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PPP provided us a path forward

We own and operate two hotels in midcoast Maine: Cod Cove Inn and Cedar Crest Inn. One is seasonal and the other is open all year. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans championed by Sen. Susan Collins have allowed us to keep both of our hotels open, even though operating at these reduced occupancy levels is not profitable. Absent the PPP assistance, we surely would have had to shutter both properties.

With the PPP funds, we’ve kept our team employed, allowing us to staff appropriately throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining our staffing level is critical in delivering the high level of customer care, service and cleanliness that our guests deserve. In addition, it’s allowed us to continue our facility maintenance and improvement programs. The funds also provided the opportunity to fully train our staff in safety and sanitation protocols, and the resources to invest in PPE equipment and fixtures to ensure the safe operation of our properties.

Some of the PPP benefits are far-reaching. For example, at one of our properties, we host traveling doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists who work rotations at our local hospital. We’re the closest hotel to the hospital. Had we been forced to close our doors, hospital personnel would have had to travel an additional 15 to 20 miles to find suitable and open accommodations.

The PPP program, along with Economic Injury Disaster Loans and mortgage deferrals by First National Bank and the Small Business Administration, have seen us through the darkest days and put us on a sustainable path forward. Thank you to Sen. Collins!

Ted and Jill Hugger


Time for open primaries

If there were ever a good time for Maine to adopt open primary legislation, it is now as the partisan divide continues to widen.

Currently, our two major political parties determine in their closed primaries, typically in June, who will be on the ballot in the general election in November, while roughly 32 percent of our fellow registered voters who are not enrolled in a party have no say in who those candidates will be. Maine is one of only 14 states that have closed primaries. How much more fair and more democratic it would be if we joined those states with some form of open primaries.

There is a bill in the current legislative session ( LD 231) that would allow semi-open primaries, so that unenrolled voters could cast a ballot in the party primary of their choice while enrolled voters would vote in their own, thus nominating a slate of candidates more representative of the total electorate’s preferences.

I strongly support LD 231 and I hope others will, too.

Clifton Eames


Golden won’t get my vote again

I couldn’t believe it when I saw that my representative in Congress, Rep. Jared Golden, had voted against funding COVID-19 relief for Mainers. I am an 82-year-old veteran, and I live in a trailer with my granddaughter and her boyfriend. Like a lot of people in this area, we don’t have much money, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder to get by.

The bill Golden voted against would help people who are unemployed stay on their feet a little while longer, help get kids back in school, and help people get tested, treated and vaccinated. It would also help our local governments keep going. Why would Golden vote against it? It’s the simplest thing in the world. When people need help, you help them.

By voting against the relief package, I believe Golden is turning his back on me and all the people in this district who are hurting right now. Maybe he’s trying to show people he’s “moderate” so he can protect his seat in Congress, but to me it’s just cruel. And he sure won’t be getting my vote again.

Edward Fallon