Stop the Syrian horror
Yes, the rules say that Congress must authorize the use of military force for the nation to go to war. We do have an emerging crisis where people are being slaughtered by poison gas in Syria. Can we sit by and watch this horror and wait for sleepy congressmen opposed to any action at all to let their deaths go on?
I lived in Lemoore, California, off and on between two deployments to Vietnam between 1966 and 1970 and noticed more than 100 families (several people with whom I worked) without their father who was in the “Hanoi Hilton,” a North Vietnamese prison camp. These people suffered for years because nothing was done to get them out. Should they have been forced to endure the pain and anguish that accompanies forced labor in a POW camp waiting for Congress to do something? I think not.
The outrageous things done to the people of Syria cannot and will not continue. Stop the horrors now.
Take Medicaid expansion fight to ballot box
Last November, Maine voters resoundingly approved a ballot initiative expanding Medicaid coverage to 70,000 low-income individuals and unlocking access to hundreds of millions of dollars of federal health care funds. Yet, six months later, the current administration continues to ignore the will of the voters, and has taken no action to begin implementation.
Sadly, this is hardly surprising: Gov. Paul LePage has repeatedly stymied expansion efforts, vetoing Medicaid expansion five times since 2013. Now that expansion has been passed directly by the voters without the possibility of veto, LePage has decided he is above the law and has missed the April 3 deadline to submit a plan to the federal government for expansion.
Advocacy groups across the state are prepared to bring suit against the governor for his violation of the law and indifference to the voice of voters. But LePage has made it clear that a few bad actors within our government will stop at nothing, including breaking the law, in order to prevent Mainers from accessing vital health care services.
However, we as voters do not have to accept this blatant obstructionism. As we head into the June primaries and fall election season, we must select candidates who accept Medicaid expansion as the law of the land. And we must choose a governor who is ready to begin implementation immediately.
We cannot wait the months or years that a court case will take before we begin providing care to those who need it most.
Bangor Savings’ inspiring project
We were so pleased to read about the Bangor Savings Bank waterfront project in a recent Bangor Daily News article. It’s exciting and refreshing to see a successful company that was started in Bangor making a new mark on the city with an impressive campus for its employees.
This type of bold development is what makes other businesses in and outside of Maine take notice and think of Bangor as the place where they can grow and be successful. This major investment by the bank can inspire our entire city to think big.
As is true with many communities, the Bangor region is facing a workforce challenge. In order to attract and retain workers, employers need to be creating opportunities and making investments in workplaces that offer what our multi-generational workforce is looking for. Bangor Savings Bank is doing just that.
The new green space the campus will provide along Railroad and Front streets will only add to the natural beauty of the Bangor waterfront. The addition of more than 350 workers to Main Street will be a boon for local restaurants, food trucks, markets and service providers.
The new Bangor Savings Bank campus will be a benefit to many in the city, and we congratulate the bank leaders for charting a new course for the company on the beautiful banks of the Penobscot.
Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce
Time for Pruitt to go
My life’s work has been teaching undergraduate college students how to make scientifically informed decisions in the voting booth. In contrast to my goals are the actions of our Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt. He purged scientists from the EPA, replacing them with energy industry lobbyists and political cronies from Oklahoma. This is leading to policies that favor industry profits over our children’s health. He deleted scientific data on climate change from the agency’s website, and publicly questions well-established science about human-caused climate change.
The EPA was founded in 1970 by Republican President Richard Nixon to protect America’s natural treasures. Pruitt’s attempts to ignore and eradicate science from the work of this agency are frightening. Instead of protecting the environment, Pruitt is busy rolling back more protections than any EPA administrator before him and routinely ignoring scientific evidence at the same time he racks up a string of serious and costly ethics violations, including improper use of taxpayer money for personal expenses.
Policymakers at all levels, including Maine lawmakers, rely on facts, data and research from the EPA to make sound policy decisions. Pruitt’s dismissal of science jeopardizes our ability to create and implement important protections for our health and environment.
We need an EPA administrator who respects science. More than 170 members of Congress, including Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree, have called for Pruitt to resign immediately or be fired. I urge the rest of Maine’s congressional delegation to do the same.
Bonnie S. Wood
Professor emerita of biology
University of Maine at Presque Isle
Vote out all incumbents
Let’s see if these are our Augusta priorities: 1. Change the voting system that’s been in place for more than 100 years. 2. Address the opioid crisis. 3. Make our schools safe from firearms. 4. Prevent nine children or more from dying each day from texting and driving. 5. Work to prevent more than 400,000 deaths each year from smoking. 6. Work to prevent the 40,000 deaths per year from second-hand smoke.
Seems to me our leaders have their priorities a little backward again. My stance in coming elections is to vote all incumbents out.