McConnell does not have veto power

As a senior citizen, I have had many opportunities to vote for a president, and I have not missed one. The president has the power to veto bills he or she does not agree with. I do not have, nor did I ever have, the opportunity to cast a vote on the election of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, yet he is, in effect, vetoing bipartisan bills passed by the House. He does this by never letting them even come up for a vote. He is in fact, exercising a “pocket veto” or voting “no”.

Why is our Sen. Susan Collins — and her fellow senators — allowing him to do this?

I do not respect anyone who does not allow, at the least, bipartisan bills passed by the House, to be voted on in the Senate. Nor do I respect anyone who lets Sen. McConnell get away with it. I have the right to have items come to a vote.

I demand and expect respect for myself and my fellow voters. Let these bills come up for a vote. If they get voted down in the Senate or if Trump wants to veto them, then so be it. The voter will know how their senators voted. If Trump vetoes a bill the Senate has passed, then the onus is on Trump.

In the meantime, the onus for these bills not coming up for a vote is on McConnell, Collins and the other Republicans in the Senate.

Joyce Polyniak

Grateful to Belfast

I am deeply grateful to all the voters and supporters in Belfast who opened their doors, hearts and minds to my campaign for City Council. I am also grateful to those who questioned the basis for this campaign, for it made us think harder, listen deeper, keeping us on the path to becoming better citizens working for an inclusive future.

Though we did not win, I am very proud of our campaign; respect was a core operating value. We discarded easy answers in favor of acknowledging the interconnectedness of Belfast’s many pressing issues, including housing, jobs, growing inequality, and, above all, the climate emergency facing us all. I hope we shed light on the two emerging Belfasts and will keep both in our hearts and consciousness as we continue planning our future together.

I am also proud that our campaign was positive, offering a wide range of proven ideas, and maintaining an inspiring vision to keep us moving forward. This vision remains a city with rewarding jobs, decent housing, local control, vibrant culture, brain stimulation, energy independence, lots of natural environment to explore and steward, a powerful community for raising families and growing old and last, but definitely not least where no one is forgotten, unheard or left behind.

Working with all of you on this campaign has been the most rewarding (and fun!) experience I have had in Belfast. My gratitude is beyond measure.

Ridgely Fuller

Support veteran caregivers

While November 11 is widely recognized as Veterans Day, many people may not know that the entire month of November is both National Veterans and Military Families Month, and National Family Caregivers Month. Both of my parents were veterans. My father served in the Army in World War II and my mother later on served in the U.S. Coast Guard. I encourage everyone to honor and pay respect to those who served our country in uniform and the caregivers supporting our valiant veterans.

There are 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers in the U.S. providing care to approximately 15 million veterans. These hidden heroes support their veteran loved ones with their daily needs — ranging from bathing and dressing, to paying bills and transportation, and assisting with medical tasks — providing an estimated $14 billion annually in unpaid care.

Numerous organizations have dedicated time and resources to address the challenges veterans face today, including their care needs.

AARP supports our veterans and their family caregivers through both the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and a partnership with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to create a Military Caregiving Guide. I encourage everyone to visit the AARP website to learn more about how AARP is working for veterans. Here in Maine, AARP pushed for November to be designated as Maine Family Caregivers Month — a perfect opportunity to celebrate our veterans and the unsung heroes who care for them right here at home.

Erica Magnus
Communications Volunteer, AARP Maine