A clear choice with Collins

Last Sunday, in response to a question by WABI, Sen. Susan Collins evoked Dr. Martin Luther King and said that she supports protestors “if they are peaceful.”

The next day, militarized police dispersed peaceful protestors with tear gas, pepper balls and flash bang-like devices, enabling President Donald Trump, the de facto leader of Collins’ party, to visit a church near the White House and use it for what turned out to be a very strange (and lame) photo op, in which he raised a bible over his right shoulder as though it was a cudgel.

Violently evicting protesters who are using their first amendment rights to protest is antithetical and venal in the extreme. Among those to suffer tear gas was the Rev. Gini Gerbasi who was serving as support for the protestors, and who described being driven violently from her own church.

Collins, as a representative of the people of Maine, and a member of the GOP, has a unique opportunity to condemn this behavior, and refuse to participate in this charade any longer. Her failure to respond more courageously to the president’s actions equals in my mind, acceptance, and by acceptance, complicity.

Either she must have the moral courage to leave the GOP immediately (joining perhaps her colleague Sen. Angus King as an independent) or she must be voted out of office in November; the choice has never been so clear.

Nico Jenkins

Blue Hill

The beginning of a new world

Here we find ourselves at an historical tipping point under questionable leadership right in the middle of a deadly pandemic. We could be forgiven for burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the light of day. In fact, many people are trying to do just that, however, the noise from the streets is insistent.

George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis and the world exploded. A younger, more vocal, questioning, and impatient generation has had enough and, regardless of their nationality or race, went to the streets all over the globe to begin a long overdue conversation. Parents and grandparents, jolted out of their hopelessness, are joining them to end the era of privilege and inequity.

This is an exciting time. We are seeing the beginning of a new world. Now the hard work is before us and to effect the changes we all know we need we must search out the leaders who are able to forge a new age. They very well may not be the leaders of today. We must choose wisely in this upcoming election. The July 14 primary is an opportunity for people to vote for their choice of candidates for the national election. People can request an absentee ballot from your town clerk or the Secretary of State’s website. On election day, polls will be open if that is your preference.

Susan Harvey

Dover-Foxcroft

Changing the paradigm

By all accounts, Maine’s path to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic could be long and arduous. Hospitality, tourism, and small business — three drivers of jobs and revenue — have been hit hard.

But it doesn’t have to be a “three strikes” scenario. This crisis is also an opportunity to reposition Maine as a hub for remote employees eager for a better way of life.

Already, scores of younger workers have returned to Maine to weather the storm. Some are working remotely. Others are just beginning their job search. Many are concerned about returning to densely populated and expensive cities.

Facebook’s announcement that as many as half its workforce will be remote by 2030 is just the beginning of a workplace revolution. If Maine attracts just 1 percent of that workforce, 200-plus Facebook employees would call this state home.

With them come tax revenue, young families, high-tech skills, and high-wage jobs. Just imagine what would happen when this movement extends beyond 200 Facebook employees.

Already, cities like Biddeford, Lewiston and Waterville are emerging as centers of innovation, creativity, and energy in a wide variety of sectors. Building on these gains by launching a concerted effort to recruit remote workers could make a difference. To attract them, we need more co-working spaces, reliable broadband, and market rate housing options.

Changing the paradigm of “long and arduous recovery” won’t be easy. But, with a targeted, forward-thinking approach and quick action, maybe it is possible.

Philip Hussey

Portland

Transforming schools

As we ready ourselves for school to open in the fall, there are many life or death steps that need to be taken. Much has been written about the role of technology and the ability to socially distance.

I offer additional substantive changes that must be made: Require professional development for all white teachers on anti-racist pedagogy; Remove all police officers from school; Require professional development for all school personal in ways of supporting all students emotionally and by using a restorative justice continuum; Reconstruct curriculum with attention to multiple histories, voices in literature, and languages; Create multiple opportunities for students to do community and problem-based investigations.

The five recommendations are substantive and transformational and, in the best case scenario, should come in concert with a change in the other oppressive structures in our communities, states, and our country. Please take action.

Laura Baker

Belfast

Uhlenhake has my support

I believe our current local representatives have failed us here in the Lincoln area. We are struggling with a lack of adequate access to affordable health care. We can’t afford the cost of our prescription drugs. From my perspective, our current local representatives are missing in action on this issue, and many other problems that average people are facing. We need results.

Bev Uhlenhake is the Democratic candidate running for the state Senate seat in our district. Bev promises to keep fighting for affordable health care for all. It is truly sickening that many huge corporations got bailed out with our tax dollars, but so many of us who cannot afford the obscene costs of health care are still left to fend for themselves. This is intolerable.

I will not be voting for the do-nothing representation we currently have in our state senate district. Bev Uhlenhake will not go along with business as usual, and will not be beholden to the big drug companies. She is the only candidate in Senate District 8 to qualify for Clean Elections funding and Uhlenhake has our votes for State Senate on July 14 and in November.

Ed Hunt

Lincoln