Portland City Manager Jon Jennings in a Feb. 23 BDN article about the debate over police body cameras in Portland.

Asked why Mayor Ethan Strimling hadn’t been informed of federal money for a pilot program on police body cameras, Jennings said, “To be honest, it’s not his responsibility. Wherever the funds come from is not his concern.”

Jennings is paid by the residents of Portland, who also elected the mayor. To whom, then, is the city manager responsible, if not to the voters’ elected representative?

Patricia Washburn


Promote, protect welfare of the people

Our Founding Fathers included in the the Declaration of Independence that we formed a government to promote the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of the people.

So is it really un-American to have affordable health care, affordable education, and promoting and protecting the welfare of the people as conservative Republicans would have us believe?

Steven Roth

Swans Island


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