Editor's note: The following letters were received at The Republican Journal offices after the print deadline. To read letters previously printed in the newspaper, go to the Opinion page.


It's time for change

I get this question a lot, “You’re running for City Council — are you crazy?” Short answer: yes, a little. That question is usually followed by the inevitable, “Why are you running?” to which I'd like to share this lengthier response.

I grew up in this community. I played on the playground at the City Park. I spent my allowance at the arcade next to Laverdiere’s Drug Store. I scored my first soccer goal on the Belfast Area High School football field in 4th grade and played baseball on the fields that are now Athena/Bank of America using a glove from Ames Department Store. When I was a teenager, my parents dropped me off at Alexia’s to meet friends for dinner before catching a movie at the Colonial Theatre. I got my first real job at the seafood counter of Shop N’ Save.

One night while stocking shelves at this job, a local girl walked in to my life and never walked out. Not many people can say they met their future spouse at their after-school job. To be honest, if it was not for Mallory, I might not still be in Belfast today. But during college, when we discussed where we wanted to live after we graduated, Mallory made it clear that she wanted to return to Belfast, to raise a family there. I joined her here and it is the best decision I have ever made.

The number of our friends who made the same decision is low. Friends cite lack of career choices and lack of affordable housing in Belfast as reasons for leaving, and this is a big part of the reason I am running for City Council. I want Belfast to be a community rich with different generations and different backgrounds. I want to see bright minds stay here and help build Belfast into a beacon of industry, culture and knowledge. So many times I have heard the saying, “Belfast, an hour from anywhere." We have so much to offer, but we can do even better.

Mallory and I have a son, Rand. I want our son to be able to go to college, come back, and build his life here if he chooses. I don’t want him to need to look elsewhere to make a living. I also want to be able to stay here myself. While settling here has been a wonderful choice, it has not always been easy. I am fortunate to be employed by one of Belfast’s best, Mathews Brothers Company, where I work with great people and I am challenged every day. I want the same for my son in the future and I want the same for other young people now. We should all have the opportunity to do what we love to do right in this community

It is time for a different voice in City Hall, someone who knows what it is like to grow up in this community, who has walked the same streets as a child and as an adult, and has chosen to stay here to raise the next generation. The excitement I have seen from people when they find out I am running is inspiring. I am running to be the voice of the people who have gone from concern to anger, to apathy in a short time. Long story short, I am running because as cliché as it sounds, it really is time for a change.

Thank you,

Ryan Harnden

Candidate, Belfast City Council Ward 3


I believe in Ryan Harnden

I hope you will support Ryan Harnden for the Belfast City Council seat this Tuesday. Ryan grew up in this area, and he truly cares about it. He is invested in living in and raising his family in Belfast, and wants to see a prosperous Belfast that continues to flourish but which also maintains aspects of our community that many of us have enjoyed as long-time residents of this area.

Ryan has concern for young people being able to work and live here and raise their young families here, as he and his wife Mallory as well as friends face the challenges of this. He also has concern for our retired community members as he had grandparents living in the area for several years and knows of the challenges retired people face. He is well aware that we need to find better ways to support our local people in living here as well as welcoming newcomers to the community. Ryan is concerned about local jobs and the quality of our schools as well as the needed support of our schools for the children.

I really believe in Ryan and think he will make a much-needed addition to our council. He listens and he problem-solves well. He gets along well with others and offers a good balance of fine thinking, good communication skills, and a sense of humor that will be assets to the council — to say nothing of the caring and supportive individual that Ryan is.

Please go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and vote for Ryan Harnden for Belfast City Council.

Jan Banks



Why I'm voting for Ryan Harnden

I am voting for Ryan Harnden for Belfast City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 3. To the undecided voter, please let me share my reasons:

1) Experience: Ryan served four years on the Regional School Unit3 school board in the role of finance chairman, then as board chairman. As finance chairman, he tackled many budget issues. He worked hard to compassionately balance tough budgets while investing wisely in local education, including a important vote to save the elementary school in Monroe while finding significant savings by consolidating school bus runs. This experience demonstrates Ryan's commonsense approach to solving challenging problems and his ability to make sound decisions.

2) Passion for Belfast: Ryan grew up in Waldo County and has chosen Belfast to raise his family. Living on the Tufts Road, he and his wife, Mallory Banks, love this area and are proud to call it "home" along with their 15-month-old son, Rand. Additionally, Ryan works for one of Belfast's oldest businesses, Mathews Brothers.

3) Fresh perspective: During his campaign, Ryan Harden has reached out to many citizens in this community. He has gone "door-to-door" walking the streets of Belfast, visiting neighborhoods on the East side and traveling many of our rural roads to ask residents what is important to them. Once elected, he plans to set up regular office hours to meet with constituents 1:1 to continue to hear their concerns. Ryan is an advocate for education, our business community and keeping Belfast affordable for young families and seniors. Ryan will bring a fresh perspective to our council while listening and serving us well.

As a city councilor, Ryan will get the job done with integrity and compassion. For these reasons, I encourage you to vote for Ryan Harden for Belfast City Council on Nov. 3!

Thank you,

Jayne Crosby Giles



Vote yes for Clean Elections

Two things are not news to Americans. The first is that a small number of obscenely rich Americans, along with highly-advantaged corporations, continue to amass more billions, while average Americans suffer the constant anxiety of meeting their monthly bills. The second is that those we elect to represent our interests in Washington end up working for the special interests who spent buckets of cash getting them elected. Neither of these facts are new. We have not arrived at this state-of-affairs by accident. At every turn in the governing and policy-making process, attempts to address issues affecting everyday Americans are short-circuited by those working for the fat cats. Whether it’s massive corporate subsidies; protecting Americans from the financial sector’s shenanigans; increasing the pathetic minimum wage; or the numerous attempts to prevent fair and clean elections; the idea that our government represents the people is a sad joke.

Nearly twenty years ago Maine made the bold and historic move to Clean Elections. This resulted in Maine having a high percentage of everyday, hard working folks representing us in Augusta. Unfortunately, once more, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of big money, saying our Clean Election laws were constitutional. Then, in true form, Maine’s governor yanked the money for Maine’s Clean Elections. But, dedicated Mainers have, once again, worked hard to re-institute Clean Elections. And, once more — we shouldn’t be surprised — those who are always in favor of big business and the rich do their best to defeat Clean Elections. They do this by spending on dishonest, fear-mongering advertising. The governor and his party, having done their best for years to blame the victims of the sick system, want us to vote against our best interests. Please vote "yes” on question 1 on Tuesday. Thank you.

Chris Wright