Yes on Question 2
On November 5, voters will have the opportunity to amend Maine’s Constitution and increase participation in the election process by individuals with disabilities. Under our Constitution, individuals must provide their original signature when signing people’s veto or citizens’ initiative petitions. Signing onto citizen initiatives and veto referenda are important opportunities to participate in our democracy. But for individuals with physical disabilities who are unable to sign their own name, this exclusionary constitutional requirement prevents them from fully participating in our state’s democratic process.
Passage of this amendment would not create something new, as there is already precedent for allowing alternative signatures. In Maine, individuals with disabilities who are unable to sign their name may use a signature stamp or authorize another person to sign on their behalf — in their presence and at their direction — when signing candidate petitions, voter registration applications, change of party enrollment forms, and Maine Clean Elections Act forms.
Voting yes on Question 2 will enable Maine to take another step forward in providing equal opportunities for all individuals to participate in our state’s democratic process.
Collins’ action on prescription drug prices
There may only be one issue these days that unites Democrats and Republicans in Washington: The rising costs of prescription drugs. Fortunately, Sen. Susan Collins is leading the fight, holding hearings, and offering solutions.
Sen. Collins has been supportive of a bipartisan bill led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, that would limit the amount that seniors in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug plan would have to pay each year for the medications they need. A recent study illustrates why Congress needs to pass this bill, called the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act. The study shows the cost of some of the most common prescription drugs went up by 76 percent between 2012 and 2017. This includes insulin and rheumatoid arthritis drugs, such as Humira, which increased from $1,940 in 2012 to $4,338 in 2017. This is a recipe for disaster for all Americans, especially our seniors.
The big pharmaceutical companies may not like this bill because it could also limit their already sky-high profits. But Collins and other colleagues who support the bill deserve our credit for working together to fix the problem. It’s time Congress hears from all of us who want to see this bill become law.
Bridge to a brighter future
I applaud the Oct. 11 OpEd by Bridge Academy Maine Executive Director Brian Langley. I couldn’t agree more that innovative secondary education programs are key to helping achieve the education attainment goal that 60 percent of Maine adults hold a credential of value by 2025.
Bridge Academy is a true collaboration between high schools, CTE centers, the community college and university systems. Students take courses earning up to 24 college credits earning real-world credentials, reducing the time and debt that they accrue by enrolling in postsecondary education. Bridge Academy introduces students to careers and begins to prepare them to participate meaningfully in Maine’s economy. Bridge Academy’s relevant, real-world experiences provide students with lessons and skills they bring with them into their lives as future workers in Maine.
I’ve seen first-hand the quality of students completing the Bridge Academy Maine program. They are bright, capable, motivated, and have often already developed solid skills including time-management, team building and persistence.They graduate better-prepared for the rigor of college courses than many of their peers. They give hope for Maine’s future, and Eastern Maine Community College is proud to be part of their journeys.
Lisa Larson, Ed.D.
Eastern Maine Community College