Looking for courage from Collins

Based on the Republican Party response to reports about Preisdent Trump’s conversations with Ukranian President Zelensky, it is painfully evident to me that the party has changed from a group of people with similar conservative goals — who represented their broad electorate — to a group of frightened individuals who respond to the nationalistic right-wing fringe. It has essentially revived the Know-Nothing party, with its nativist, anti-immigration focus and should be re-labeled as such.

There are, however, several Republicans who have the courage to speak out for American civil values. (In normal times, the word “courage” would not come into play in this sort of discussion.) I would like to know if Sen. Susan Collins will finally determine that she can be “courageous” as well. I have asked her if she believes the statement from Trump’s lawyers that “a sitting President of the United States is not ‘subject to the criminal process’ while he is in office.” In other words, does she believe Trump (or any president) is above the law?

I expect to get only the normal autoreply: “Dear Friend, Thank you for contacting me through my website. Your views are important to me, and input from my constituents is very helpful when I consider the many important issues facing our nation. Again, thank you for writing.”

Don Holmes

Special interests misrepresent Collins’ record

I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue since this newspaper published a July OpEd by Tiffany Muller, president and executive director of End Citizens United. Her portrayal of Maine politics was misleading, which is no surprise considering her job is to push a national agenda from Washington, D.C.

In the piece, Muller says, “[Sara] Gideon is a proven reformer, who has fought special interests and tried to repair a democracy damaged by the corrupting influence of big money.” In reality, Speaker Gideon has benefited greatly from this “corrupting” big money with contributions to her state leadership PAC from big pharma and other corporations including Emera, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, AT&T, American Express and Spectrum Medical.

Muller also writes that Sen. Collins has “…benefited from secret donors,” when dark money has already been funneled into the race against Collins by a “nonprofit” organization that includes Gideon’s former communications director.

Muller is also critical of Collins’ vote against the DISCLOSE Act in 2010, alleging that this bill could have fixed the problem of undisclosed spending in elections. But this bill, which was strongly opposed by the ACLU, was nothing more than an election year partisan gimmick favoring the funding (and therefore speech) that benefits the Democratic party in the name of ‘election reform.’

Rather than fix the real problem, DISCLOSE would have exempted nearly $4 billion in union campaign funding from disclosure while shutting businesses out of elections.

This OpEd was just another example of special interests from away attempting to sway Maine voters by intentionally misrepresenting Collins’ record.

James Goff

Fuller my choice for Belfast Ward 3

My friend of many years, “Ridgely” Fuller is my choice for city councilor of Belfast, Ward 3 and she deserves your attention. I have known her as an advocate, leader and citizen in Belfast.

Most important to me is her compassion, tenacity and clarity in her position on poignant issues. Ridgely’s campaign has three major tenets. The first is building community between residents of Belfast and City Hall — the quality of our human relationships is the foundation of our community where every person matters and every voice is heard. The second is facing the climate crisis together — it is already affecting our coast, food services, businesses and environment, and the solution is us working together. The third is expanding a healthy Belfast economy built on local ownership, prioritizing local resources and community wellbeing.

I am particularly drawn to the first tenet. We need to commit to building meaningful collaboration among ourselves and with all levels of government. Ridgely hopes to create a volunteer pool for the city with City Hall as a hub. I am often looking for a new volunteer experience, and it would be wonderful to go to City Hall and select some options to follow up on. Her vision to build community here in Belfast is ever so important as we continue to grow and prosper.

I hope you will check out her website at ridgely4belfast.org or her facebook page RidgelyForBelfast. Thank you for your support and curiosity for a better Belfast. Please pass the word, thanks!

Susan Coe