Combat climate change

Recently, the Government Accountability Office published a report, “Climate Change: Information on Potential Economic Effects Could Help Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Fiscal Exposure,” which was requested by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Maria Cantwell, D-Washington. The report says the economic loss from natural disasters over the last decade exceeds $300 billion. The report also says if hurricanes and wildfires continue as they did this year, the annual cost will reach $35 billion by 2050.

I want to thank Collins for having the foresight to request the report. Maine’s farming and fishing industries are intrinsically linked to a warming planet. We must do two things: build communities that are more resilient in the face of extreme natural disasters, and combat climate change. To this end, we should incentivize the development of renewable energy and end subsidies to energy sources that pollute and contribute to climate change including oil, coal and gas. We give subsidies — estimated at $10 billion a year — to these companies to dirty our water, soil, and air.

I strongly urge Collins to support a carbon fee and dividend model and to sign on to the proposed End Polluter Welfare Act to combat climate change.

Samantha Le


Gun violence inaction

Upon a few hours’ mature consideration, it turns out that the incident in the Texas church is “ not a gun problem.” So explains our president, and it seems we must take his word for it. This diagnosis is a great relief to lawmakers everywhere, for it means that there is nothing they could have done or must do now to avert or mitigate such tragedies in the future. Instead, it is a “mental health” matter. As we all know, we don’t know how to deal with those very well; and as Congress knows, it’s not their problem at all.

So, all is well. These things will happen. It’s life on Earth. Remember that business in Las Vegas a little while back? Fifty-eight dead, and so on? There was some talk then about the man in Las Vegas who turned a semi-automatic rifle into one that performed very much like an automatic one. Maybe, some ventured, it should be banned. The idea became moot, with gun shops selling out of the item within days, even before it became forgotten.

All the pious pronouncements from our “leaders” amount to a giant and wary, “Tsk tsk!” The news channels will cover the first one or two funerals and then let us move on.

Robert McHenry


Support family caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, when more than 15 million Americans caring for someone with Alzheimer’s are recognized and honored. Caring for Alzheimer’s victims extends beyond effects on health, it also includes negative effects on income and financial security.

I was one of those caregivers providing care for my husband, Roland, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. A heavy impact was made on our financial status, as well as going through emotional stress due to the burden of caring for my loved one 24 hours a day.

Congress is now considering legislation that would provide much needed support to family caregivers. The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) family Caregivers Act would facilitate the creation of national strategy to address the many issues facing caregivers including education and training, and financial stability and security.

In September, the Senate unanimously passed the act, sending a message of support to our nation’s caregivers. I am so thankful to Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King for supporting the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which has yet to be passed by the House of Representatives. Please join me in asking and encouraging Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin for their support.

Elizabeth Martin


Alzheimer’s Association