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

Questions for Gagnon

On June 3, Matthew Gagnon expressed ostensible concerns about how Democrats might be able to use a bipartisan commission investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection for their own political purposes. His stated fears focused on whether such a commission could be used to influence the upcoming midterm elections.

In response, I have two questions for Gagnon. One, did he miss the several Republican-led Benghazi investigations? Two, if the findings from a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission pointed to culpability of elected politicians concerning how the insurrection was handled, why should those findings not influence the next elections?

Donald Holmes

Sedgwick

Equity for teachers 

I want everyone to know that if someone has the misfortune of being a retired teacher in the Maine Retirement System, they have been dealing with an ongoing disparity between the way teachers are treated as compared to the way legislators, wardens and troopers are treated.  

When I first retired from teaching in 2000, I discovered that teachers only had 30 percent of their insurance covered by the state system, and the others mentioned above had 100 percent paid.

I complained to the Maine Education Association, and hearings were held in Augusta. The legislators agreed, but said that we can’t afford to do it now, but would increase it by 10 percent per year.

Well, we got a 10 percent increase the next year (to 40 percent), but the year thereafter we got a notice saying that due to budget constraints, the state can only increase it by five percent that year. And guess what? Nothing came the next year.

I was gravely ill at the time, and hoped someone else would pursue it. So here we are in 2021, and last year I approached my new legislator Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham about correcting the disparity. He and a fellow legislator (a retired teacher) proposed increasing it by 10 percent yet again.

COVID shut down the Legislature, so I finally called and left a message saying that this is about inequity.

So, I propose that the Legislature and others vote for everyone in the system to pay the same amount. In fact, to be absolutely fair, they should pay us a lump sum for all the years we’ve been the base of a pyramid scheme.  

Why am I the only one who cares about this? I ask that all the retired teachers in Maine contact their legislators to change this inequity right away. Enough is enough!

Mary Lou Weaver

Winter Harbor

An example for local businesses

I want to thank Elizabeth Hutchings, owner of Hutchings Greenhouse in Eddington, for her generosity this week when she gave away plants to local non-profit organizations. At the end of their season they sometimes have a number of unsold plants and seedlings. Rather than just compost them, they invite members of local non-profit organizations to pick up plants that can be placed around churches, public parks, schools and other non-profits.

This is an incredible act of generosity that is greatly appreciated. It is also an example of how to reuse and recycle that is becoming a part of our new economy. It was a hectic day of work for Hutchings and her family, as every plant that was picked up had to be tallied for their greenhouse records. It would have been easier for them to just throw the plants into a big compost pile and be done with it.

They have set an example of creative business practices that are a benefit for everyone. In addition to our gratitude for the gift, we wonder how other local businesses could benefit our community by emulating them.

Jim Mitchell

Old Town