Setting the record straight

Several people have reached out to me concerning a letter by an upset mother published in this paper last week. I feel compelled to respond to the letter and share my perception of the incident.

In January 2017, on an informal Facebook Messenger thread, concerns were brought forth by Ms. Sanders about an incident involving peanut butter crackers and her son’s exposure to them on a field trip. I responded with an apology that he had been exposed to the crackers, but then went on to engage in a misguided discussion on the social media thread and was not as sympathetic to her concerns as I should have been. I was wrong and I apologized to Ms. Sanders on the original thread. I wrote that I hoped she would forgive me in time. I received no response. Additionally, in June of 2017, I again sent Ms. Sanders an apology, to which I received no response.

Life is about learning lessons. I learned a lesson from that social media discussion, admitted that I was wrong and apologized to the person I offended. In my personal life, I continually work on being a better person, a better mother, and a better friend.

What is important for the voters of Maine House District 97 to know is that my whole purpose in running is to represent and support all my constituents, young and old, just as I have been doing all these years as a mother, school board member and chair, founder of Belfast Kids!, a devoted college professor and an advocate for all. I hope that the voters will view my record in its totality and support me on June 12.

Caitlin Hills

Democratic Candidate for HD 97

Role model

I first met Caitlin Hills at a school board meeting nearly two years ago. I attended with the intention of figuring out whether I might be interested in running for school board. I was really aggravated by the meeting — as a social worker, I had a really difficult time maintaining patience with the people who were so up in arms about the fact that some kids want to wear hats to school. When I had clients who had no running water and didn’t have enough to eat, that was really hard to deal with. I remember thinking to myself that Caitlin did such a great job allowing all sides to be heard with respect and kindness. I really admired her for it, because I would have blurted out something scathing and inappropriate.

Since then, I’ve followed her political career with interest. I met her again during one of Belfast’s annual “early bird special” sales. It’s such a fun — and sleepy! — community event, and it was wonderful to see her as a part of it. As I go back and forth about whether to ever run for an office myself, I look up to her for her excellent ability to balance motherhood and career, ultimately being the best role model any kid could ask for.

I identify myself as a progressive, and I have very little patience for rank-and-file politicians on either side of the line. Caitlin’s a progressive. After the last major election, my political affiliation changed to independent. And as an independent — as someone who gets along with members of this community on all sides of the political spectrum — come election time, I will be voting for Caitlin.

Jessica Falconer


A worthy successor

When I first met Caitlin Hills she was holding a “Ban Assault Weapons” sign. I was holding a similar one and we were both on the corner in downtown Belfast immediately after the Parkland school shooting. Some events demand that we go into the streets in the hope that if enough of us do that there will be an eventual turning of the tide. That was one of them.

I asked Caitlin about what she thought should be done about gun violence. Her answer was immediate and in-depth. She had clearly thought a lot about this issue and cared deeply. I was very impressed by her answer and by her presence at the protest.

Since then I have learned a lot more about Caitlin. I learned that her leadership skill and her concern for our children has led her from being a member of the school board to chairing the Regional School Unit 71 board. This immerses her in one of the issues most important to our local community which is our schools, which in turn are intimately connected to local tax policy, gun safety and children’s welfare in general.  Her previous work in Washington focused on the environment as related to forests, another key issue in Maine.

Caitlin is a lifelong Democrat who has been actively involved for some time in the Waldo County party. She lives the Democratic values of fairness and inclusion and service. She is warm and open. She is an attorney and a teacher.

All of these things make her well-suited to represent us in Augusta, and to be a worthy successor to Erin Herbig.

But, for me, she had me from hello with her sign. She walks the walk, she cares and she represents. Those things really matter in a leader.

I hope you will join me in voting for Caitlin Hills to be our Democratic nominee for state representative on June 12.

Trudy Miller



If there's no water from the faucet and no sound of a pump, one calls a plumber. The plumber was too busy and said that I should call Doug Cross, but why would Cross WellDrilling fix my plumbing? Yet, Mr. Cross said he'd stop by after a job in the area.

It was already Friday noon so I prepared for no water during the weekend filling two buckets from the pond. Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear but Doug Cross at 6 p.m. when anybody else would have gone home and left me hanging.

Within a few minutes he determined the well problem, fixed it and told us it would probably never happen again. Then he mounted his pickup and rode away.

