Where were the earmuffs?

A day or two ago, the TV news showed Gov. Janet Mills outside making a statement regarding the current crisis. She was bundled up with a heavy coat, her neck well encased in its collar, but nothing on her head!

It was freezing outside. Ears could become frost bitten from the low temperature, and high wind. Where were her earmuffs? Where was Chester Greenwood when he was needed?

V. Dana Allison

Castle Hill

Leadership in times of crisis

Although COVID-19 has barely started in the U.S., it is not too early to start learning from our many mistakes. Much of the human misery, medical and economic, will tragically prove to have been preventable.

The big takehomes to memorize right now are that public health infrastructure and effective government matter. We are lucky to have both of those here in Maine. Both the governor and her health departments have been responsive and effective, and we can count on them.

However, the leadership at the national level could not have been worse. The administration foolishly and inexplicably wasted a precious month getting a coronavirus test certified by the Food and Drug Administration when the Germans already had one available. President Donald Trump played politics with science by focusing on the risks of foreigners when they should have focused on the much greater risk of community spread.

Shortly after his inauguration, the Trump administration disbanded the National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which had just identified a pandemic as a national security threat. We could use those people now.

In times of crisis, we need leadership that can reassure, provide essential information, and bind us together to make the necessary sacrifices. Instead of inefficiently starting from scratch, a robust, well-supported public health establishment can spring into action and take charge. Not long ago, our previous governor took steps to tear down our public health system and its employees. Now we know why we need them.

Steve Bien


Leveling the political playing field

Next up for Maine Democrats is the June 9 primary to choose who will run against Republican Susan Collins for U.S. Senate. Readers probably know that Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon is running against Sen. Collins, thanks in part to big bucks from national organizations that help pay for those TV ads she has been running.

You hear much less (if anything) about Gideon’s rivals in the primary. Without the same financial support from outside of Maine, her primary rivals can’t afford those TV ads. They have been depending on meeting voters at local gatherings and public forums — many of which Gideon has not participated in.

Now, with the coronavirus scare, public gatherings and forums are a thing of the past — closing the door for the contenders. It looks to me like forces outside of Maine will be the deciding factor in who faces Collins in November.

This is not how democracy is supposed to work. I believe that big, out-of-state money is deciding another election, and this can’t be blamed on the Republicans. Let’s level the playing field and get big money out of politics!

Lynda Sudlow


Support for young mothers

As women in this society, accessible postpartum care is a necessity for the transition into parenthood. Within the transition to parenthood, postpartum depression continues to be relevant in the lives of several mothers.

It has been found that single mothers with a lack of social support, low-income, a higher number of stressful life events, and more prenatal smoking have high levels of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression usually begins one month after the baby is born and can last up to a year. Women are struggling when becoming new parents, and the healthcare needed is often not accessible. We as a society need to make a change to support these women and children.

LD 1957, sponsored by Rep. Anne Carney, is an act that would protect the health and economic well-being of young mothers and their children. This bill extends up to six months following a delivery of a baby that women may be eligible for services under MaineCare.

As explained in a story from News Center Maine, “If enacted, this bill would allow approximately 700 women to receive medical treatment for complications of pregnancy, pelvic floor disorders, difficulty breastfeeding, depression, and other health conditions during the year following birth.”

To support the women and children in our society, it is important for LD 1957 to pass in order to provide adequate care we all deserve. As a child’s development is vital in the early years, providing adequate postpartum care will support these individuals in the future.

Caryn Boutaugh