A path to recovery
I’ve heard lawmakers from both parties talk about how important it is to take action, and I was glad to see the Legislature voted unanimously to support LD 1689 to increase funding for syringe exchange programs and expanded access to naloxone — an overdose reversal drug.
As a Mainer in long-term recovery, I know how hard it is for people with substance use disorder to get the support they need. Providing funding to expand access to safe syringe exchanges and naloxone would save lives, limit the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, and provide a key community connection to get people into recovery.
Currently there are only seven syringe exchange programs covering the entire state, and many struggle to stay open because of lack of funding. Here in Lewiston, we no longer have a safe syringe exchange despite the fact that we’re the second largest city in the state.
Unfortunately, despite bipartisan support, the Legislature hasn’t provided any funding for this bill, and if they don’t by the end of session, the bill will die. I strongly urge our elected officials from both sides of the aisle to come together to fund LD 1689. Our communities can’t wait any longer.
Karhleen Parker asks in her recent column, “Shouldn’t we dedicate more effort to tackling unplanned pregnancy across all races and wealth levels before we mandate that Americans pay for others’ abortions?”
It is not an either/or proposition. Yes, government should provide both reproductive education and care. And, yes, the social contract of the Constitution and the good book mandate that we pay for each others’ needs. But the same Republican extremists and religious activists who oppose government support for public education and medical care also oppose government spending on basic services in general.
Abortion is the perfect storm of right wing political and religious hypocrisy. The day I see the faithful marching and voting for the safe environment and the social safety net it takes to raise a child — from environmental protection to gun safety, public education to living wages, affordable housing to accessible health care — I will take seriously their concern for life. Until then, I only see wedge issues to divide the electorate and ploys to override the separation of church and state.
Is “God helps them who help themselves” either good or workable? Isn’t “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” best in keeping with our American ideals and practicality?
Expand ranked-choice voting
As one of the majority of Maine voters who liked ranked-choice voting well enough to vote for it twice, I was pleased to see it work satisfactorily in the 2018 elections. None of the arguments raised against ranked-choice voting have made much sense to me.
I think most Americans agree that we must find new ways to conduct our politics, ways that will keep our divisions from impeding our ability to work together through compromise and open-minded discussion to solve the dangers we face.
I feel that ranked-choice voting shows great promise as a reform that can affect this change. David Brooks, the conservatice New York Times columnist, has called ranked-choice voting the “ one reform to save America.”
For this reason, I support a proposed expansion of Maine’s use of ranked-choice voting in presidential elections. A bill, LD 1083, to do so may be voted on this week. It would expand ranked-choice voting for use in elections for president and in any presidential primaries. To support LD 1083, contact your state legislators as soon as possible and urge them to vote for it.