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Pass bipartisan infrastructure bill

Recently, the U.S. Senate took an important step to modernize our nation’s infrastructure by passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. As Sen. Susan Collins put it, this bill represents an “historic investment” for everyday infrastructure we all rely on, such as bridges, roads and ports, but it also looks beyond today by investing in broadband access as well as clean energy for a more sustainable and reliable future.

Maine is a leading state in renewable energy and is a prime target for the investments this package delivers to expand the energy market. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, roughly 80 percent of Maine’s electricity net generation comes from renewable energy sources, approximately a third of which is produced by hydroelectric power. And Collins agrees; “Clean energy holds great promise in the fight against climate change and has already proven to be a driver for economic growth.” Thankfully, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act recognizes that our future success relies on an all-the-above energy strategy, with Maine leading the charge.

Collins’ support of the bipartisan infrastructure package continues her long record of championing climate-smart policies from leading the National Clean Energy Week resolution last year, to supporting the Energy Act of 2020 and cosponsoring Growing Climate Solutions Act. I thank her for fighting in Washington to support the priorities of all Mainers and look forward to seeing how these thoughtful infrastructure investments will build a stronger future for generations to come.

John Picchiotti

Fairfield

Making a difference in people’s lives

As someone living with a chronic anxiety disorder/C-PTSD, I’m proud to be able to volunteer my time to facilitate Healthy Living for ME online workshops. These are transformative programs that make a big difference in the quality of life and health outcomes of Mainers across the state.

This past March, I participated in Healthy Living for ME’s virtual leader training for “Living Well for Better Health.” Since then, I’ve led that workshop through the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. It’s remarkable to see the real impact that this program makes on people’s lives. Participants learn from the workshop materials and leaders, but also benefit from hearing others’ stories and being part of a group that can relate to their experience.

With so many Mainers coping with persistent conditions, whether arthritis, heart disease, diabetes or, like myself, anxiety, it’s important that they know help is available. And those are only some of the chronic conditions that Healthy Living for ME workshops can help with.

More than 5,000 lives could be saved annually in Maine through better prevention and treatment of chronic conditions. Every lifestyle change or management strategy we can help Mainers implement is a step in the right direction. If someone would like to join me as a leader for Healthy Living for ME workshops, or if they would like to find out more about participating in a workshop, they can email info@healthylivingforme.org or visit healthylivingforme.org. By getting involved, they’ll be making a difference in their own life and in others’ lives.

Dianna Leighton

Fort Fairfield

Both sides of the budget equation

I am frustrated that press coverage of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan consistently emphasizes the price tag (somewhat misleadingly, given that the spending is over a 10-year period and substantially offset by revenue increases) rather than what is in the plan: a bunch of infrastructure, climate, health care, job-creation and tax reform proposals that are broadly popular.

It’s as if I were to inform my partner that I plan to increase our household expenses by $100,000, but without disclosing that it’s to lease a new electric car, install solar panels and send our kids to college — or that we can afford it because I just got a big raise. More than 80 years after the New Deal, no one speaks of how much FDR’s “spending package” cost, but we do recognize how it transformed American life.

Say what you will about Build Back Better as a marketing slogan, but leading with the price tag and burying what’s in the package is lazy journalism that does a disservice to readers, who need both sides of the equation to develop an informed opinion.

Bruce Snider

Belfast