Tax carbon emissions

Recently the BDN has written about proposed cuts to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Maine Sea Grant program. On March 29, David Cousens wrote an excellent OpEd about how these cuts would adversely impact Maine’s lobster fisheries. NOAA, along with predicting the weather, helps us understand environmental trends such as the unprecedented warming of the Gulf of Maine. Maine Sea Grant funds research projects, including the impact of warmer oceans on the lobster fishing industry. Perhaps the administration figures that by cutting out scientific research, they can prevent us from noticing that our climate is changing, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to fool the lobsters or the fishermen.

We can follow the example of former Secretary of State James Baker, who said he was skeptical that human activity was the main cause of global warming, but the stakes were too high for inaction. He and other prominent Republicans say that taxing carbon pollution is “ a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles. It’s the most cost-effective means to reduce emissions. It levels the playing field for energy choices. And it promotes the evolution of new technologies. A proposed dividend returned to each household could offset the extra cost of fuel.

A 2016 Yale survey found 66 percent of registered voters supported a carbon tax on fossil fuels. Pricing carbon pollution is a simple solution with a big impact; it just needs more people speaking up in our communities. Let our representatives in Congress know that we want them to support a price on carbon.

Dorothy Lippincott

Hampden

It’s time for Medicare for all

Congress has a unique opportunity to lead a historic bipartisan effort to fix our ailing health care system. Voters want comprehensive coverage for all Americans, including the elderly, sick, and poor. And they want to contain the ongoing growth in costs.

The Affordable Care Act has led us closer to the goal of comprehensive coverage for all. It established a core set of essential services, and eliminated coverage caps and coverage denials because of pre-existing illnesses. It also created financial support for people based on need.

Ultimately, in order for our system to work, it will need to cover everyone, not just low-risk groups at one end or high-risk pools at the other end. The most promising solution is Medicare for all. One of the best rewards of my 65th birthday was the knowledge that I could afford guaranteed comprehensive health care through Medicare. I have a choice now among standard simplified policies, containing all the essentials, which are easy to understand and compare. I get to choose my doctors, and I get all of my needed care.

In addition to establishing Medicare for all, Congress can achieve massive savings by allowing for negotiated pricing with pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Finally, insurance companies should be required to compete nationally and be prohibited from abandoning less profitable regions. If this all sounds like too much change too quickly, then Congress can at the very least take the first steps by lowering the Medicare age and giving more people the freedom to choose Medicare for comprehensive, affordable coverage.

Philip Elkin

Stonington

Collins demonstrates dignity, respect

As a business owner in Maine, I would like to thank Sen. Susan Collins. We are fortunate to have a senator who convenes people rather than divides. We are in an unprecedented time of division and disarray and this is the time for mature visionaries to hold the middle.

We are neither all good nor all bad, and because we disagree does not mean that we also need to devolve into name-calling and brinksmanship. We are in need of politicians who can hold the center. When we are in opposition there is also room for dignity and respect.

Thanks to Collins for holding that virtue. Our future depends on collaboration and dialogue, which is not the same as selling out. We are not the enemy of the people, we are the people.

Margo Walsh

Falmouth

Collins an advocate for potatoes

Every February potato growers from Maine, along with representatives of the Maine Potato Board, participate in the National Potato Council Fly-In in Washington, D.C. During this week of meetings, time is set aside for visits with our members of Congress.

With these visits behind us I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Sen. Susan Collins for the many years of service and advocacy she has provided the Maine potato industry. Being a County girl has served her, and us, very well. We appreciate her thoughtful approach to the issues that impact our industry.

Thanks to Collins for showing care for the Maine potato industry.

Timothy Hobbs

Director of development and grower relations

Maine Potato Board

Presque Isle

Fighting drug addiction

In 2016, drug overdoses claimed the lives of 378 Mainers, a nearly 40 percent increase over the previous year. In response, Mainers are stepping up to support their neighbors who are struggling with addiction through organizations like the volunteer-run Bangor Area Recovery Network in Brewer.

As one of the board members of BARN, I recently invited Sen. Susan Collins to come to the facility and meet with the members of leadership. During her visit, we spoke with Collins about BARN’s programs to help those recovering from addiction as well as their families. BARN hosts more than 110 recovery meetings each month and receives an average of 1,500 visits monthly.

Collins has worked hard at the federal level to secure the funding and resources necessary to fight the scourge of addiction that is harming too many families and communities. We appreciate her support for programs like BARN and know that she will continue to be a strong advocate for us in Washington.

The growing epidemic of drug abuse affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds. In the face of this tragedy, however, it is heartening to see the community rallying to assist their neighbors in need. Maine is fortunate to have representatives like Collins who care deeply about this problem and are committed to finding bipartisan solutions.

In meetings with her, she always wants to talk with individuals and listen to their thoughts. She uses this information to make decisions in the best interest of her constituents.

Jerry Goss

Brewer