Yes on Question 1

Telehealth, the delivery of medical services through video technology, has played a prominent role in our response to the COVID-19 crisis. In what has been called “the silver lining of the pandemic,” the nation saw visits by telehealth skyrocket. In Maine alone, Northern Light Health went from a couple hundred visits per month to over 36,000 appointments in April 2020. Providers, patients, and health systems have praised the convenience, ease, and efficacy of telehealth.

Unfortunately, Maine’s current broadband infrastructure cannot support this important medical service. According to Broadband Now, Maine ranks 43rd in the nation for broadband access, and was recently ranked the third slowest internet speed. While areas such as Portland and Bangor may be stable, rural areas such as Oxford, Waldo, and Washington counties are behind—the areas hit hardest by socioeconomic, healthcare, and educational disparities. This regional gap in resources will only widen if we don’t act to increase internet access.

As an informatics leader and general pediatrician, I’ve witnessed this critical need as I’ve cared for patients remotely over the last several months. I’ve gained unique insight into their care and have come to learn that sensitive medical discussions are far easier around the kitchen table than half-undressed in the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, I’ve also experienced dropped calls, stuttering video, and phone-only visits, all a result of Maine’s challenging broadband infrastructure.

On July 14, Question 1 asks Mainers to support an investment in high-speed internet infrastructure for unserved and underserved areas. Say yes on 1 for rural Maine.

Michael Ross

Regional Medical Information Officer and General Pediatrician
Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center

Bangor

Gideon the leader Maine needs

Over the last few years, it has been hard to miss the bitter partisanship that has swept not only our state but the entire country. Compassionate, competent leaders are more important than ever before. I’ve gotten to know Sara Gideon well during my time under her leadership in the Maine House of Representatives, and I can say with confidence that she is the type of big-hearted, sharp-witted candidate our country so desperately needs to guide us through these difficult times.

Gideon has been a leader in Maine through not only enacting meaningful policy but in standing up for what’s right. When Gov. Paul LePage was in office, she never hesitated to speak out against him to fight for her constituents and their needs. Yet she has also led with kindness and a willingness to work across the aisle to find solutions that work for Mainers, not parties.

If you’re looking for a leader that won’t play into bitter, partisan politics and will instead lead with a steady hand and warm heart, Gideon is your candidate. I invite you to join me in voting for her on July 14.

Rep. Tori Kornfield

Bangor

Gardner for House District 123

I urge Orono voters to vote in the July 14 primary (absentee voting really is easy) and to select Meghan Gardner as the Democratic Party candidate for House District 123.

Meghan presently serves on the Orono Town Council, where: She always does her homework, having read and thought in advance about all items on the agenda; she is engaged with the proceedings, listens attentively to the opinions of others, and asks incisive questions; she is civil in discussion and debate; she brings well-grounded, realistic perspectives to government based on her parallel careers as teacher, parent, and owner/operator of a retail business; she is concerned for and speaks up on behalf of all segments of the community that are served by Orono town government. Most impressive is her ability to present a clear, concise summary of an issue along with compromises to be considered and a suggested path forward.

Meghan Gardner stands out as an opportunity for all residents of Orono, with all their diverse concerns, to be represented in Augusta by an exceptionally capable legislator.

Fredrica E. Smith

Orono

Yes on Question 3 in Penobscot County

The 38 dedicated and professionally trained emergency dispatchers that I work with at the Penobscot Regional Communications Center (PRCC) need your help on July 14 to be able to perform our jobs — which are to keep the residents of Penobscot County safe.

Vote yes on Question 3 to upgrade the Penobscot County 9-1-1 Radio Communications System.

PRCC serves over 150,000 residents and handles over 1.8 million calls and radio transmissions a year for 65 Police, Fire and Rescue/Ambulance agencies across Penobscot County.

To protect and serve the public to the best of our abilities, Penobscot County desperately needs to invest in upgrading our 9-1-1 Radio Communications System, which dates back to the 1990s. Over time the current radio system has proven to provide poor coverage and continues to be unreliable and obsolete. These problems have only been magnified as we struggle to find replacement parts for equipment that is no longer manufactured and prone to unpredictable breakdowns. For several years we have mended small problems that ultimately require full reconstruction.

These radio issues put the citizens of Penobscot County at risk. Residents need a system they can count on, because in an emergency every second counts. The smallest delay can be the difference between life and death or a small kitchen fire versus the total destruction of a home. Penobscot County needs a single reliable system that works every time; and one that you can count on when you have an emergency.

An upgrade would provide our dispatch center with the latest technology and a reliable, efficient system in Penobscot County to save lives and property.

On July 14, vote yes on Question 3 to upgrade the Penobscot County 9-1-1 Radio Communications System. When the public calls 9-1-1 for help, it is the PRCC’s emergency communications system that makes sure help gets there.

Blake Miller

Senior Operator

Penobscot Regional Communications center

Bangor

Election notice

The BDN has stopped accepting commentary and letters related to the July 14 election. Not all submissions can be printed.

Letters submitted by BDN readers, edited and verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.