No oil drilling in the Arctic

Last month, Donald Trump announced his first budget as president of the United States. That budget included an interesting provision that surprised me. His budget called for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

I remember when President George W. Bush wanted to open the Arctic refuge for drilling for oil. But I cannot remember Bush pursuing this policy as part of his budget. I recall a single bill on the issue, with all of the debate and discussion that comes along with it. Representatives discussed and explained their votes for months, and heard extensive feedback from their constituents.

Recently, that is nothing like how budgets get made in Washington. Our representatives have developed a nasty habit of delaying their work until the last possible moment, and frantically coming to agreement in the dark of night.

It scares me that this haphazard version of budgeting could sweep up an issue as important as protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While I am no fan of drilling in this region, surely those on either side of the issue can agree that it is a decision worthy of discussion, debate and a straightforward vote in Washington.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Susan Collins should know how messy the Washington budget process can be. I have been appreciative of her opposition to drilling in the Arctic refuge in the past. It is my hope that Collins will use her expertise and seniority to ensure that this issue stays out of any budget.

Clyde Morse

Hallowell

Maine needs universal family care

As my parents aged, I saw firsthand how important it is to have good systems of family care in place. I saw my mother deteriorating. My father took care of her as long as he could. The decision to eventually put her in a nursing home was not easy. Neither my sister nor I made enough money to pay for private care, and she was in the nursing home until the day she died.

She used her insurance, and died after working hard all her life, but still could not live at home. Universal family care might have changed that. It was not available to her, so I watched her decline always asking to go home. Home care is something that can help people stay in their homes until the very end.

I am now old enough to wonder about my long-term plan. Hopefully, I will not find myself in the same predicament. The ability to stay in my home will be something I consider strongly after watching my parents’ end of life.

Over 100,000 seniors in Maine are depending on us to help them age in place. Let them die in their own homes with the proper care. Rep. Drew Gattine’s universal family care bill — LD 1612 — is an excellent first step to helping seniors retain their independence and dignity as they age.

Skip Worcester

Bangor

Help retired pensioners

Gov. Paul LePage, in his present budget proposal, has a section concerning all retiree pensions. If passed by the Legislature, and then signed by him into law, it would exclude the first $35,000 of all retirees’ pensions from the state income tax. This is up from the present $15,000. It would increase it from $15,000 by $5,000 a year until it reaches $35,000.

Contact your state senator and representative and the Appropriations Committee and ask them to support this. Because of bipartisan actions, the implementation of the state budget may be delayed. Regardless, let our government representatives know you would appreciate their support.

I always contact my government representatives because they are supposed to represent me and other people. As soon as possible let them know you exist and demand they recognize that retirees living on fixed incomes need their help and support.

Karen E. Holmes

Cooper

Implement ranked-choice voting

We the people, 388,000 of us (the second largest yes vote on a state referendum), want ranked-choice voting. We voted for it. I especially want it because I believe it would pull us together. Each candidate would have to appeal to people from both parties.

We’ve become so divided that I believe that is the only way our representatives will listen to both sides, and that will only happen if candidates have to appeal to both sides. I urge everyone to speak up and speak out so this referendum, in its entirely, will become the law.

Joasha Dundas

Franklin

Monument support

Thanks to the BDN for the strong, continued support of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Our governor shouldn’t be able to take this great gift away from everyone else just because he can’t appreciate the incredible beauty of this area. Let him stay away from the “mosquito area,” but don’t try to stop the rest of the world from going there.

Thanks to the BDN’s guide to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument printed earlier this spring, some friends and I will be visiting both the south and north areas three times this summer. I’m hoping that a lot of people come to see this part of our state that has so much to offer those who do appreciate natural beauty.

Shirley Smith

Ellsworth

Multiculturalism is a bad idea

Multiculturalism and politically correct speech are two of the most corrosive and damaging aspects of the culture of the American left, originally emanating out of academia, along with many anti-American ideas and themes.

One has only to witness the bullying that is perpetrated by the left against anything or anyone deemed conservative on campus. America never was, and is not now, multicultural. America is multiracial, speaking a common language in spite of misguided efforts to change this (such as press one for Spanish).

Our culture is American. The best pronouncement on what we are comes from Teddy Roosevelt, “there is no such thing as a hyphenated American,” we are all Americans. All the foregoing explains my vexation when I read a June 21 BDN letter to the editor applauding the proposed creation of a multicultural center in Bangor. Whose wacky idea is that? Perhaps the letter writers should have moved to Quebec, they are a good example of why multiculturalism is a bad idea.

William D. Duddy

Dedham