Respect President Trump

I was very troubled when I heard that some Democrats, including Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree, chose not to attend President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Have they forgotten that the people have spoken in who they want to lead this great nation?

When representatives take the oath of office aren’t they to serve the people that elected them, not their own agenda? And do they really think they their actions in not attending is going to help reunite our divided country? As a combat veteran with more than 30 years of military service, I did not believe in most of the policies of former President Barack Obama but I respected him in the position that he held as my commander in chief, and I knew that it was my duty to carry out his orders, if I liked it or not.

Maybe they need to take heart what our new president said in his inaugural address when he said: “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.’”

Maybe they would have learned something, had they attended.

Steve Curtis

Stacyville

Pruitt wrong choice for Maine

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been nominated to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a dangerous man. He has sued the EPA over its Clean Power Plan, colluded with the fossil fuel industry to fight regulations and considers the debate on climate change “ far from settled.”

This behavior is indicative of someone who sees our environment and natural resources as nothing more than a business opportunity to be exploited. We need an EPA administrator who is willing to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, not someone who, for example, copied letters from Devon Energy — an oil and gas company based in Oklahoma — onto government stationery and sent them to the EPA as the official position of his state.

This behavior is incredibly concerning. Functioning environmental systems are necessary for a strong economy and without them costs for basic needs like food, water and health care can skyrocket. Here in Maine we have abundant natural resources that need to be protected. Rolling back regulations at the request of energy lobbyists is not in the best interest of Mainers or the country.

If confirmed as EPA administrator, Pruitt would pose a real threat to the health and safety of Maine and the country as a whole. That is why I am calling on Sen. Susan Collins to join Sen. Angus King and stand up for the well-being of Maine families and reject Pruitt’s nomination.

Olin Jenner

Rockport

DeVos not fit for education post

I have a master’s degree in early childhood education, and I am a kindergarten teacher at RSU 14 in Windham. I am so opposed to Betsy DeVos as secretary of education I recently wrote and began circulating a letter for signatures to my colleagues in six school districts in southern Maine to ask Sen. Susan Collins to vigorously oppose her appointment.

I believe that DeVos is highly unqualified to hold this position, and I am gravely concerned that her motives, lack of experience, expertise, and commitment to improving and leading educators is inherently myopically focused. I watched her confirmation hearing with horror as she was unable to answer simple questions about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, accountability, and the basic workings of the public school system

As pointed out by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, she has never led an organization akin to the Department of Education, and she has never used any of the financial aid products she will offer to students as head of it. She has no experience of the needs or management of anything in education.

She has no experience on her resume that would qualify her for holding this office or any other office in the education field. She is a political, billionaire heavyweight who has the finances to jam through her ideology regardless of what is best for our children. We need true educational leadership and vision from solidly experienced individuals who are not putting their money and self-interest first.

Lindsey Pettus

Cumberland

Trump not entitled to his own facts

There’s actually a very simple, straightforward lesson for Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide to the president, with her statement that the White House press secretary Sean Spicer was just providing ” alternative facts” during a press conference last week. It comes from a very eloquent U.S. senator, the late Patrick Moynihan: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Nancy Fitzgerald

Gouldsboro

Monument drawing visitors

If anyone wishes to argue that there aren’t any visitors at Maine’s new national monument, one would expect that winter would be a good time to prove their point. But that’s not at all true. This past Sunday I counted 20 cars in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument parking lot. These vehicles belonged to users of the cross-country ski trails at the monument’s north end at Matagamon Gate. Many had come for the day, including 12 skiers from the Sierra Club Maine. There also was an overnight group staying at Haskell Hut near the East Branch of the Penobscot River.

To have this many people recreating on the lands near the East Branch in the deep mid-winter is no fluke. As a ski ambassador from Millinocket in the Volunteers in the Parks program, I talk to and answer questions from people I meet on the trail. These folks are drawn to the Katahdin area by the national monument brand name, and they patronize area businesses, spending money locally on gas, meals and lodging.

They represent a first wave of visitors here to ski and snowshoe on free, well-groomed cross-country trails with stunning river and mountain views. Their arrival holds out great hope for our ailing local economy. Many I talk to say they intend to return. I tell them to bring their friends along and don’t listen to any talk that nobody is using Maine’s new national monument.

Paul Corrigan

Millinocket