Experts like Mr. Cross can solve problems that to others are icebergs and we are very grateful to him.

Leslie Woods


Frame Raising Celebration

It was early June in the year 1818. Excitement was growing in the up and coming town of Belfast, Maine. Historian Joseph Williamson writes in "The History of the City of Belfast, Vol. I," “From the restoration of peace [ending the War of 1812 in1815] until 1820, many improvements in the village took place." In February of that year, a vote was taken to erect a new meeting house. It would not be like the two smaller ones built on either side of the Passy 20 years earlier, but a real church that might attract a good preacher and would serve the parish and the town well.

Therefore, on Saturday, June 13, 1818, under the direction of Master-builder Samuel French, and with workers from the surrounding area, the frame of the new church was raised. It sat upon a lot formerly owned by Robert Miller. Only two homes had been built on Church Street by that time.

Williamson tells us that the territory on which the church would be built had been pasture land, used for grazing cattle. Access to the church would remain difficult for some time on account of old stumps and knolls. But the raising commenced. The day was a celebratory one, with a keg of punch or "grog" provided by the parish committee for the workers. The local dignitary and judge, William Crosby (father of William G. Crosby who would later become governor of Maine), was invited to give a brief address to the gathered crowd.

Now, 200 years later, it is time for another celebration. So we, the congregation of The First Church in Belfast, United Church of Christ, are commemorating the raising of the frame of the town’s fine, Federal-style building in which so many have worshiped over the years. And all are invited!

The First Church has been a place of great importance in our town’s history. It has been a locus of inspiration and comfort during times of distress, such as when young men were sent off to war against their brothers in our nation's Civil War and in the next century to fight on the European continent or the South Pacific.

It was the site where meetings were held on matters of justice: the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, the civil rights movement and, most recently, on LGBTQ rights. It has been a beautiful location where committed couples made their wedding vows to one another as well as for families to memorialize their loved ones.

Generations have grown up and learned the faith of the Unitarian, Congregational, and United Church of Christ religious bodies in this place. Much ministry and mission outreach has originated here, not only for those in our community, but to those in faraway places.

It is this rich history that we aim to lift up and remember this year. And so, we invite everyone in this town and region of Belfast to join us Sunday, June 10, from noon to 4 p.m. on the First Church front yard for our Frame Raising Celebration.

We won't have Judge Crosby, but we will have a few local dignitaries to say a few words. There won't be any "grog" to drink, but there will be a delicious meal of pulled pork, BBQ chicken, or a vegetarian fare, baked beans, macaroni 'n' cheese, coleslaw, cornbread, peach cobbler with ice cream, and beverage ($12/person). We will have the Leaky Boot Jug Band to perform on the new front deck. There will be games for the whole family to enjoy.

For more information, call the church office at 338-2282 or check out our Facebook page. The First Church is an open and affirming congregation, welcoming all, located at 104 Church St. in Belfast.

The Rev. Joel M. Krueger

The Rev. Dr. Kate Winters


The First Church in Belfast, UCC

A governor I can trust

Democrats deserve a progressive like Mark Eves

According to the polls, the Democratic primary for governor is basically down to two candidates, moderate Attorney General Janet Mills and progressive former Speaker of the House Mark Eves. I'm for Mark Eves because he has always stood up for the progressive causes that I, and most Democrats, care about: health care for all, protections for working people, and stronger gun safety laws. Mills' record on these issues is not as consistent.

Mark Eves passed Medicaid expansion five times as speaker and supports single-payer health care for all. In contrast, Janet Mills refused to join the lawsuit to force Gov. LePage to implement Medicaid expansion and has not supported single-payer.

Furthermore, rather than consistently treating the opioid epidemic as the public health crisis that it is, Janet Mills has a history of taking a “tough love” approach by advocating for increased penalties for drug possession. This is a stance that many mental health professionals, Mark Eves included, recognize as ineffective and detrimental.

Mark Eves voted to raise the minimum wage five times in the Legislature and has a career 98-percent voting record from the Maine AFL-CIO. Janet Mills, however, voted against raising the minimum wage to a mere $7. In addition, Janet has a lifetime A+ rating from the NRA; Mark has a D.

Janet Mills would make a fine governor and, should she win the primary, I'll absolutely support her in the general election. However, I want a governor I can trust to stand up to the powerful interests on behalf of all Mainers. Mark Eves will be that governor. I hope you will join me in voting for him on June 12.

