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

Health care for immigrant neighbors

I serve on the board of Welcoming Immigrant Neighbors (WIN) — Bangor. My hope as a volunteer with WIN is to befriend new Mainers and help them integrate into the community, but instead I spend most of my time helping people navigate the health care system.

Approximately 50 percent of the children WIN serves have been unable to receive medical treatment since moving to Maine. We had a young elementary child with 21 cavities and completely black teeth, but there was no coverage for his dental needs. Another child had to cancel an eye doctor appointment because there’s no coverage for eye care, and his family couldn’t pay out of pocket.

Immigrants are vital to Maine’s economy, yet many of these immigrants and their families still lack access to health coverage. Without coverage or the means to pay for care, people delay seeking medical treatment until their situation is emergent. That leads to high medical costs that could have been avoided, and that all of us feel the burden of paying.

LD 718 would help address this important issue, by restoring crucial health care access to New Mainers who are otherwise ineligible, simply because of their citizenship status. The collective well-being of our communities is tied to every person being able to access health care, and that’s why I urge lawmakers to vote in support of LD 718.

Andrea Steward

Old Town

Our freedoms

In response to Larry Theye’s April 27 letter to the BDN, I wonder why he feels the Second Amendment should be treated differently than the rest of the Constitution. He claims the term “people” refers to the population at large and not individuals. The Constitution begins “We the People” and grants rights to people throughout. So using his logic that would mean individuals have no rights whatsoever.

He also states the Second Amendment is obsolete because the Founding Fathers could not have known what technological advances in weapons would evolve to. If you applied this reasoning to the other amendments, this would mean we would only have the right to free speech verbally or in a newspaper because they certainly didn’t have radio, television or the internet at the time they were written. Or maybe freedom of religion would only apply to religions being practiced in America in the 1770s.

Obviously the framers were concerned with the idea of our freedoms and not the means with which we exercise those freedoms.

Chuck Arrigoni


In-person graduation should be possible

Students graduating at the University of Maine this year came to school for four years, paid the price for that attendance, their family made concessions to accommodate their schedule these four years. They are graduating because they met all of the requirements to do so. It is the most important achievement they have accomplished in their early life. They are looking forward to the next chapter in their life because they are a college graduate and are waiting to celebrate this august occasion with family and friends. I could go on.

The university basically says, “Wait, hold on. No celebrating here, no proud moments of their parents seeing them being presented with their hard-earned diploma, no applause or cheering for them crossing the stage to be awarded their diploma.” Again, I could go on.

No. Instead, no doubt their parents will be in the parking lot awaiting them to come out, no doubt with tears in their eyes because they can’t be a part of their child’s fantastic job. Other happy relatives don’t have to alter their plans for this great show because there won’t be any. The University of Maine’s excuse — and that’s what it is — the virus.

Of course, the graduates could wear masks, be seated six feet apart in the Alfond Arena, or Collins Center for the Arts, or have a certain number at a time attending the ceremony — all sorts of provisions could be taken care of if the school felt it was worthy of their best efforts. As a grandparent of a graduate and a former longtime Bangor businesses owner, I think it’s a shame.

Don Thompson

Fort Pierce, Florida