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Saturday, May 12, 2018: Support local food sovereignty, Golden for Congress, end mental illness stigma

Support food sovereignty ordinance

Thank you to the Orland selectmen for graciously moving the comment period for the local food ordinance to the beginning of a busy agenda at the May 3 selectmen’s meeting. Orland residents now have an opportunity to vote at the June 13 town meeting for a local food and community self-governance ordinance that helps to preserve local food systems and protects access to local food through direct producer-to-consumer transactions (including farmer’s markets, roadside stands, fundraisers, and community social events).

Orland can join the other towns across the state that have already passed a local food ordinance. For more information and to see a sample ordinance, go to Support our local, sustainable economy and establish healthy relationships by visiting local farmers and food-makers at their establishments, through CSAs and at farmers markets.

Karen Balas-Cote

Golden for Congress

When Donald Trump was elected president I was in shock. I had to focus on something doable to help undo the mess, working with others to counteract the dangerous leadership vacuum. Let’s start by selecting a Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District in the June 12 primary who can unseat Rep. Bruce Poliquin, our unresponsive, unavailable representative.

I searched for the best candidate — not just one who could win, but one who best embodies qualities I want in a representative. Jared Golden is that person. He is dedicated to serving his community (note his time in the Legislature and military). He is honest, hardworking and capable of compromise without compromising his principles.

As Democratic assistant majority leader in the Maine House, Golden has a track record of getting things done and working across the aisle. He is compassionate and concerned about all Mainers, fighting for fair and equal wages, expanded access to health care, and better mental health services for veterans, especially those with post-traumatic stress. He is knowledgeable, articulate (no jazzy answers or sound bites) and a good listener — all qualities that will serve Mainers well in Washington, D.C. Golden speaks and acts from the heart with Maine as his top priority.

Golden’s record reflects values that I want in my representative. Check his web page, ask his fellow legislators or a current constituent in Lewiston. I’m glad to know that the candidate who can beat Poliquin is also the candidate most worthy of our support.

Suzanne Kelly

End mental illness stigma

National Mental Health Month is celebrated in May. It raises awareness about mental illness and works to change stigma associated with it.

Can we end the stigma of mental illness? Yes. Let’s first recognize we’ve met the enemy and found it is us.

A prominent Maine psychiatrist David Moltz wrote a brilliant article describing mental illness as having three dimensions: biological, psychological and social. I mentioned to him all human illnesses and conditions have these three dimensions. Moltz agreed. Once we recognize that all human illnesses and conditions have biological, psychological and social dimensions, stigma will disappear under the bright light of further health research.

For example, cancer’s labeled a “physical illness.” Schizophrenia begins before birth as the brain forms. It’s labeled a “mental illness.” Why? If you stand before a full-length mirror, you will see one human body from head to toe. All integrated and interactive into one human system like God made us. Even that old spiritual song “Dem Bones” got it right connecting together all the bones in one human body.

The Western part of humanity splits us in two with the archaic terms: physical illness and mental illness. It’s the swamp of medical misunderstanding. This swamp creates conditions that breed pain into the lives of those labeled “mentally ill” and their family members of which I am one. Furthermore there’s a multidimensional cost to our society at large.

Joe Pickering Jr.

The GOP plan

Like a novice in any endeavor, President Donald Trump’s aimless struggle to make excuses again and again for his missteps only serves to highlight his guilt. The administration’s lack of direction is a total antithesis of what he claims to aim for, as his floundering may cripple the standing of the U.S. on the world stage for years to come.

That is not to say, however, that there is no strategy to his flip-flopping. The Republican plan may well prove to have been to pick a TV personality with wide appeal who will do a Nixon after Jan. 20, 2019 — that is, resign to allow Vice President Mike Pence the opportunity for two-and-a-half full terms. Conservatives and the NRA will love it, and our country will erase any progress we have made in the last 60 years, both at home and abroad.

Steve Colhoun

Legislators need to keep their promise

Hundreds of direct care workers, individuals with disabilities, and families were at the State House recently asking legislators to keep their promise to prevent the collapse of medically necessary services for Mainers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Last session, legislators promised to address the workforce crisis that has resulted in lapses in service, constant turnover and home closures for Mainers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Legislators promised to support direct care workers working for barely minimum wage who haven’t seen a rate increase in over a decade. Thankfully, legislators appropriated one partial year of funding as a stopgap and promised to finish the job this session.

Maine used to be a leader in providing community services for Mainers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We closed Pineland Hospital and promised to give people the support they needed to live in the community. Currently, the waitlist for these services has grown to more than 1,500 people, and every day Mainers become institutionalized, hospitalized, or homeless because providers cannot offer a decent wage to attract and retain direct care workers.

We are calling on legislators to keep their promise to ensure Mainers with intellectual and developmental disabilities have access to the services they need and deserve. If the Legislature doesn’t act, on June 30 the rate for these critical services will experience another nearly 12 percent cut, forcing more closures and rendering the service inoperable for many providers.

It is our last hope that the Legislature will return for a special session to fund this service and prevent this devastating cut.

Lydia Dawson
Executive director
Jennifer Putnam
Maine Association for Community Service Providers


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