Credit: George Danby / BDN

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

For those who need help: call the Maine Suicide Prevention Program’s toll-free crisis hotline at 1-888-568-1112 or nationwide at 1-800-273-TALK or text TALK to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Divesting power from the elites

Recent letters to the editor have sounded off on Rep. Liz Cheney’s ouster from Republican leadership, and high-ranking members of both parties in Congress — including our own Sen. Susan Collins — have risen to Cheney’s defense. The specific choice of Elise Stefanik to supplant Cheney, and Donald Trump’s 2016 election and close 2020 loss, both evince a populism that rejects the insiders and so-called “elites” that have controlled both parties but especially the Democrat Party for decades.

It is thus pointedly significant and revelatory that a high-ranking Republican member of the Senate (Collins) would take the time to comment on House issues, and that powerful Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi would offer positive comments for Cheney even though the whole issue is a Republican intra-party election.

Akin to the above-noted populism are the recent reports of citizens across America recalling school board members to stop them from teaching their children what they consider historically inaccurate and race-based curricula. The reflexive Left — distinct and different from thoughtful, genuine liberals — and the vested aristocratic class of both parties, have gone too far, and they should rightfully be divested of their power and relegated to the ashbin of history.

Brian Striar

Bangor

Keep guns in safe places

“Toddler shoots parents with gun left on night table. Three-week-old unhurt.” The injured Bath, Maine parents and their baby are lucky to be alive.

People have a right to own a gun. We have a right to expect their safe care of it, especially if our kids or grandkids are visiting their home.

Guns are the leading cause of suicide, three times more likely in homes with unprotected guns. Deaths by suicide represent 89 percent of Maine gun deaths.

Does everyone train their families in safe gun use? We hear, “If I have to lock up my guns, I can’t get to them fast enough to defend against a home invader.” Nope! Several gun safes out there open in seconds and cost as little as $75.

Please urge Maine legislators to save lives by passing LD 759. Why would anyone not want killer weapons to be kept in safe places?

Carol Selsberg

Eliot

Rebuild Maine’s unemployment system

For the past year, I’ve seen how broken Maine’s unemployment system is through my work running the Maine AFL-CIO’s Unemployment Assistance group. During the pandemic, thousands of Mainers waited weeks and even several months to get their benefits after they were laid off due to the pandemic. Many became desperate.

They watched their savings deplete and struggled to pay for housing, make car payments and meet other basic needs while waiting for the Maine Department of Labor to give them answers and process their benefits. A few became so distraught that they wanted to end their lives. A woman in recovery needed a referral for someone to help with her finances because she had suddenly received five and a half months back pay and had struggled so badly through the process of waiting for benefits that she didn’t want to relapse.

Five and a half months is way too long for anyone to have to suffer without income. Currently, the Maine Legislature is considering a bill ( LD 1571) that would rebuild and strengthen the state unemployment system to ensure workers receive adequate and timely wage replacement when they lose their jobs through no fault of their own. It would also establish an unemployment navigator system to assist laid off workers in answering their questions and help identify problems in the system.

I urge Gov. Janet Mills and the Legislature to pass LD 1571 to build an unemployment system that functions properly and prevents the kind of pain Mainers endure due to our outdated unemployment system.

Suzanne Young

Winterport