Credit: George Danby / BDN

Make Child Tax Credit permanent

The monthly Child Tax Credit (CTC) started just at the right time, especially given the hardships brought forth by the pandemic. We must make the CTC permanent.

I have been very sick this year, and it took me a while to recover and get my health back.

I usually do the grocery shopping for our family; we switched to buying food online due to my illness, which raised our expenses. Additionally, we rely on food stamps, and every month we had to pay cash to cover our increased costs, just to put food on the table until the next month.

My two daughters will be in their sophomore year in Bangor High school, and after being home for a year and a half, we need to purchase more resources for them to be prepared for in-person classes.

I will be attending courses this semester at the University of Maine to make up for the classes I missed when I was ill. I still don’t have enough money to pay for my car repairs and get the inspection sticker. I will need to get a work-study job on campus to cover our extra expenses; unfortunately, these jobs don’t pay enough. A $1,400 per semester federal work study award can’t even get our family of four through a month.

The monthly child tax credit will make things easier for us without worrying about meeting our essential needs. This support will help us complete our school years successfully and live in dignity.

Humam Shawqi


Protect Medicare Advantage

When I retired after a full career with the phone company, there were many questions about what kind of health care coverage I would receive once I retired and no longer got full-time benefits. After doing my research, I enrolled in Medicare Advantage. This plan allows me to be able tailor it to fit my healthcare needs, while concentrating on the importance of preventative care. Medicare Advantage offers me comprehensive care and the assurance that all services I might need will be affordable, thanks to a cap on out-of-pocket costs.

Now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, I am forever thankful for my Medicare Advantage Plan. Last year, I tested positive for COVID-19 and it was a very difficult time, but having quality healthcare helped me fully recover.

Older Mainers like me need Medicare Advantage to allow us to continue living full, healthy lives. Don’t just take it from me: roughly  40 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in Maine are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and that number continues to grow. Whatever services you might need, Medicare Advantage offers a range of coverage options that allow seniors to tailor their personal care.

With all the benefits this program has provided, I hope that Sen. Angus King and others in Congress will continue the fight to protect and strengthen Medicare Advantage. Without this program, people over 65 across Maine might lose access to affordable healthcare coverage.

Ben Twitchell


$3.5 trillion is not too much

Three and a half trillion dollars. Sounds like a lot of money. But let’s remember that’s budgeted over 10 years, so it’s $350 billion per year. Divide that by the approximately 328 million people in the U.S. and it comes out to $1,000 per person per year. Many of Rep. Jared Golden’s policy positions will be included in budget reconciliation, which is part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better effort. Some of those policies include lower drug prices and expansion of Medicare to include care for vision and hearing, real action to reverse climate change, investments in child care and elder care, and affordable housing for the homeless.

This will create jobs and cut taxes for working families – paid for by making the tax code fairer and making the wealthiest and large corporations pay their share (according to a recent Americans for Tax Fairness poll over two-thirds of voters, 69 percent, support raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations).

Golden has yet to support the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation effort. Yet he supported increasing the Pentagon’s budget by $24 billion, bringing it to $738.9 billion for fiscal year 2022. Multiply that out and you have a whopping $7.5 trillion over 10 years.

It’s time to invest in the citizens of our country. Don’t let Golden or any other congressperson tell you that $3.5 trillion is too much to invest in our country.

Mary Smith