Time for open primaries

Kyle Bailey and Cara Brown McCormick wrote an excellent OpEd in the Dec. 17 BDN about expecting ranked-choice voting to spread. Hope it does. But, let’s put in open primaries in Maine together with ranked-choice voting. Why? It gives the voter the greatest level of voter freedom.

In 2014, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wrote an OpEd in the New York Times titled “End partisan primaries, save America.” Marvelous idea. One problem: Five years later, both New York and Maine have closed primaries. Not saved yet.

The Democratic Party and the Republican Party control ballot access over an election system we foot the bills for.

Maine independents are labeled unenrolled voters. In 2011, a Republican U.S. Rep. Mickey Edwards wrote a New York Times best-selling book called: “The Parties versus the People: How to turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans.” He observed they were warring tribes.

It’s time to end party control over our election system. The first major step was ranked-choice voting. The next is open primaries for all.

Joe H. Pickering Jr.


Juul ads offensive

I have seen the Juul e-cigarette whole page ad in the Bangor Daily News now several times, and it is offensive because of its message and size. I smoked a long ago and am willing to support effective means to reduce smoking. Especially offending are business attempts to replace the traditional smoking with new ways of creating a nicotine addiction in young persons.

I regret that the BDN needs to accept this type of ad because it is a business. I am also a great friend of the First Amendment.

Par Kettis


Fast food and wages

A recent visit to a local fast food restaurant reminded me of the futility of trying to erase poverty by raising the minimum wage.

In 2016, the state minimum wage was $7.50 per hour. In 2019, it is $11 per hour. This is a 46.6 percent increase, pretty good in three years.

The problem is that prices in my favorite fast food place are up even more. In 2016, I could get a small burger, small fries and (free) senior soft drink for $2.16 with tax. On my recent trip I find that the burger is now $1.49, the fries are $1.49, and the senior soft drink is no longer free but costs $1.39.

To make up for the loss of the free soft drink there is a 10-percent discount for seniors. If I remember correctly, the new total is $4.25 with tax.

I’m old enough to remember a $1 per hour minimum wage. I don’t know exactly, but I expect that would buy as much as $11 does today. When wages go up, prices go up at least as much.

The minimum wage was never intended to be a “living wage.” It was intended as a starting wage for those entering the workforce, until they could become more productive and earn more. Raising it will never end poverty.

Lawrence E. Merrill


Support transgender patriots

The soldiers who identify as members of the transgender community serve our country and protect our freedoms in the U.S. military. Patriot hero soldiers from the LGBTQ+ community have given their lives or have come home from many wars with arms or legs blown off.

In 2007, I met such a soldier in northern Arizona when I was working for the Yavapai County Community Health Services. This soldier had lost a leg fighting in Vietnam. Her story was a combination of proud service to her county and hatred, fear and discrimination dumped on her by various people during her life; discrimination from those who did not take the time to listen to her story mixed with support and empathy from those who got to know her.

The current order by our president to prevent patriots and heroes from the transgender community from serving our country comes out of Donald Trump’s ignorance and outside pressure. Trump has little knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community in general and trans folks specifically.

Nationalism is a means to take away rights. Patriotism is a means to protect rights. I choose the latter. What about you? If you choose the latter, strongly encourage your representatives in Washington to support the patriot transgender soldiers who put their lives on the line daily. We must protect all our soldiers who fight and die to protect our freedoms, not a president who is determined to take away freedoms.

Timothy Rogers