Collins must vote against Senate health bill

I am one of Sen. Susan Collins’ constituents who will lose health care coverage if she votes yes on the final Senate health care bill. She must know why she is the focus of many articles and much speculation: Her vote has a high likelihood of being the deciding vote for this bill.

A no vote on this bill, rather than just on the procedural motion to proceed, would mark Collins as a truly independent thinker who recognizes that the actions of the Republican leadership have strayed so far from her proud Republican roots that party loyalty is no longer applicable. Ronald Reagan said, “I have always felt that medical care should be available to those who cannot otherwise afford it.” How can any person who possesses a modicum of compassion disagree?

The question ahead is not whether it is right or wrong to vote for this bill. She has already stated that she could not support a bill that takes health care away from millions of people, that defunds Planned Parenthood, or that increases premiums for the elderly, a huge number of whom live in our state. This bill does all of those things. The question ahead of Collins is whether she have the guts to stand up for what we know is right.

I have hope she will continue to choose true leadership over blind loyalty, the lives of Mainers over bonuses for insurance CEOs and tax cuts for billionaires, and the health for millions of Americans by voting no on the Senate health care bill.

Nacole Palmer


Be an advocate

Diagnosed with afibrinogenemia — a bleeding disorder — when I was just 1 day old, I will need medical treatments for the rest of my life. But while afibrinogenemia will always be a part of my life, many people have never even heard of the disease. And that’s why advocacy is so important.

Though I struggled at a young age to advocate for myself and educate others about my bleeding disorder, as an adult, I now realize and understand just how important it is to find your voice and be an advocate.

As I work toward becoming a licensed clinical social worker in the health care field, I will continue to help build awareness surrounding afibrinogenemia, and ensure that others living with afibrinogenemia or other chronic diseases know that they are not alone in their journey through life.

The chronic disease community is wide and diverse — including bleeding disorders, cancer, arthritis and diabetes, among others — but that’s what makes advocacy even more vital. We all have voices, we all have stories to tell, and we all can help raise disease awareness and advocate for the millions of Americans living with chronic and life-threatening diseases.

Just like me, I encourage you to define your own advocacy style and do whatever you can to help raise disease awareness. From being a part of national disease chapters like the National Hemophilia Foundation or joining patient advocacy groups like the Chronic Disease Coalition, your voice matters, and by sharing your story, you truly can make a difference.

Bridget Hunnewell


Stand up for solar

I want to thank my representative, Jeffrey K. Pierce, for standing up and supporting the bipartisan solar bill, LD 1504, as amended.

Solar electricity, unlike electricity from coal, oil and natural gas, does not require Maine dollars to go out of state to buy the fuel. Once the panels are installed, the Maine sun provides the free fuel. Solar energy is spreading throughout the country as the right path forward, but Maine ranks in last place in the region for solar production, investment and jobs. Solar jobs are technical, provide growth opportunity, and can’t be outsourced overseas.

Maine legislators have developed a bipartisan solar bill that moves us in the right direction. This bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly and the House by a significant majority, but is expected to be vetoed by the governor.

Having attended many of the hearings and work sessions this spring on the various solar bills, this bill is a compromise. But LD 1504, as amended, is clearly better for ratepayers and solar than the Maine Public Utilities Commission rule, which would have taken effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Thanks again to Pierce for voting for LD 1504. With the expected veto of the governor, those representatives who voted against the bill initially will have another chance to vote for solar progress. I urge Maine legislators to follow Pierce and stand up to the governor by voting for the override of the governor’s veto of LD 1504.

Dot Kelly