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

Protect kids from tobacco

My life has been primarily working with children, either as a childcare provider, a certified child passenger safety technician, serving as a school board member for the City of Augusta or volunteering at my children’s schools. I love seeing children learn and thrive in different ways and become respectful citizens in their schools and communities.

Seeing them grow up healthy and safe is important. When it comes to the issue of flavored tobacco products, it’s about protecting all kids. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 81 percent of youth who have ever used tobacco products started with a flavored product, over 70 percent of youth tobacco users have used a flavored tobacco product in the past month, two-thirds of youth tobacco users report using tobacco products “because they come in flavors I like,” and about half of all high school smokers use menthol cigarettes.

The message is clear: Flavored tobacco products are designed for and are dangerous to children. They can also be the very beginning of a lifelong addiction. The health and wellness of the children in Maine is at stake.

Staci Fortunato


Jan. 6 question

I have a question that is begging for an answer. When it comes to a bipartisan commission to investigate the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, why do the Republicans seem to want to gloss over it as though it never happened, saying we’re moving on from it, looking forward, etc. when it comes to that? Yet, seven months after the presidential election, they are still doing ridiculous audits to try to come up with a different outcome?

Cyber Ninjas? Give me a break! Can anybody at all answer that for me? Why are they anxious to keep hold of the “big lie” of seven months ago yet want to forget Jan. 6? Anybody?

Pat Dempsey


Stand up and step forward

Many years ago, during my younger days in Chicago, I joined the United States Marine Corps with the idea of serving my country. Initially, I wanted to keep my brother out of the draft (which ended in 1973). Also, I wanted to make a career in the military. The Marine Corps matched my ideas to serve God and Country, the Corps and my unit.

My heart had the mind to serve because the Marine Corps was still an all-volunteer military service, which it had been since Nov. 10, 1776. I stood up and stepped forward to serve. Unfortunately, my flat feet had other ideas and derailed my plans for the military. I received an honorable discharge from the Marines and returned to Chicago. I wondered how I would live a life of service to others.

However, one year later I stepped forward again. I was licensed to preach the gospel by my Baptist Church at the age of 19. This began a lifetime of service to God, America, my family and humanity.

This is no brag or boast, but an invitation for others. America is wounded and needs healing. America needs community by restoration, reconciliation and renewal. It’s time for all Americans to stand up and step forward. Search your heart and mind for your own individual giftedness. After having found your gifts, talents, skills and abilities, find a place to stand up and step forward to serve. There are plenty of opportunities to serve God, contribute to society and nurture those around us who are in need. America is wounded and needs healing. It’s time for all Americans to stand up and step forward.

James Weathersby