Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Democracy an ongoing process

Maine residents passed a Clean Election option for our state offices (House, Senate and governor) in 1996 and improved and restored it by passing it again in 2015. Our voluntary, full public funding system allows any candidate who chooses to demonstrate broader community support, through $5 contributions to the Maine Clean Elections Fund from any registered voter in their district, thus reducing the dependence on self-funding and larger contributions from individuals, businesses and special interest groups. For more info, people can go to mainecleanelections.org.

If someone hasn’t had a chance or hasn’t been asked yet, they can please support any or all of the Maine Clean Elections candidates in their district through a one-time $5 contribution, quickly and easily, online on the state’s website (or search and contact the candidate directly through their website or social media).

Democracy is an ongoing process of self-education and participation.

Karen Cote

Orland

Bev Uhlenhake unafraid to lead

On Tuesday, July 14, I’ll be voting Bev Uhlenhake for Maine Senate District 8. Here’s why: Uhlenhake and I met several years ago through work. She was, in her true fashion, volunteering her time to help support students at Brewer High School. From the moment I met her, I knew she was different from other politicians.

Uhlenhake listened — like really, really listened. Not only did she listen, but she empathized. Imagine that — a politician actually listening to their constituents!

She is reliably honest, down-to-earth, and most importantly, humble. She has worked tirelessly for years supporting communities in Senate District 8. From leading the city of Brewer as its mayor (for two terms, nonetheless), to her work as the chair of the Penobscot County Democrats, she has listened to, learned from and fought for the residents of our district. I am confident she will continue to do so as our next state senator.

I have been blessed with many opportunities to see her leadership in action and I have been impressed beyond measure by her bold leadership and distinctive sense of compassion. She is unafraid to listen, to learn, and to lead.

If you’re looking for a state senator who will always listen to you and work for you, Bev Uhlenhake is your candidate. Join me in supporting her at the polls (or via your absentee ballot!) on July 14!

Shane Boyes

Brewer

Most of the racism I’ve seen is learned

I have been reading about students at Bangor High School having to endure racial taunts and slurs and who knows what else during their term there.

I worked in the hospitality business for close to 50 years here in eastern Maine. Having seen and met many people from Down East and northern Maine, I can say that racism and basic hatred are rampant here. If you want to know what someone is really thinking, just serve them a couple of drinks. They will open up and tell you their true feelings.

I was at first surprised at this hate of African Americans, Latinos, French heritage and especially Native Americans. Most people here seemed to have had little contact with these groups of people, with the exception of Native Americans.

I read an article about a huge contingent of the Ku Klux Klan in Brewer. I saw pictures of white robed marchers on South Main Street. This was in the 1920s and 1930s.

It began to dawn on me that this racist behavior wasn’t from association but was taught and handed down from older generations to the young. In other words, this was taught at home from parent to child.

I spent many years in my childhood camping with my family in the south in the 1950s. I saw segregation and hatred first hand. It left an indelible mark on my mind. And yes, based on my experience, they do teach it down there.

If you want to change young people’s minds you had better begin with the parents. I believe that is where most of this garbage comes from.

Harry Martyn

Ellsworth

Our largest welfare state

Congress is our largest welfare state. What other profession pays its employees to spend months telling its employers — us — why they should be re-hired? What other profession demands that members be more loyal to their club (political party) than their employers — us? What other organization lets members choose their salaries?

We need a committee of citizens to manage Congress. But there will never be one. Because Congress is in charge.

Charlie Cameron

Addison

Wear a mask

Small business matters. The virus is destroying the livelihood of our neighbors because of the selfish, irresponsible self-centered people who refuse to wear a mask, which is not difficult and very effective.

I see half of the people in stores without a mask, so I have asked them, why? I am told: “I don’t have to,” or “I have a constitutional right not to wear a mask,” or “I’m an American, don’t tell me what to do.” Stubborn and, I think, infantile.

New Zealand is open. They bonded together as one united nation and have stopped the spread of the virus. They have opened their stadiums. Anybody want to get back to the sports arena? Wear a mask!

Please people grow up, step up, help out your neighbors, support your country, respect your flag. Wear a mask. Small business matters.

Patrick Quinn

Winterport

MaineCare helps families like ours

As a foster parent who has adopted children in Maine, I am grateful for the health coverage my children have through MaineCare (the state’s Medicaid program) and encourage others who need health insurance to look into it.

MaineCare is helping my family a lot. We depend on it to cover the health care services children living in our family need. It has made being foster parents and adoption possible, and we hope lawmakers will do everything they can to make sure this coverage remains available and is adequately funded to help families like ours — and children in Maine who need a home and a family.

Beth Welch

North Belgrade

Election notice

The BDN has stopped accepting letters and OpEds related to the July 14 election. Not all submissions can be published.