Vote yes on Question 1

I am an old, undeclared Maine voter, and I vaguely remember Thomas Jefferson and the idea that every generation will have to fight for freedom and democracy.

On June 12, ranked-choice voting is on the ballot again. There is another issue intertwined in this vote. Voters can end the political maneuvering by the politicians in Augusta. These politicians have repeatedly chosen to ignore the will of the people. Ranked-choice voting passed in 2016 with 52 percent of the voter.

Then the politicians in Augusta tried to kill ranked-choice voting only to find the people pushing back hard. In one of the coldest winters I have experienced, the people went out and collected more than 80,000 signatures to have voters, not politicians, decide the fate of ranked-choice voting. It was a mass uprising in reaction to the Legislature’s inappropriate reaction to what the majority of people wanted.

Still, the politicians tried to stop it again by going to court — they lost and the people won again. June 12 is mostly about primary candidates but undeclared, independent voters must fight and must vote to make ranked-choice voting the law of the land. Let’s tell them yes on Question 1.

Ward Jarman

A terrible farm bill

The House Agriculture Committee is pushing a terrible partisan farm bill that will throw even more Maine families and children into food insecurity and starvation by slashing SNAP benefits. Rep. Bruce Poliquin has already made it clear that he wants to cut the SNAP food-stamps program benefits.

We are the seventh hungriest state in the U.S., and apparently, Poliquin wants to make us No. 1.

I urge the BDN and all Mainers to let all their congressional representatives know how terrible this farm bill will be for Mainers.

Zev Keisch

Pompeo wrong for diplomat post

I’m writing to ask Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to oppose the nomination of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state.

My concern is based on Pompeo’s views about Iran and North Korea. I am also worried about his anti-diplomacy stance and views on same-sex marriage.

In Congress, Pompeo advocated against negotiating with Iran in favor of bombing their nuclear facilities. But taking this approach would be disastrous. It would alienate our allies and contribute to anti-U.S. feelings.

It would also damage our credibility, especially in future negotiations — including with North Korea. If the U.S. acts against Iran, even though they’re carrying out their side of the agreement, it raises doubt about the U.S. holding up their side for any agreement.

Pompeo is also in favor of a regime change in North Korea, and it seems like he would support military action against them. Instead, we need a secretary of state who will advocate for a diplomatic approach.

Additionally, Pompeo has expressed his views against same-sex marriage, and that he believes it to be a “perversion.”

Since Maine started supporting same-sex marriage in 2012, well before it was legal in the nation, I would be very disappointed if a Maine senator voted for someone who’s against these rights.

I hope that both King and Collins will take these points into consideration and oppose Pompeo’s nomination in favor of someone who will better represent our country.

Katherine Holland

A foul regulatory rollback

I am dismayed to learn that the Trump administration has found a way to interfere with the century-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Department of the Interior has issued a statement of “guidance” that will release an individual or company from accountability for the death of a migratory bird if their intent was not to “take” the bird.

So what does this mean in practical terms? It means that oil companies that are responsible for oil spills like Exxon and BP will no longer need to pay fines for the birds that are lost to oil spills. The Department of the Interior, now headed by Ryan Zinke, who has ties to the oil and gas industry, has offered up this new interpretation of the act. It looks like a conflict of interest from here. The department is tasked with protecting our natural resources, including migratory birds and other wildlife.

It was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the Interior Department that led the rescue operation. So now what happens? Will the Fish and Wildlife Service still be charged with the protection and rescue of these loons and ducks, or will they be left to die in the oil? How will the rescue operation be paid for if the oil company is not liable? And what will make these oil companies follow the regulations about safety when there is no price for lives lost? Is the Department of the Interior just getting ready to start drilling off all our shores?

Fran Bodell

Poliquin’s hypocrisy

The GOP tax plan supported by Rep. Bruce Poliquin gives $450 billion in tax cuts to corporations with offshore profits and provides incentives for companies to ship jobs overseas.

In 2014, signs lined the streets of former mill towns promising “More Jobs” and “Less Debt,” and that’s exactly what out-of-work people wanted to hear in Millinocket, Bucksport and Limestone. It’s what they wanted to believe, but Poliquin has proven, with his support of the GOP tax bill, that our jobs and shuttered mill towns are less important than his friends on Wall Street.

He’s proven that “less debt” was nothing but a ploy to take from those with the least because he was more than willing to give to those with the most, even as it skyrockets the national debt. Maine deserves better than Poliquin.

Allen Braun

Dow air base history

In the BDN’s history of the Dow Air Force Base, there was no reference to the 506th Air Refueling Squadron and its KB-29 tanker aircraft assigned there from 1953 to 1955. They were replaced by KC-97 aircraft and moved to Bergstrom air base in Austin, Texas.

While at Dow, myself and others were blessed by meeting our future brides, which would have been pretty hard if we had never been assigned to Dow. My wife and I were married 63 years ago in Brewer and are still living happily north of Caribou and looking forward to our 64th this year.

After moving to Texas in 1955, the 506th was later disbanded.

Robert Ellinwood
Connor Township