Every child deserves a shot at life

As a volunteer for the United Nations Foundation, I have spent the past few weeks taking to the airwaves and Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of childhood of immunizations in the global economy. Now as we enter World Immunization Week (April 24-30), I invite everyone statewide to join me.

One in seven children in the world still lacks access to the basic childhood vaccines, leading to 1.5 million unnecessary deaths each year. Great strides have been made over the last decade to give more families access to immunizations for their children. The measles vaccine alone has prevented an estimated 20.3 million deaths between 2000 and 2015. We cannot stop now and lose the significant gains we’ve made.

The United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign is asking U.S. legislators to help reduce vaccine-preventable childhood deaths around the world by providing adequate funding for global vaccine programs. In addition to the moral and humanitarian impact, giving children around the world access to immunizations increases global and national security. In today’s interconnected world, these deadly diseases don’t stop at borders, as demonstrated by recent measles outbreaks and Ebola cases in the United States. Immunizations also are a financially sound investment; for every $1 spent on childhood immunizations, $44 in economic benefits is reaped.

The solution is in our hands. Distribution systems are already in place. All we need to do is commit. Please join the growing movement of champions who believe that every child deserves a shot at a healthy life.

Ashley Daigle


Guns have no place on campus

I am writing to express my opposition to LD 1370, a dangerous bill that would allow guns to be carried onto Maine’s public university campuses. As a university student, I know that college is a time of emotional ups and downs.

Suicide and mental health is a serious issue for students. According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, about 33 percent of the college students they surveyed in 2015-2016 who were seeking mental health services through their university had seriously considered attempting suicide. Suicide by gun is the most fatal method of attempt and rarely allows a second chance. College students are notoriously impulsive, something that is beneficial when they are looking to join a new club, but possibly devastating if they are having suicidal thoughts and have access to a gun.

Another reason why I strongly oppose this bill is the threat of date rape and violence on campus. Young women particularly have a hard enough time feeling safe living on their own without the added fear that the new young man they’re dating might be in possession of a gun. College should be a place of safe exploration. Impulsiveness, campus drinking and guns is not a recipe for success.

We look to campus leaders and our legislators to keep us safe. I urge my fellow Mainers to voice their concern about this dangerous bill.

Juliet McFadden


March for the climate

On April 29, Mainers will be marching in Washington, D.C., Augusta and Bar Harbor to raise awareness of climate change and the actions that must be taken to slow the dangerous effects we are already experiencing here in Maine and around the world.

In Bar Harbor, we are marching at home instead of Washington, to reduce our carbon footprint at the same time as we make our voices heard locally. We have invited Rep. Bruce Poliquin to participate in the March, either here or in Augusta. His participation would send a strong message to his constituents about his commitment to addressing the serious impacts of climate change.

The disastrous worldwide effects of climate change are well known, yet we can see even in the forests of Maine the encroaching effects of a warming climate. A 2013 study by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences concluded that “Climate change greatly increases the vulnerability of one-third of Maine’s species of conservation concern.” Due to shorter winters and the resulting increase in parasites, including ticks, we are seeing a major increase in Lyme disease, and serious declines in the populations of moose, lobster, shrimp, lynx, brook trout, salt marsh birds, dragonflies and other important species.

We urge everyone to march with us, in Bar Harbor or Augusta, and we hope Poliquin will join us, assuring Mainers that he will use his voice and his votes in Congress to protect our special ecosystem, which is not only the soul of Maine but the heart of its economy.

Dixie Hathaway

Bar Harbor