June 26, 2019
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Wednesday, May 28, 2019: Infrastructure action, support solar bill, the awesomeness of libraries

Open our primaries

I fully support LD 211, which would open Maine’s primary elections to unaffiliated voters. These would not be fully open primaries. LD 211 simply permits independents to participate in one primary of their choice without enrolling in that party.

The loudest argument I hear against LD 211 is that a party’s primary elections should be decided only by party members. To me, that is easily drowned out by the simple, democratic argument that unaffiliated voters pay for our primaries just as the rest of us do.

I enrolled in a political party, not to join an exclusive club, but because I saw an organization that largely reflects my values. Having fellow Mainers pay for elections that I may participate in, but that 35 percent of voters are barred from, is not a value of mine.

Furthermore, unaffiliated voters outnumber those registered with any Maine party. They have a significant impact on the outcome of general elections. One would think that strategically, any party would want a candidate chosen during primary elections who appeals not only to its traditional base, but to voters outside the party who “lean” that party’s direction. This can only happen by permitting those voices in our primaries.

Carla White

South Thomaston

Support solar bill

If you care about addressing climate change, please lend your support to the solar bill — LD 1711 — from Sen. Dana Dow.

This comprehensive solar bill based on years of discussion by municipalities, renewable energy companies and conservationists removes barriers to solar power development in Maine and benefits our state economy by keeping energy dollars in Maine.

It enables individuals, businesses and municipalities to access solar energy with little to no upfront costs using leases or shares in community solar projects. It creates hundreds of jobs for electricians, builders and contractors, and increases access to community solar by establishing specific policies to assist low- and moderate-income households. Please contact your state legislators and ask them to vote in favor of LD 1711.

Jean Adamson

Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network

Hampden

Infrastructure action

Perhaps it’s time to move infrastructure from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Defense. We can declare war on rust, on potholes, on technological obsolescence, on winter and summer damage, a war on time.

We just launched a Zumwalt, a ship that can’t shoot all of its guns. We’re spending roughly $100 million per plane for F-35s, a trillion dollar program that the Congressional Budget Office suggests we can save billions by using different planes. Coming up are new submarines costing more than $100 billion.

Surely we can slide some of this money to transportation. Old-school thought: Without infrastructure, we can’t move armies, navies and aircraft. Adolf Hitler knew this and built the Autobahn. So did President Dwight Eisenhower. If we declare a war on rust, we still distribute taxpayer money to a wide variety of districts, provide jobs and end up with something useful. What is not to like?

Ben Fuller

Cushing

The awesomeness of libraries

As a librarian, I would like to thank Sen. Susan Collins for her continued, ongoing support of libraries. Moving forward, I urge Collins to leverage her leadership position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure the fiscal year 2020 funding level for the Institute of Museum and Library Services as approved by the House Appropriations Committee.

Funding is at stake for libraries across the nation, including our wonderful Maine libraries. Grants from the institute, to the sum of $1,195,092 in 2019, enabled Maine libraries to invest in the vital services that make our communities stronger – such as after-school programs, STEM programming, veterans assistance, books in the mail for the homebound, and even circulating fishing gear and telescopes. Investing in Maine’s libraries is important to local economies in their role to develop the workforce through job seeker and small-business assistance.

Despite the awesomeness of libraries, the White House has proposed eliminating the institute. For the past two years, Congress responded with increases for the institute and even reauthorized the agency in the bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act of 2018, cosponsored by Collins.

I urge Collins to please continue to support libraries and strengthen communities by ensuring strong funding for institute.

Sonya Durney

Legislative chair

Maine Library Association

East Waterboro

 



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