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An overdue modernization

The Friends (Quaker) Committee on Maine Public Policy is deeply appreciative of Rep. Jared Golden’s unequivocal statement of support for tribal sovereignty. His call to modernize Maine’s tribal-state relations comes at a critically important moment, with the Legislature poised to take up an omnibus bill drafted to ensure that Wabanaki governments have the same rights and immunities as all other federally recognized tribes in America.

Golden notes that the “unusual jurisdictional arrangement that the [1980 land claims] law enshrined between the tribes and the state government is problematic and increasingly unsustainable.” He understands, with so many of us, that the time has come to restore the primacy of federal Indian law, to take away the burdens imposed unfairly by the state, and to usher in a new era of parity and economic and cultural opportunity.

We will all benefit from this long-overdue modernization!

Diane Oltarzewski


A win for everyone

On Monday, April 12, the Maine Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee held a public hearing for LD 231, a bill to allow unenrolled voters to participate in party primary elections.

As an organizer for the League of Women Voters of Maine, I believe in exercising my right to vote, but I also believe in my status as an independent voter. While independent voters in Maine can vote in the party primaries by registering a party preference on the day of the election, eliminating the registration requirement would reduce the psychological barrier of voters who do not want to declare a party and would reduce the paperwork required of voters and local election officials.

My desire to participate in primaries usually outweighs my preference not to affiliate with a political party, and I temporarily switch my registration. However, I know independent voters who choose not to declare a party affiliation. And often, those voters are not aware that they can still vote on the non-party ballot items that appear during a primary, like bond questions or the people’s veto last year. Those voters lose their vote on issues that have nothing to do with political parties.

Contrary to some misconceptions, I’m confident that allowing independent voters to participate in party primaries does not harm the political parties. In fact, voting in party primaries encourages independent voters to become more invested in party candidates who might appear on the general election ballot. That’s a win for the parties, and a win for independent voters.

Lane Sturtevant

South Thomaston

Cleaning up the mess

Let President Joe Biden do the job he was legally elected for, to clean up the mess of the last Republican regime.

Once again, it is a trend: A Democratic president is elected and is forced to try to clean up the mess the prior Republican president has left in his wake.

I think Biden has already proved he is so much more of a superior man in his actions, thinking, compassion and political savvy. Biden does need help, with the Democrats, Republicans and the American people to get our country back on track.

With this disaster called COVID-19, we need to address and follow the government guidelines to end this terrible, terrible time. Wear a mask with 6 feet of spacing, please. We need to address the loss of jobs and help people and families financially devastated at these turbulent times, address the immigrant situation that Biden got dumped with, to get our children back in schools, and to get this country back on track.

We need for Biden to still govern and protect our country like a president should, and he needs to not do it like the prior person did (it’s hard for me to say his name).

People, let’s get together and clean this mess up. America is still the best, but it sure took a hit.

Gary King