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Tuesday, May 22, 2018: Maine needs St. Clair, support ranked-choice voting, vote out Poliquin

Poliquin not in touch with 2nd District

I had the opportunity recently, as a constituent, to travel to Washington, D.C., for Consumer Lobby Day to discuss predatory anti-consumer bills being considered by Congress. My meeting with Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s staff person fell far short of being satisfactory.

Meetings with Sen. Angus King and with staffers in Rep. Chellie Pingree’s and Sen. Susan Collins’ offices were productive. I felt heard and respected, and it was clear they genuinely cared about my concerns and would be following up on the issues I raised.

I met last with Poliquin’s staffer. He took few notes, was not knowledgeable about my issues and, while polite, listened blankly. I shared concerns that Poliquin fails to grasp his constituents’ struggles and is inaccessible in that district offices are closed. He stated this is necessary to protect constituent privacy but that Poliquin cares deeply. I stated hiding from constituents and reporters demonstrated a lack of interest in their needs. He said that was fake media reports and to follow Facebook to see how connected Poliquin is to the people of the 2nd Congressional District. I left feeling the meeting was pointless.

Seems I was right. A headline earlier this month: “Rep. Poliquin co-sponsors bill to cut $7 billion from federal Child Health Insurance Program.”

Nearly 15,000 children in the 2nd District and 8,000 in the 1st District will be impacted by this bill. We need someone who actually lives in the 2nd District and understands the struggles working people have.

Jennifer Jones

Falmouth

Support ranked-choice voting

This is why we need to vote yes on Question 1 on June 12 to support ranked-choice voting:

Supporting ranked choice will send a strong message to the Legislature that they need to move forward with the referendums the people pass.

Maine has a long history of third-party candidates, which often results in vote-splitting. Ranked-choice voting eliminates this “spoiler effect,” resulting in winners who much more accurately reflect the will of the voters.

It’s entirely constitutional for the seven elections not governed by the Maine Constitution, including all the primary elections and the general elections for federal offices. The people’s veto implements ranked choice only for these seven races.

The ballots are not complicated. Portland has used ranked choice in its 2011 and 2015 mayoral elections and 94 percent of voters surveyed said that they understood the ballot. It has been used for years in other U.S. cities and other nations.

It is nonpartisan. It was first introduced in the Legislature when Angus King was governor, then again, with Republican support, when John Baldacci was governor, and then again with Paul LePage as governor.

This allows people to vote their conscience, even if their candidate is likely to be eliminated, and to still have a second choice voice.

It could result in more civil campaigns because candidates have to appeal to more voters. Candidates want to be the second choice of their opponents voters.

Let’s improve our democracy and vote yes on June 12.

Nancy Jacobson

Bangor

Vote out Poliquin

Rep. Bruce Poliquin has held the seat for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District for two terms too long. During his time in office, he has demonstrated a total disregard for the health of people and the environment.

Last May, Poliquin took a vote in Washington, D.C., to repeal the Affordable Care Act and then returned to Lewiston only to dodge the 30 Mainers who appeared at his office to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. Earlier in the year, he supported a disastrous House bill putting a permanent prohibition on federal funding for abortion services, further denying women adequate access to health care.

Along the same lines, after the Trump administration proposed to eliminate funding for the EPA’s vital Office of Environmental Justice, Poliquin voted not to restore the funding. This program is essential for the protection of low-income communities and communities of color from disproportionate environmental harm. It is deeply upsetting, if not surprising, that Poliquin would care so little about the environmental health of vulnerable communities.

Time and time again, he has joined in on the reckless assault on pollution safeguards and on the right to quality health care.

It is evident that Poliquin harbors little concern for the basic well-being of the citizens he is supposed to represent. Come this November, I would encourage my fellow Maine residents to make sure he doesn’t return to office to do any more damage. We need a representative who will prioritize the health and safety of our communities.

Matthew Kennedy

Bar Harbor

Maine needs St. Clair

While any one of the outstanding Democratic candidates in the 2nd Congressional District primary race would be a welcome replacement for the elusive, corporate friendly Rep. Bruce Poliquin, I believe that Lucas St. Clair stands out as an unusual pathfinder. He excels not only in navigating woods and waters, but also as a leader in the effort to protect the real swamps we need and to lead us out of the one’s constructed by reactionary politicians.

He has already proven his ability to identify and use political assets to bring into being a tremendous asset for the district. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument stands as an obvious argument for the compatibility of environmental protection and economic advantage. He is good at making connections in other areas, among them the link between economic opportunity and the kind of skills-oriented vocational education that can be provided with more support for community colleges and trade schools.

He has demonstrated leadership in his support for the crucial reform of ranked-choice voting, joining a lawsuit to require compliance with the people’s veto to insure the survival of this effort to bring Maine’s antique voting rules into the 21st century.

In short, St. Clair embodies exactly the kind of comprehensive, rational leadership we so desperately need.

Larry Litchfield

Belfast

Election notice

The BDN will stop accepting letters and OpEds related to the June 12 election on June 1. Not all submissions can be published.

 


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