Health care is a right
I have recently learned that health care is the No. 1 issue on the minds of Maine’s voters this fall. It certainly is on my mind, as well.
Health care needs to be affordable for all of us. Instead, many Mainers have to choose between paying medical bills or putting food on the table or paying rent. And many Mainers, as well as other Americans, worry about going bankrupt as a result of high medical bills.
I endorse universal health care because the cost of insurance has become unaffordable. The profits of the insurance companies are unacceptable. Health care is a right and should be available to all of us.
We all pay for roads, for schools and fire and police departments. We pay for services we take for granted. Health care is another service that, if we all pay for, could actually reduce the cost of monthly insurance premiums. The administrative costs of the present system are a sad and wrong waste of money.
Other countries have learned how to afford care for all, and I believe it is time we do the same here in America, starting in our state, Maine.
Reject Kavanaugh’s nomination
I wish to return to the moderate, collaborative senator Maine elected. Let’s return to working together instead of divisively. It starts with Sen. Susan Collins. I urge the senator to vote no on the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
There are two main points that should drive this decision. First, Kavanaugh is a danger to women’s reproductive rights. As we all know, “settled law” is not a guarantee and as the Supreme Court can always overrule its precedent. There is enough evidence that he is hostile to Roe v. Wade. Even without an outright overturn, he has been shown to be “pro life” and could easily make access to critical women’s reproductive services more difficult.
Second, and I believe most importantly, no one should be confirmed to the Supreme Court with less than 60 percent of the Senate offering its advice and consent. This is an important check and balance, and this candidate is too contentious and in no way represents a compromise or collaboration with the other party. Sixty votes represents working “across the aisle” and working together as the Founding Fathers established. True, it was the Democrats who used the “nuclear option” for judicial nominees, but they specifically excluded Supreme Court nominees.
I urge Collins to be a senator: a member of the more deliberative and informed and civil body and confirm a person of compromise, not Kavanaugh.
Vote out Poliquin
It’s not by accident that more and more of our nation’s wealth continues to make its way to the already obscenely wealthy — those who own houses all over the world. It is also no accident that the wages for the rest of us have stagnated. Are Americans aware of how many teachers need to have second jobs in order to feed their families?
Have you noticed that the folks in Congress who passed the huge tax cut recently aren’t saying much about it now? For good reason. That’s because many of us average Americans know that our “tax cut” will phase out (their nice name for this is a “sunset clause”). But — and this shouldn’t surprise anyone — the hefty corporate tax cuts are permanent.
What can we do? On Nov. 6, we can get rid of a guy who always helps our nation’s wealthy get more and more: Rep. Bruce Poliquin.
Endangered species under attack
The Endangered Species Act is one of our nation’s most effective environmental laws, and it serves as an essential safety net for imperiled plants, fish and wildlife. The act passed Congress in 1973 with nearly unanimous support, and a 2015 national poll showed that 90 percent of voters support it.
The Endangered Species Act has faced many legislative attacks in Congress recently, and now the Interior and Commerce Departments have proposed more fundamental changes. The Trump administration is proposing to weaken protections for our vanishing species by prohibiting federal scientists from considering climate change as a factor, making it harder to identify the habitat species need to survive, basing species listing decisions on economic factors instead of solely on scientific evidence, and creating new barriers to protecting threatened species which could become endangered without protective action.
Having worked as an endangered species conservation scientist for the state of California for 15 years, I know that the Endangered Species Act allows for flexibility in protecting endangered wildlife and ensures federal, state, tribal and local officials work together to bring these species back from the brink of extinction. The success stories are easily found such as the resurgence of our national bird, the bald eagle, since the control of DDT, and the dramatic population increase of the southern sea otter.
The Trump administration is accepting public comments on these disastrous rules until Sept. 24. Please take a few minutes and tell the administration to keep the Endangered Species Act strong and protect our most vulnerable wildlife.
Poisonous nomination process
Why is Sen. Susan Collins not opposing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s poisonous process for Supreme Court justice appointments? As a longstanding member of the Senate with a reputation for reasonable compromise, can Collins not see the dangers of the precedents being set?
In the case of Merrick Garland, refusing to consider the nomination of a sitting president? Pushing a controversial confirmation forward without releasing all the records of the current nominee, Brett Kavanaugh? Accepting the nominees of a president whose election and actions since are under investigation?
Collins may end up voting with her party on this appointment, but she could at least insist on following proper procedure. Is this how she wants the Senate to function in the future, when a slim majority can behave so recklessly, with no regard for the greater good of the country?