Questions for Poliquin
It’s been said that what occurs as tragedy comes back to us as farce. The vote in the House of Representatives on the American Health Care Act, 217-213, managed to roll tragedy and farce into one.
Despite all the bluster, the ACHA vote wasn’t about health care at all. It was really about politics and tax cuts.
First of all, House members, about to leave for a district “work week,” had to have something to show after seven years of proclaiming “repeal-and-replace.” Second, Donald President Trump urgently needed something to pin to his 100-day trophy wall, which remained embarrassingly bare. And finally, the little-noticed tax provisions of the AHCA are the under-cover first step toward giving a banquet of tax breaks to the people who need them least.
Rep. Bruce Poliquin has explained his vote for the bill this way: “With bipartisan Maine reforms at the center of this new bill, and with Maine having ensured essential health benefits and pre-existing conditions are covered under state laws, I have decided to vote yes on this health care legislation.”
Will Poliquin take time this week to meet with his constituents and explain his view more fully? Don’t count on it.
We need climate information
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website home page has nothing on it to allow citizens to connect to information about climate change. The Trump Administration has deleted this information.
As of today, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration still has a great deal of climate information on its website. The monthly summary from its Climate and Prediction Center is “part of a suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia, and the public to support informed decision-making.” March 2017 was the second warmest March on record for the globe.
Please contact our congressional representatives and ask that climate change information be restored to the EPA website and that funding be increased for EPA and NOAA climate information.
We need our representatives to make the correct policy decisions based on the factual information for our health, safety and economy. There are two recent examples why. Not only did people die in the recent intense flooding in the middle of the U.S., but early estimates are $1 billion in costs from the flooding. The famine in South Sudan and Somalia is caused in part by drought.
Monument is making positive difference
I’ve watched the Katahdin region struggle for years. Since the establishment of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, only months ago, I’ve already seen an increase in visitors to our region, and the economic impact they bring to Patten, my town, and our local businesses.
I own The White Birch Inn and am the marketing chair for the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitor Bureau. My fellow business owners and I are thinking outside the box and diversifying ourselves. We’re moving toward becoming a sustainable and vibrant region. We now have a focal point and emerging vision.
I can already see our community prospering again and the business community is communicating together on effective ways to market our resources, develop packaging, create partnerships and produce collateral that enhances the customer experience.
I just purchased a motel and the adjacent land in Patten and plan to revitalize the motel to offer visitors the “Northwoods” experience. We also are adding a gift shop featuring Maine made artisans and an event center and a barbecue take-out facility.
For me the decision to invest in our community was simple. Economic vitality and pride are once again walking in our streets.
Gov. Paul LePage recently testified that none of this is happening, that this beautiful place is a cut-over wasteland full of mosquitoes thereby discouraging tourism and the economic vitality it will bring to rural, Northern Maine.
I hope Rep. Bruce Poliquin takes a public stand for the monument and many businesses investing, hiring, and welcoming monument visitors to our communities.
Accept more refugees
The refugee crisis is affecting the world and impacting international relations. The crisis is putting enormous stress on countries such as Greece and surrounding countries. With countries closing borders and refusing to allow entry to refugees, the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II.
The United States should be taking many more refugees. These individuals are important to the U.S. because they bring their culture and knowledge. The United States should grant asylum to more refugees.
The Trump administration’s travel ban is not a wise decision and is only harming international relationships between the U.S. and the rest of the world. It already takes 18 to 24 months for a refugee to earn refugee status in the United States.
Maine is impacted by the travel ban because of the fact that some communities have a large percentage of ethnic groups and the ban directly affects these individuals. In Lewiston-Auburn the population had declined significantly from the 1990s and in 2001 Somali refugees came and started new lives in Lewiston-Auburn. That revitalized to the floundering milltown, many business are Somali and continue to lead this community towards a brighter future.
Maine has a declining population and a smaller workforce because of the percentage of elderly in Maine. Refugees help boost Maine’s economy because they are entering the workforce and are more likely to start businesses. By accepting refugees the United States population continues to grow and diversify. Both in the United States and internationally many more refugees should be granted asylum.
A free press is essential
President Donald Trump appears to be on a campaign to convince Americans not to trust what they hear in the news. When he tweets about “ fake news,” he isn’t talking about the National Enquirer. He is tweeting about the “dishonest news media,” the “failing New York Times” and the “failing Washington Post.”
It is shocking to me that a president would strive to discredit the national news media, including some of the most respected news organizations in our country. A free press is a hallmark of democracy. An informed citizenry requires access to independent information and analysis in addition to official government sources.
Why would a president encourage the public to disbelieve what’s being reported in the news? Few presidents love the press, but this seems to me to be entirely inappropriate and un-presidential.