How to address out-of-state drug dealers

I propose a new law in Maine to address the influx of out-of-state drug dealers. Once duly prosecuted for one felony or three misdemeanor drug convictions, the defendant would be sentenced to prison for the full term allowed by law. The sentence, however, would be suspended and the defendant would return to his or her state. If the defendant returns to Maine within 10 years, the suspended sentence would apply and he or she would be imprisoned for the full term.

Maine residency would be established by at least two years of proven employment, non-welfare status and absence of child support requirements. This would assure we are not discriminating against out-of-state individuals, only those who come to sell their junk and profit from the death and destruction of our residents.

Paul Haslam


No place in NFL for hit men

While watching the Super Bowl I saw one of the most flagrant facemask fouls I have ever seen.

It is true that grabbing the facemask happens quite frequently, but there is no call for what happened on this play. Corey Brown, a Carolina Panthers receiver, was headed for the end zone when Aquib Talib, a Denver Broncos safety, grabbed his mask and threw him out of the playing field.

Talib should have been ejected from the game. There is no place in the NFL for players who are nothing more than hit men trying to seriously hurt someone.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should take a good look at that play and, if nothing else, suspend Talib for part of next year and give him a hefty fine.

John L. Clark


Higher minimum wage helps single mothers

At 21 years old, it seemed like I had life figured out, but after 11 years of marriage, plans changed. I was a divorced, single mom.

I had always worked, but without a second parent helping in the home, time commitments became overwhelming, a story single moms know well. When my son had to be picked up at school, I was fired.

Incidents like this are far too common. Every day, single parents, often working women, are forced to choose between making the living that keeps a roof over their children’s heads and taking care of them, whether it’s to be picked up from school, to watch a sick toddler or to take them to doctors’ appointments.

Furthermore, when women are working minimum wage jobs that don’t offer paid sick time, a day when they’re forced to stay home can often mean the difference between making rent or not. When I make it to the end of the month, I often fear one of my kids will get sick because a lost day’s pay would be devastating.

Women should not be forced to choose between losing their jobs and caring for a sick child, and uncooperative schedules force women to choose low-wage jobs instead of jobs that offer a livable wage. A minimum wage that pays the bills and paid sick leave are not just economic issues. They’re women’s issues. They affect women’s abilities to grow, thrive, produce and succeed.

Jennifer Beek


LePage’s contrived Husson town hall meeting

In his Jan. 25 BDN OpEd, Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos questioned why Channel 7 would jeopardize its “journalistic integrity” and why Husson University would abrogate its “mission to advance critical thinking and the advancement of knowledge” in order to participate in Gov. Paul LePage’s staged “town hall meeting.”

As for Channel 7, perhaps it succumbed to the allure of having exclusive coverage, even if it was a contrived event. One can only wonder about Husson’s role in this charade, but Husson has connections with the governor’s office through Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley, who served as the university’s president and CEO for 22 years.

LePage has shown himself to have a long reach when it comes to exacting retribution against his political enemies. It may be just as long when it comes to calling in a favor.

Edmund P. Chernesky


Guns a societal problem

Sorry if I’m beginning to sound like a proverbial fear monger. But I can’t help but feel that our citizens are totally oblivious to the danger all these guns will and are having on our society. This is a growing problem that no one seems to want to address. It is all so utterly senseless that this manufactured fear can so easily be used by nefarious parties to manipulate and control huge sections of our society to do their bidding.

James Chasse

St. Agatha

Raise the minimum wage

I frequently hear the argument that low wages are starting wages, and those who work hard will rise of out poverty. Unfortunately, this is often not reality. Today, I work a comfortable job, but before that I was a broke college student working my way through school on minimum wage.

I was very lucky to have a supportive family give me financial, emotional and practical support while I attended the University of Maine at Machias. For many people who are alone, have limited means, have a disability or families to support, those barriers are can be impossible to overcome.

That’s why, although I no longer work for the minimum wage, I support it raising it. It’s bad for our economy to have young people drop out of school, to have parents work 60 hours per week and to have such a large base of our people unable to spend money to create more jobs.

It also is thoroughly unfair to have corporations making record profits without having the people who make these businesses successful sharing in the prosperity they help to generate.

But the biggest travesty of this debate is the way people are stigmatized for working for low wages. Many of the hardest working people I know make less than $10 per hour, and to know they are doing everything in their power to make their lives and their children’s futures better while being denigrated and lectured is repugnant.

Angie Bourque