Dodge for House District 97
I support Jan Dodge for state representative for House District 97. As one of Dodge’s earliest band students, I know first hand how committed she has been and continues to be to Maine kids and their education.
Being the music and band director for several schools at once, Dodge has more than 30 years of experience in listening deeply and working closely with a wide range of collaborators, parents, teachers and administrators, navigating through budget and other constraints, to achieve the goals of excellence she envisioned for us all. I know as a representative Dodge will bring these significant negotiating skills to Augusta, benefiting not only the people of Belfast, Northport and Waldo, but also the committees she will work with at the State House.
Dodge is supremely qualified and has the kind of energy needed to develop solutions for Maine. I urge readers to support Dodge in the June 12 Democratic primary.
Gina “Fuller” Tansey
Support universal home care
Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s vote last year to gut health insurance for millions of Americans has real life consequences here in Maine.
The American Health Care Act, which the congressman supported, would have cut $19 billion from the Medicaid program over the next 10 years and forced states to make painful decisions about who to abandon.
Medicaid helps many people: the disabled, elderly, low income, children and many more. But for me, the devastating effect this would have had on home care for the disabled was particularly powerful.
Medicaid funds the only federal program in the country right now that offers home care services, allowing seniors and people with disabilities to stay in their homes safely and with support.
Thousands of Mainers are caring for elderly and disabled parents, and as the baby boomers hit their 80s, more Mainers will be doing the same soon. Now is the time to build an economy that supports this large and growing demographic, not defunding the few programs that currently help.
Poliquin’s vote was not only unconscionable, but also bad fiscal policy. It doesn’t make sense to force thousands of taxpaying, college-educated, law-abiding, home-owning people out of the workforce when their parents get older to care for them.
But this year, Mainers can fight back at the state level. Universal home care is on the ballot for 2018 in Maine and would help seniors and their families get the support they need, creating an economy of the future, rather than rehashing the debates of the 1960s.
Support ranked-choice voting
Ranked-choice voting has taken a lot of flak for such a simple concept, allowing voters to rank their choices rather than only one choice.
The groups that are afraid of ranked-choice voting must really fear giving voters the choice to select an election winner by majority vote. Even in the Legislature, votes are by majority or two-thirds. No bill passes with less than 50 percent. Why should a political candidate?
Voting by ranked choice in our primaries is a good way to try the process out and see how it works for us. As Maine goes, so goes the nation; there’s no reason we can’t lead the nation again.
The people have supported ranked choice in referendum. What is it about yes some politicians don’t understand?
Many states demand runoff elections to determine a majority — ranked choice is an instant runoff without having to hike back to the polls.
Ranked-choice voting also shows candidates that don’t win the majority to see how much support they had.
And finally, it’s not how we vote, but whether we vote. Maine has great voter turnout, compared with other states, but we can do much better. The world is led by those who show up — so consider making a personal pledge to vote and help Maine achieve a 75 percent voter turnout. Like Smokey Bear might say, “Only you can prevent low voter turnout.”
Tax break for graduates
Martin Grohman’s March 15 BDN OpEd on student debt in Maine prompts me to mention the existing Maine Credit for Educational Opportunity. Working Maine residents who have earned a two- or four-year degree in Maine since Jan. 1, 2008, and make required loan payments are eligible for $4,500 in annual tax credits, which in some cases, such as STEM degrees, are refundable. Starting on Jan. 1, 2016, out-of-state and graduate degrees qualify as well.
During the tax season, current and amended prior year returns can be prepared for the graduate at volunteer free tax sites. Few graduates seem to be aware of this tax credit. Please pass the word and help keep our educated young people here.
American dream within reach
The northern Maine community was hit hard by the recession. For many years, it was a struggle for many families just to sustain, let alone grow. I’m glad to see that we have finally begun to turn the corner. With unemployment at a historic low and weekly paychecks increasing, tax reform has provided the boost that the economy needed to get back on track. Rep. Bruce Poliquin worked hard to make that happen.
Last year, the federal government was going to withhold crucial funding from the University of Maine at Presque Isle because of a clerical error. This funding was to be used to help first-generation college students be successful. Poliquin was instrumental in convincing the U.S. Department of Education that they were making a huge mistake that would hurt kids in Aroostook County. Thanks to Poliquin, college students will now have the support they need to obtain their degrees and become more financially successful than the generation before them.
Poliquin’s continued leadership has ensured that more of my friends, family and neighbors have a shot at achieving economic prosperity. This economic turnaround is showing everyday people that the American dream is still within reach.
Rep. Dustin White
The BDN will stop accepting letters and OpEds related to the June 12 election on June 1. Not all submissions can be published.