What the statistics don’t show

Thank you, Mary Ann Larson, for your recent letter in the BDN, “US economy not ‘best.’” I am so weary of hearing from the White House that the economy is great.

When my teaching job was made part time, I was considered among the employed. Nothing in statistics showed an $800 per month decrease in salary. Nothing in statistics showed the futility of being told over and over again that principals wouldn’t hire me because they didn’t want to pay for my years of experience. Not only does partial employment mean less take home pay, it affects pensions and Social Security.

I am fortunate that my husband remained employed full time. Our retirement plan was to move to Maine and by teaching two extra years at part-time pay, we made it here. Two degrees and more than 20 years experience, and I was still underemployed. However, statistically I was counted in the skewed numbers supposedly representing the low unemployment rate.

Diane Marie Parker


Net neutrality needs bipartisan solution

Sen. Angus King’s recent co-sponsorship of a bill to improve telehealth access exemplifies how transformative broadband-connected remote health care services could be in addressing rural health disparities.

Another step our senators could take to further the same goal: work together toward a bipartisan bill to finally solve the long-running stalemate on net neutrality. Enacting permanent net neutrality protections through legislation would help give certainty to entrepreneurs and investors developing telehealth applications, ensuring they’d never have to worry about being shunted off onto “slow lanes” or charged extra tolls for “fast lanes”.

Moreover, tackling this goal through bipartisan legislation would help ensure net neutrality is implemented in a way that encourages greater investment in broadband network infrastructure.

A Democratic bill to restore Obama-era net neutrality rules has stalled out in the Senate, amidst concerns that it would grant the Federal Communications Commission unnecessarily broad regulatory powers, which could slow down network investment. But while that particular bill has been declared “ dead on arrival,” bipartisan conversations have continued trying to find an alternative path forward. Our senators should join and lead that effort. We deserve a solution, not a partisan stalemate.

Net neutrality is important to protecting consumers online and encouraging continued innovation in areas like telehealth. Done right, it can also encourage network investment to expand broadband access. These are goals deserving of bipartisan cooperation.

Benjamin Plante


Defend our precious democracy

Lev Parnas is not the “cleanest” citizen, but who hired him? And for what purposes? Seemingly not for America. Who is lying? Parnas is under indictment. The Washington Post count of false or misleading claims from President Donald Trump is over 15,000. His level of untruth is unprecedented. The success of democracy demands facts and truth.

Sen. Susan Collins wondered on Jan. 15 about why Parnas’s information came so late. Republican congressmen and senators keep attempting to switch the blame to the House impeachment process by asking why the House acted on articles of impeachment before all “facts” were known.

The House process revealed more than enough facts to indict or impeach, and there were enough threats to the 2020 election process and national security that forced the need to act quickly. At the Senate trial more facts will be exposed, strengthening the case.

The reason that the Parnas documents are just now coming to light is that the president, White House counsels and Attorney General Barr have been taking unprecedented steps to suppress documents and witnesses. A federal judge allowed the Parnas documents to be released. More subpoenas and document requests are slowly working through the judicial process.

I have read the Mueller report, the summary of the July 25 call, and watched the witnesses at the impeachment hearings. There will be sufficient evidence to review in considering whether to remove this President from office compared to the now seeming petty reasons that Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were charged.

Please, senators, we depend on you to protect and defend our precious democracy.

Pamela W. Person