Dark history hangs over 2016 election

History is repeating itself. In the early 1930s, there was a leader in the world that wanted to eliminate all the Jewish people from Germany and other countries, as well as to fence them into ghettos to control where they lived.

Now in 2016, some people want to vote into power a man who wants to eliminate all Muslims from our country and place a large fence to keep all Mexicans out, to control where they live. I don’t think our country needs to go backwards.

John Lee


Local TV news lacks diversity

About a year ago, WABI-TV hired a news reporter from North Carolina, Nikelle Williams. In my recollection, Williams was the first person of color to work for Channel 5. That, alone, gave me a great deal of pleasure. Except for Melissa Kim, who reported on sports for Channel 2 for a few years, Bangor television stations’ news reporters have all been Caucasian.

Williams was assigned to the mid-Maine news office and filed some fine reports — mostly off-camera. Now Williams is gone and I miss her. She has the qualities to be a major market journalist, and perhaps that’s why she is no longer with Channel 5.

I don’t know the circumstances of her departure. What I do know is that there is a serious lack of diversity among the men and women who bring us our news on TV.

Hal Wheeler


Vote in Republican caucuses

On March 5, Washington County Republicans have the opportunity to caucus in preparation for the state convention in Bangor April 21-23 and to voice our choice for a presidential candidate. We will caucus at the Elm Street School in East Machias from 2 to 6 p.m. Local and presidential candidates or their representatives will speak from 3 to 6 p.m.

Our municipal committees elect delegates to the state convention in Bangor and bind them to vote for the caucus’ presidential choice there on the first ballot. (After that, should there be a need for additional votes to choose a presidential candidate, those delegates are free to vote for any candidate they choose). For Republicans to participate in this important selection of a candidate, their towns must organize and caucus in East Machias on March 5. Organizing simply means that an enrolled Republican from each town must participate.

Registrars of voters will be available at the caucus from 2 to 3 p.m. to enroll new Republicans. Municipal organizing caucuses will begin at 2 p.m. as well. Presidential voting will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. All towns must caucus at this event for their members to be eligible to vote at the state convention in April. We look forward to seeing you there.

Tim Thompson


Washington County Republican Committee


To end poverty, raise the minimum wage

Minimum wage is not enough to live on and every day Mainers struggle to make ends meet. I’m a lifelong Mainer and a mental health care worker. Like many of the people who work to take care of loved ones in assisted living facilities, I work for low wages. These jobs, among the most important in our aging state, are undervalued and underpaid. Raising the minimum wage would improve the ability of thousands of people caring for our loved ones to care for their own loved ones.

Additionally, these low-paying jobs prevent people from adequately saving for their own retirements. People living paycheck to paycheck can’t put away for retirement, invest in a home, contribute as much to Social Security or save for a rainy day. Ultimately, this contributes to the vicious cycle that keeps our state in poverty.

Danielle VanHelsing


Caucus for Sanders

The other day, I went to the farmers market and handed out cards to remind people to go to their local Democratic caucus Sunday, March 6, to supporter Bernie Sanders.

At the farmers market, I found quite a few Sanders-friendly folks. I spent two very pleasant hours there handing out cards and chatting with people. It surprised me how many of Sanders’ supporters have never been to a Democratic caucus, but were interested in going this time. I think one could probably find other venues with a similarly minded crowd.

To find caucus locations and hours, visit MaineDems.org.

Jan Kloub


Photographer Degre a BDN gem

The BDN may be thin, but I’ll be a devoted reader as long as it continues to print photos by Gabor Degre. His work on Maine farms and farmers has been outstanding. I often clip his pictures to hang them where I can enjoy them until the paper fades and curls. The BDN has many other excellent photographers whose pictures tell a story as readily as words, but Degre is the very best.

Sharon Bray


Higher wage will close pay gap

Economic security is hard to achieve for many people, especially for women and single parents. I was in an abusive relationship before making the decision to leave. For women thinking about leaving with children, the reality of choosing what is often abject poverty can be a powerful deterrent when deciding to leave.

Without paid maternity leave, I was forced to leave both of my jobs when I had kids. This stopped me from being able to make career advancements and forced me to start over as I looked for a new employer.

With the costs of raising kids, when I tried to return to school, even with loans, it was too expensive.

A low minimum wage, often inaccessible maternity leave, torn social safety nets, expensive child care and out-of-reach education contributes significantly to the pay gap. This is exacerbated later when women, having contributed significantly less to Social Security, receive fewer benefits, bringing even more women into poverty.

All of these problems need to be addressed, but this year, Maine can take a big swipe at many of these problems. Raising the minimum wage makes it easier for families to make a living, increases Social Security contributions, makes education more accessible and gives women in situations like mine hope. The education referendum that will also be on the November ballot reduces the costs to parents for child care.

This November, we can make a dent in the pay gap.

Hannah Gray