Let’s be bold in our opioid response
Last week, I had the honor of attending and presenting at Maine’s first annual Opioid Response Summit. Since coming into office, Gov. Janet Mills has brought a new level of commitment and compassion to the public health crisis that has been ravaging our state for far too long. Maine may be on the verge of stemming the tide of deaths from a preventable and treatable disease. May be.
While I am grateful for Mills’ passion and purpose regarding the opioid epidemic that has ravaged our communities, I learned a long time ago that gratitude is an action word. There are more actions to take. It is time for Maine to take bold action. Let us be bold about real harm reduction services that prevent death. Let us be bold and create easier access to detox and treatment for anyone that wants help — emergency rooms and jails are not treatment. Let us be bold and expand syringe exchanges to our more rural and hardest hit communities. Let us be bold and talk about decriminalization, and legalization. While prevention, treatment, and community involvement are all needed, our priority must be focused on bold harm reduction strategies to truly stem the tide.
Big night for ‘Bye Bye Birdie’
Last week’s opening performance of “ Bye Bye Birdie” was a raucous hoot, a thoroughly enjoyable evening. More than 50 children, some under the age of five, sang and danced their hearts out. I’ve been to children’s theater and seen terrified little children mumble their lines and run for the sidelines. Not with this one. I didn’t see a whiff of stage fright; just happy beaming faces, and even children with the smallest non-speaking parts had clearly been coached to perform their character with professional competence.
Congratulations to this uniquely talented production staff at Penobscot Theater. You make magic with children. How fortunate we are.
If we want more young families staying and coming to Maine, aside from good-paying jobs, nothing sells our city like children’s theater of this caliber. Let’s give them lots of support.
How history will judge Collins
I have always been proud to have Susan Collins represent Maine as a United States Senator. I felt she was part of the legacy of Margaret Chase Smith, who demonstrated moral courage and conviction during some of the darker days of our Democracy. Sadly, I no longer feel that way. If Collins cannot publicly denounce this President, who is destroying institutions and values for which many fought and died, she no longer represents me and I believe she will be harshly judged by history. I hope she will stand up and do the right thing.
A bipartisan climate change bill
The July 19 BDN editorial, “Temperatures Rising and so is the need to act on climate change,” was a well-stated and timely reminder that humid heat in the 90s is an uncomfortable harbinger of summers to come in Maine. The Trump administration’s disregard for – and even hostility towards – climate change is indeed disheartening and dangerous. But climate change legislation has already been brought before Congress developing a policy that has the support of U.S. economists.
It is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. With details prepared by a bipartisan team, it has many features acceptable to both sides of the current political divide. It is, for instance, revenue neutral: it will not expand the size of government, even though it will impose a rising price on carbon fuels by the U.S. Treasury. Equal shares, the “Carbon Dividend” to be sent to every household as a monthly climate security check, will match the resulting higher energy costs and/or incentivize switching to other energy sources.
It will be effective in reducing our CO2 emissions to levels that the Maine Legislature has already determined to be necessary. Reduced emissions of course, will be better for everyone’s health. And many new jobs could be created.
This bill is currently being considered in House Committees. It has yet to be introduced in the Senate. This newspaper’s endorsement of the act would be welcome. And all voters, please contact Sens. Collins and King and Rep. Golden and urge them to get on board. Thank Rep. Pingree for cosponsoring.