Fund Clean Elections
As a supporter of Maine Clean Elections, I am totally shocked by the amount of underhandedness that legislators have exercised to withhold Clean Election funding from the people who’ve worked hard for it. If candidates had known they’d be going through this bureaucratic nightmare, they may have chose not to run clean in the first place. This is a real problem because we need to show the people of Maine that running as a Clean Election candidate is something that is heavily encouraged.
Running clean removes the influence of money from candidates’ policies and campaigns. They are beholden to the people of Maine, and no one else.
House Republicans need to step up and listen to the voices of Mainers. We passed a ballot initiative in 2015 to increase Clean Election funding. This is something we need resolved immediately. They need to pass LD 1894. Fix the error in the writing and give these candidates the funds they desperately need and deserve.
Salmon farm questions
Sadly, the Belfast Nordic Aquafarms salmon farm discussion has become divisive. Between defensiveness by those in power and overreacting by some without power, many of the key issues will probably have to be sorted out by scientists and regulators.
There are many unknowns about this huge concentrated animal feeding operation experiment. One issue is how to feed perhaps the largest land-based salmon farm in the world. Nordic Aquafarms has stated several times that their goal is locally produced “organic” food. At the last informational meeting, we learned that the salmon will only be fed 5 percent fishmeal. Since salmon are omnivores, the big experiment is will salmon become vegetarians or will CAFO chicken and hog farms become a new source of protein?
I am surprised that another topic has not gained more discussion: Nordic Aquafarms has mentioned numerous times that insects may be yet another experiment on the horizon for a protein substitute. When I mentioned the thought of huge grasshopper farms to my wife, the reaction was, “OMG what if someone leaves the door open, isn’t this one of the plagues that threatened Egypt?”
I hope that I am not being an alarmist, but what about insect farms in Maine? We may be in the process of completely redefining what is “farming” in Maine. I’d like to see more discussion on this topic of what it means to feed a CAFO with Maine-produced protein and it is even possible to do this safely and, better yet, organically.
Net neutrality discourages investment
The left and Silicon Valley have continually pushed the idea that using the Congressional Review Act to undo the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of so-called net neutrality is good for small-business owners. The only problem is that is not what I hear when I actually talk to small-business owners in northern Maine.
Instead, they are concerned with having access in the first place: 40 percent of rural Americans, including quite a number of Aroostook County residents, do not have broadband internet with speeds of 25 mbps or more. That will be less likely to change if the CRA passes. The CRA would impose rules on internet providers that treat them like utilities.
This approach will undoubtedly discourage investment. When utility-style regulations were implemented in 2015, the U.S. saw its first decline in internet investment outside of a recession. Treating internet providers like utilities will do nothing to protect consumers from the modern-day privacy risks online or to stop content providers from censoring or blocking content, it only serves to hinder the building out of more networks.
Fortunately, that decision was overturned in 2017 by the current administration. However, even that is not good enough. We need bipartisan legislation to codify the net neutrality provisions that make sense and are widely agreed upon by all interested parties and stakeholders. I urge Rep. Bruce Poliquin to vote against the CRA and to help craft legislation that will address common sense and fair regulation of the internet over the long term.
Rep. Trey Stewart
Recently, I visited the newly remodeled McDonald’s in Brewer. When I walked in, instead of facing lines waiting in front of three or four cash registers, I was greeted by a bright, young woman who showed me how to use the new kiosk to order my senior coffee. When the order was placed, the machine gave me a receipt, which I took up to the only cashier to pay. With fewer than 20 words, the cashier takes your money (you can also pay with a credit card at the kiosk) and tells you to take the number and place it at your table or to step aside if you are waiting for takeout.
As I waited for my coffee, I noticed how this young, friendly and patient worker was showing customers how to use the kiosks, which are replacing her or someone like her.
When I was in college, I watched Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” and thought it was hilarious. It is probably just as funny, but now 45 years later, it may be as foreboding as it is humorous.
Trump administration stands for corporate greed
Many voters chose Donald Trump because they felt ignored by a culture that had little respect for their status or aspirations. However, the Trump administration consistently promotes policies that jeopardize the welfare of its supporters. Loss of environmental protections, affordable health care and access to quality public education harms everyone.
Recently, our government’s delegation to a global health conference attempted to reverse a global policy that supported breastfeeding of infants and threatened countries that disagreed. This position opposes 40 years of medical research that supports breastfeeding. Our government supported increased profits for formula manufacturers (not all of which are U.S. companies), not basic human needs.
When you vote in November, ask if your choice for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, or state official will represent you or corporate greed.