Maine can lead

Here in Maine, we are an example to the rest of the nation.

When we are at our best, we have our points of view, but we are polite and gracious, even when we disagree. In sports, we play vigorously, but we compete fairly and we play honestly. As we make a living, we work hard, and we also work hard to leave a clean and healthy Maine for generations yet to come. In politics and in our state government, we find ways to work together for the benefit of all, rather than insulting and screeching at one another. In our communities, we cooperate with one another regardless of age, background and all the other factors that could divide us — and as we discover strength in our variety, we live in unity.

We know that’s how life ought to be. But we also know that elsewhere, hostility and division rule. This year will be difficult for our nation. The airwaves will be filled with messages that encourage us to suspect the worst of our neighbors and blame people identified as “outsiders” and “other” for every ill.

Let’s be at our best and tell all the haters that Mainers are better than that. That’s why — “Dirigo” — we lead!

Donald Ashmall

Gouldsboro

Gideon’s reform agenda

We hear it all the time — that people are tired of money often playing a large role in politics — but what are politicians actually doing to end the money in politics?

While we have heard presidential candidates pledge not to take money from corporate PACs, many senators and representatives have been mute on the issue.

Not Sara Gideon, who is running for Maine’s U.S. Senate. Gideon is taking the pledge not to take money from corporate PACs to the next level with her “Reform Agenda.” In addition to pledging to take no money from corporate PACs, Gideon will also crackdown on the secret spending that has no room in politics.

During her time in the Senate, Gideon would also make sure that her colleagues are doing their current job and not daydreaming about making more money elsewhere. It’s not uncommon for a politician to turn to lobbying once they are done in office and Gideon would put a stop to that. Americans should be secure in knowing that their elected officials’ main focus is on them and not some “dream job.”

Gideon would ensure that there is finally some transparency in D.C. While other senators may be having fancy dinners with the elites of Washington, Gideon will be hosting “suppers with Sara” with locals across Maine.

David Dunn

Bangor

Sharing the ocean

As a fisherman and someone who has worked on the water year-round, I feel we have always had a hard time being given a voice. The Department of Marine Resources has never seemed to figure out that the fisheries are all interconnected, and when you choose one fishery over another, you create winners and losers.

Right now, the guys like me who have fished for generations are being shut out in favor of aquaculture. We have had a lot going on. This past year, we have seen the right whale issue come front and center.

On Monday night, I attended a lobster zone council meeting, and again people were giving their advice and input on right whales while seemingly being ignored. The same can be said about the aquaculture hearings.

Recently, Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage has been working on legislation to reduce the size of aquaculture leases from 1,000 acres along with other common-sense proposals. Many fishermen are concerned Maine’s oceans will be leased to corporations that require too much acreage to turn a profit. I also learned that leases can be transferred without a public hearing.

There is too much at stake, and it feels like every time someone raises questions, they get shut down around the aquaculture issue and right whales. My question is why? What is so bad about looking at a long-range plan so all of us can use the ocean?

Dale Witham

Damariscotta