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Embarrassment turned to shame

My wife and I grew up in Republican families in what was then the solidly Republican State of Vermont, LBB (Long Before Bernie).

My own belief in the Republican Party was centered around two principles, the first being fiscal responsibility. I was disappointed when that principle began to erode during the Nixon-Reagan years. The second principle was that government should stay out of the private lives of its citizens. It seems to me that the sexual orientation of who a citizen can marry and the reproductive rights of women are as private as it can get, yet the Republican Party has become more and more shrill over the last couple of decades about supporting this intrusion.

The disappointment turned to embarrassment four years ago when an unscrupulous real estate developer managed to convince Americans he was qualified to be president. This man, who doesn’t seem to have been denied anything since infancy, has shown over the months since the 2020 election that he is unable to deal with reality.

Finally last week, embarrassment turned to shame. Shame on the presidency, the Republican Party and more importantly shame on America in the eyes of the world. My wife and I have concluded that we must, with deep regret, divorce ourselves from the Republican Party, register as independents and once again be proud to be Americans.

Jim Corliss

Hampden

We’re all in this together

As our country begins to heal and back away from a precipice we almost went over, I hope our fairly elected leaders can be open to the fact that anger and distrust of the government did not start with Donald Trump. We have watched as over the years the uber rich got richer and the middle class, with their over 40 years of stagnant wages, have become more desperate and confused as to who to trust.

The people in the hallowed halls of Congress have created Cadillac health coverage for themselves while the rest of us scramble to find affordable coverage. They have made sure they are secure in their old age while we are facing increased uncertainty. We need more than fine words. This country needs to reaffirm its commitment to the common good. This means fair taxes, help for those who need it and a level economic playing field.

The people we trust with the power to run this country cannot forget that we are all in this together and now would be a good time to recommit to that.

Doug Crate

Winterport

Helping Maine people build their futures

Building a budget is hard work — because it involves making choices about what we value. The governor’s proposed budget released Friday is mostly flat, a gift in such a challenging year.

The state’s public colleges and universities are a critical resource and, frankly, a necessary next step for Maine’s young people to be fully prepared to enter today’s workforce. Without any training or education after high school, Mainers face limited opportunities for earning a decent wage and pursuing careers that will sustain them into the future. That is why the state subsidizes public higher education — the state wants to help make that education as widely available as possible.

The higher the state allocation, the more the colleges can do: lowering costs for students and offering more courses and training options for high-demand programs. Right now, for example, Maine’s community colleges can’t keep up with demand for several of our health care programs, such as nursing, respiratory therapy, as well as phlebotomy, pharmacy technician and medical assistant training. Companies across the state are looking to hire people in these fields – and they are not finding the workers with the right skills. We provide the education people need to get those jobs.

Collectively, the state’s public higher education institutions offer all high school graduates and Maine’s adult learners a chance to pursue their dreams, whether it’s just weeks of short-term training for quick entry into a skilled labor job, or a years-long commitment to pursuing an academic degree. So we’ll enter the budget season grateful there aren’t major cuts — that would be devastating. We are prepared to make the case that Maine’s community colleges need additional state support so we can serve more people in Maine by helping them build their futures and growing the state’s economy.

David Daigler

President

Maine Community College System

Portland