Bipartisan praise for Kavanaugh

We here in Maine have been subjected to a barrage of false, negative attacks on the character of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. One thing you won’t see in the TV commercials is that former President Barack Obama’s solicitor general, Don Verrilli, who won the Supreme Court case that upheld Obamacare, praised Kavanaugh as a “brilliant, “gracious” and “a distinguished jurist by any measure.” This speaks volumes of the level of bipartisan and mainstream support that Kavanaugh is generating.

Dave Plowman


Stand up for dignity

As a nonpartisan organization, the Maine Council of Churches does not support or oppose political appointees or nominees. We do speak out about principles. As Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins consider the nominee to the Supreme Court, we urge them to be guided by moral values that we and thousands of faithful people in Maine believe are critically important:

— Protecting liberty and justice for all, not just for the privileged and powerful few;

— Ensuring that the rights of historically marginalized communities are protected, including LGBTQ persons, immigrants, those living in poverty, and people of color;

— Addressing systemic racism in our voting and legal systems so that all Americans have equal voice and vote in our democracy;

— Safeguarding our environment;

— Ensuring workers receive a living wage, labor in safe workplaces and keep their right to organize;

— And expanding access to health care.

We spend years vetting innocent, terrorized refugees who are only seeking to escape certain death. Isn’t it just as imperative to spend sufficient time vetting any nominee before allowing that person to make decisions on our highest court for decades to come?

As people whose roots lie deep in Hebrew and Christian scripture, we ask that as our senators deliberate they take to heart these words of the prophet Isaiah: “Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims — laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children.”

The Rev. Jane Field

Executive director

Maine Council of Churches


McCain an American hero

Watching Sen. John McCain’s memorial service on television, I saw what an American hero’s send off looks like. Two past presidents, Barack Obama and George Bush, one Democratic one Republican, spoke.

Honor, country, family first. McCain lived a life lived in honor and with a passion for the poor and oppressed.

Steven Roth

Swans Island

Presidency in peril

I have visited Sen. Susan Collins’ website and seen her list of issues in which she is legislatively involved. I am impressed and pleased by some of her positions. The issues are pressing: Defense and national security appears first. A fine priority. The list continues with veterans, health care, energy and environment, senior issues and other important ones.

There is an issue she does not include on her list, and I wonder why. And I wonder if any websites of her Republican colleagues list the issue I think she should include in hers. I expect none do.

The office of the presidency is, in some real measure, in peril. I believe Collins is surely aware and, perhaps, agrees, if she’s objective. Anyone paying any attention is aware of how and why the office currently held by Donald Trump is threatened. I can’t ignore the notion that another constitutional crisis will soon be part of our history. It’s hard to imagine it won’t be.

I urge Collins to address an issue I consider as important as her first priority. In fact, I believe they are effectively one in the same: defense and national security. Why does she not address what is happening within the office of the president? The current occupant, I and many others believe, is an actual threat to our history, traditions and future.

Scott Milliken

Blue Hill

Dodge for House District 97

Jan Dodge, a Democrat, has my vote to represent Belfast, Waldo and Northport in the Maine House.

I have experienced Dodge’s vitality in more than one community organization and have found her a powerful force for getting things done. She is organized, she goes the extra mile to complete the tasks she sets out for herself, and she knows how to cooperate with others to accomplish big goals. Beyond this, I have found her to be a leader who inspires others.

Whether cleaning up after an event, sending hand-written invitations, or standing up to speak truth to power, I am impressed with Dodge. We are lucky to have her as part of the community, and I am grateful for the opportunity to vote for her to represent our interests in Augusta.

Jennifer Hill


Expand Medicare to all

I want to strongly second Phil Caper’s Aug. 28 OpEd about Medicare for all. Americans lead shorter lives than Western Europeans, Australians, Japanese and Canadians. But we are No. 1 in health care spending so at least we are not shy about throwing money at the problem. Sadly, this is not money well spent.

A 17-nation study by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, released in 2013, presented very grim findings. American men had the lowest life expectancy among men in the countries studied. American women had the second lowest life expectancy.

Would we fare any better under a single-payer system? Why, yes we would, because we already do. The report found that the U.S. mortality rate is the highest of the 17 countries until we hit age 50. Then it drops to second highest until we reach 70. By the time American seniors are 80, we have some of the longest life expectancies in the world. Why?

Partly it is survival of the economically fit in a health care system that rations access to health care. But mostly it is because, at age 65, Americans do enter a single-payer system: Medicare.

The reality that Americans have one of the most expensive, least effective health care systems in the world is a bitter pill. If we don’t accept it, we will never change it. It is time to demand our political elites muster the courage to bite the bullet and commit to a true revolution in health care: single-payer. Everybody contributes, and everybody gets covered.

Andrew Stevenson