Ringelstein for Senate
Here’s a crazy thought? What if we elected someone who believes that every single American deserves affordable health care and that Medicare for all is the way to get there. Someone who believes that providing student debt relief is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy. Someone who believes that we should support small businesses, not mega corporations. Someone who believes that protecting our environment is paramount to our continued existence. Someone who understands that we face great challenges but believes that together we can meet them. That is Zak Ringelstein, Maine’s Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Ringelstein is a millennial, a progressive Democrat, a former public school educator, entrepreneur, father, brother, son, husband. He is all of these things and more. Ringelstein’s platform is pretty simple: you can’t be a representative of the people if you take money from corporations, special interests and PACs, so he’s not taking their money.
With the victory of ranked-choice voting, the people of Maine spoke again to Augusta and the nation, in a loud, clear voice: We are tired of politics as usual. This isn’t the first step in this journey, nor is it the last, it is merely a stepping stone to get us where we want to be as a state and country. I urge my fellow Mainers to meet Ringelstein and talk to him, and they’ll soon realize what I did back in February, Ringelstein is the person I want representing my interests in Washington, D.C.
Trump coddles autocrats
Honorable peace with any of our current enemies and verifiable demilitarization is to be greatly desired. In that light, President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un just signed a document that Trump said would represent “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The very short document does not even begin to address what “complete denuclearization” means.
Signing it fails to consider the cheating done by North Korean leaders after past agreements, such as returning the ashes of a “repatriated” body that turned out to be a total DNA mismatch — not to mention the weapons development through the years that resulted in nuclear weapons capable of striking any point in the U.S. at any time.
Trump, however, treated Kim as a peer and stated that it was an “honor” to meet him. Trump’s “negotiating prowess” has elevated Kim, a murderous dictator, to the status of a major global leader.
At the same time, Trump continues to coddle Russia and China while tearing apart alliances with stable North American and European democracies that have stood for 70 years. In my opinion, this is nothing less than treasonable behavior that should be immediately denounced by the entire Republican Party. Or perhaps, as John Boehner recently stated, “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party.”
Pruitt must go
I grew up in Kennebunk, and I am raising my two children here now as well. What makes this area so nice compared to other states is our clean water and our breathtaking environment. Mainers take pride in having the ocean, forest and mountains at such easy access. We are very fortunate to be able to live in such an amazing state.
Our state parks and our nature trails are all wonderful thanks to the help of programs that get funded by the Environmental Protection Agency budget. Our children are healthy from those funds as well. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt does not realize that the beauty in this country — and in Maine — is not always going to be here unless we take care of it. After all, that is what the EPA is designed to do.
Pruitt really needs to be encouraged to resign from his position. By now, I am sure he is aware of his reputation for not handling his job correctly.
Inhumane border policy
I applaud the Bangor Daily News and Sen. Angus King for condemning the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy at the southern border. This inhumane policy separates immigrant children from their families and warehouses them for weeks and even months in detention facilities. Some of these children are as young as 18 months old.
Last week, I emailed Sen. Susan Collins to urge her to sign onto Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to halt this cruel and completely unnecessary practice of separating families. To my astonishment, in her response to me, Collins, an otherwise caring person, seemed to echo the Trump administration’s unfounded argument that this policy will deter families from seeking refuge in the United States. Thankfully, Collins has since spoken out against this policy and has sent a fact-finding letter to the administration.
While I applaud her cautious request for information, this practice of traumatizing children needs to stop. I urge BDN readers to continue to pressure Collins to pressure her Republican colleagues and the administration. President Donald Trump’s disgraceful policy of holding children hostage must end.
Prevent lead exposure
A new map released on Wednesday by Environment Maine shows that here in Maine, of the limited testing done, 26 schools and day cares found unhealthy levels of lead in their drinking water. Unfortunately, Maine’s children are not alone; the map makes it clear that lead contamination of school drinking water is a pervasive, nationwide public health concern that we must demand our school districts and elected officials act upon.
Lead is a potent neurotoxin that severely impairs child development and behavior, even at low levels of exposure. There is no safe level of lead. Yet of the schools that have tested for lead in drinking water, many don’t even report lead below the dangerously high concentration of 15 parts per billion this means that what the map shows is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Luckily, we can take action now to mitigate this crisis. Schools can remove lead-bearing pipes, fixtures and plumbing, and install certified filters on taps. We Maine residents must demand that our school administrators, municipalities and politicians implement these preventative measures. Our children’s health cannot wait.