Maine’s ignoble governor

Gov. Paul LePage’s latest action in naming himself “commissioner of education” for the state has belittled the position and undermined the difficult work of Maine’s educators. Many of the governor’s past actions and stances indicate that he does not hold Maine’s public education system in high regard. I agree that the system is not flawless, but the governor and the commissioner of education should have the best interests, and the intellectual development, of the next generation of Mainers at heart. LePage appears not to.

In addition to his latest abuse of power, it seems that he has intended from the beginning to govern Maine ignobly. The governor appears to have no patience for the opinions of those he disagrees with, and no nuance in his own thought. Recently, he made inflammatory and offensive remarks regarding guys who come to Maine to commit crimes and impregnate our “ young, white girls.” Whether or not he intended or knew these words to be explicitly racist is beside the point. This is not the type of comment that should come from the mouth of Maine’s highest ranking official, in charge of educating our children, or otherwise.

It is time for LePage to step down from his position as governor. It seems the only ethical thing left for him to do.

Zachary Smith


Clark for Hancock County commissioner

I am pleased to announce my candidacy for the office of county commissioner in District 1 in Hancock County.

I am a lifelong county resident, have lived in Ellsworth for more than 35 years and served 34 years as Hancock County sheriff. If elected, I will be the only person in recent memory who served as a department manager for such a long period of time and went on to become a county commissioner.

My extensive knowledge of county government and my excellent working relationship with the existing county employees and department heads will serve the county well.

My immediate goals if elected are to promote sound financial policies, embrace a county administration system and to conduct county business in a more transparent manner, always adhering to Maine’s right-to-know law.

William F. Clark


Beardsley well qualified for education post

Getting government to work right requires negotiation and compromise. Negotiation and compromise requires respect for and civility with those you are working with. Today’s environment is sadly lacking. It is no wonder that today so many talented and gifted people opt not to run for office and not to serve in government.

Last week, the governor decided not to continue with William Beardsley’s nomination as commissioner of education because the confirmation process was to be difficult. I am a registered Democrat, but I make my appeal to all parties — it’s time to put the pettiness behind and move on with governing our state.

There is no one more qualified to oversee our education system then Beardsley. His credentials are impeccable, his experience invaluable. His record of bringing Husson University through financial and operational crisis to the point where it is now one of the most respected institutions in New England could well be used in our state. I would hope he could lend his skills to mentoring and guiding our state’s education system. And let there be no question as to the state’s need for a talented and dedicated commissioner of education.

If we don’t stop discouraging good people from serving, where will we end up? Of course, we have to vet candidates for office, but we must not harass and beleaguer them to the point where no one will want to serve. Enough is enough. The focus has to be on recruiting and governing with the best people possible.

Peter Reilly


Food sovereignty movement marches on

To date, 16 towns in our state have adopted Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinances that are based in Maine’s strong constitutional home rule provisions. These ordinances are intended to encourage the consumption of local foods procured from local sources without undue regulation by state or federal agencies.

I am happy to say that we will be considering an ordinance at our annual town meeting in March and look forward to having Liberty be the next town on the list. The defeat of several “food” bills in the current legislative session emphasizes the need for more towns to adopt these ordinances to strengthen our voices in Augusta.

Richard King


LePage no role model

In the words of Bob Dylan: “The times, they are a-changin’.” One only needs to watch the nightly news or pick up a local newspaper to understand that civility, respect and personal character are things of the past. The concept of being a “positive role model” and someone to be looked up to and respected has given way to the bullies slugging it out on the school playgrounds, except that today, the playgrounds have become the halls of Congress, presidential debates and the governor’s office.

Now don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I have privately used inappropriate language when I have been angry or upset. On occasion, being angry or upset may not be a bad thing. It’s how one handles the anger and frustration that demonstrates a person’s true character. But this new found “freedom” for the use of vulgar language and personal insults directed at others, as far as I am concerned, has moved outside the boundaries. I don’t like it and I don’t like listening to it.

In particular, I am referring to the vulgar choice of words used by Gov. Paul LePage, the person who is said to be now leading the state Department of Education. Isn’t that being a role model for children? It will be very difficult for a teacher, school principal or school board to ever discipline a student again because the new standard has been set by the person leading and governing the state. As the young student proclaims in the principal’s office, “if it’s OK for the commissioner of education or governor to use those words, it’s OK for me.” What a great role model.

Jan Laux