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

Being patient with UMS changes

I was quite upset when the University of Maine System sent me a letter in August announcing changes to our health insurance. “How dare they?” and expletives were spoken. I felt that the agreement I retired under (an early retirement offer in 2014) had been violated. Because of recent articles and emotional discussions, I want to quickly say that, although I am not all the way through the process of obtaining a new provider, I have done enough research to see that I am going to land much better off than I have been the last few years. So patience is warranted.

The university system hired a company to assist retirees with the process and there are several more and less valuable tools provided to wade through the details. It is an aggravating slog, but it pays off. I will be paying less for better coverage no matter which plan I choose. I encourage folks to stop fighting and just do it. I managed the webinar and the site setup myself but it might be helpful to have a tech savvy child or grandchild nearby.

A very capable and caring system employee used to research and negotiate these plans for all 3,000 of us. That person retired and was not replaced. My cynical side said that instead of one expert person (with help) spending a few weeks negotiating at the system’s expense, they were going to ask all 3,000 non-experts of us to do the research and negotiate at our own expense.

That is true, and is the way of the self-service world these days. In this case, however, it has paid off. And, although I was very comfortable relying on choices made by people I trusted, I have to say I feel better having educated myself and am nearly ready to choose my plan.

Alison Cox

Former UMS IT Project Manager


USPS is essential

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has always been an essential service for all of us, and is exactly what its title says: a service that is necessary to Americans living within our various communities throughout the country. Perhaps we have taken our postal service — its existence and dependability — for granted, the same as expecting good schools and safe roads.

As a guaranteed public service, even to our remotest areas, The USPS must be well-funded and supported in order to provide the far-reaching, vital work they do for the well-being of us all everyday.

Our post offices and mail carriers, in both rural communities and urban areas throughout the U.S., perform duties and services in both a professional, but also compassionate manner well beyond the call of their designated work — offering a cheery greeting to a senior or young child, taking a few seconds to respond to a delivery question. They often help to make the fabric of our communities stronger.

It is in the best interest of all Americans now and in the future to expect and demand from our elected officials continual full support for the USPS, and to fully fund this essential service.

Jamie C. Gaudion


Vote carefully and in person

How can people be sure that their vote will count? I don’t think they can ever be entirely sure, but if they avoid that early or mail-in vote and vote in person at the poll, they can be much more confident.

Both sides are calling this election the most important in a lifetime. If you believe that, now is the time to take a risk. Others have given their lives, their bodies, and their minds for our nation. They have taken much greater risks and they have done that for us. We must take a risk for our nation and for our children.

It is now our turn. We must take a risk for our nation and for our children. We can do it with our vote.

But we have been warned about the likely challenges to early and mail-in voting.

People should wear their mask, their shield, their gloves and keep their distance. They should take the risk for their children and their grandchildren.

They should go in person to their local polling station on Nov. 3, and do their best to make that vote count.

Gordon Kenyon


Other flavors to choose in Senate race

Would any parent take their child to an ice cream shop that features a few dozen flavors on the menu and tell them they can only get vanilla or chocolate? Surely not, unless they’re prepared to face a lot of protest about why they can’t have a different flavor, one they really want.

Yet, that’s essentially what all too many political polls do when they limit respondents to only two choices.

The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,183 Maine voters, conducted Sept. 10-14, is one that clearly cast itself in the role of restrictive parent.

The poll script read: “If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Sara Gideon the Democrat and Susan Collins the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Sara Gideon the Democrat or Susan Collins the Republican?”

In other words, you’re getting vanilla or chocolate.

The Quinnipiac poll wasn’t the first to blatantly disregard candidates other than those of the ruling political class and that needs to change.

If a conscientious journalist wants to write a truly engaging story on such polls about the Maine Senate race, their lead should address why Lisa Savage and Max Linn, both of whom will appear on the ballot as independents, could only be recorded by pollsters as, “someone else.”

While I can’t speak for the particulars of Linn’s campaign, I know Savage’s vibrant grassroots campaign has turned my head and earned my vote. And I didn’t need ranked-choice voting to enable me to make that decision.

So, I’ll have a scoop of mint chocolate chip in a cone with green sprinkles, please.

Aimee Moffitt-Mercer


The cost to American families

The Max Mara purse Ivanka Trump carried a Bible in for her father’s June photo op: $1,500. President Donald Trump’s reported 2016 and 2017 income tax payments: $750. The cost to American families in excess American deaths due to COVID-19: priceless.

Donna Twombly

Eagle Lake