Amy Reid


A Golden opportunity

I firmly believe that Jared Golden is the best candidate to defeat Bruce Poliquin. Golden holds a strong ethic for a duty to serve and walks his talk. A life-long Democrat, Jared was a professional staff member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in D.C., served two tours of duty in the Middle East, returning to Afghanistan to volunteer as a school teacher, and is now completing his second term as a Maine House representative.

Success working with peers on both sides of the aisle during his first term earned him his current position as assistant majority leader. Recently, the Maine People's Alliance named him “Legislator of the Year.”

Aside from military service and work in D.C., he's the only candidate who has lived his entire life in the 2nd District. Representing Lewiston, the district's largest city, he was re-elected with a 72-percent majority.

Golden's no stranger to northern Maine or working people's struggles throughout the state. His progressive voting record for labor, health care, the environment, people's referendums, veterans, and transparent campaign financing has earned endorsements from Maine AFL-CIO, Vote Vets, End Citizens United, Maine State Nurses, Maine Machinists and many more.

I believe Golden is the only candidate with the fortitude to withstand upcoming attacks by the GOP political machine. He's had four years of practice standing up to LePage, including being told that he should be shot! I've heard St. Clair called a trust-funder, carpetbagger, and elitist. It may not be fair, but I'm not expecting fair play from Poliquin. Furthermore, Poliquin's photo ops and lip service to vets can't hold a candle to Golden's military service and tireless work for veterans.

Poliquin's seat is vulnerable. Don't miss this Golden opportunity to flip it. Vote for Jared Golden on June 12.

Bernice Nadler


Listens, understands, works for all

When Islesboro’s Craig Olson spoke at the State Democratic Convention on May 19, we decided that he will have our votes for Congress, to replace Bruce Poloquin.

We know Craig as a dedicated public servant (Islesboro Planning Board, Board of Selectmen, Democratic chairman), small business owner and transfer station manager, and perhaps most importantly as a dedicated family man.

In all of these roles Craig has witnessed and experienced the need for affordable health care, a living minimum wage, educational opportunities and training, and a sustainable environmental balance, so that all Mainers can live and remain in Maine, “the way life should be!”

Craig Olson’s compelling words, life experience and integrity, are the reasons we’ll be voting for Craig Olson. He listens, understands, works with all stakeholders to reach consensus. Please join us — vote No. 1 for Craig Olson in the June 12 Democratic primary!

Donna and Philip Seymour


A principled, sincere voice

Political discussions often pivot around the concept of electability. In this post-Citizens United world, that often means the possibilities of a candidate are defined by the extent of the financial resources available, or essentially how many television ads one can air. From that perspective, our democracy is damaged and barely functioning.

When considering the candidacy of Craig Olson for the 2nd Congressional District seat, the fact that in debates his political and policy insights are the most honed and informed, his passion for constructive change is motivated by his life experience including father of three daughters, battles with cancer and the American health care system, and the challenges of a small business owner, should not be erased by name recognition or depth of financial support.

The purpose of a meaningful political campaign is to identify the best candidate. I urge all voters to consider which candidate stands for your concerns, who is motivated to be your advocate, who is experienced, thoughtful, and informed to make wise decisions on your behalf. That person may be Craig Olson.

In this environment of the electorate rejecting the dictates of party bosses and ossified political alliances, it is time a principled, sincere voice for working families be heard. Listen to Craig Olson.

Tom Tudor


Attack on women continues

The Trump administration continues its attack on women. Now it wants to deny funds to any organization that provides abortions or counsels women on the option of abortion. Of course, it is already illegal for these organizations to use federal funds to perform abortions, but that doesn’t punish women enough for the conservatives.

Here’s the thing conservatives don’t seem to get: Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations prevent abortions. By providing contraception to women and men, these organizations have prevented more abortions over the decades than all the pro-fetus marchers and sanctimonious politicians combined.

There is only one reason for an abortion — unwanted pregnancy. The equation is simple; prevent unwanted pregnancies, reduce abortions. A side plus to this equation is that by preventing unwanted pregnancies, the need for welfare is also reduced. If anything, the federal government should be increasing funding to family planning organizations.

I’ll just add that given Trump’s sexual history, it is a good thing his partners had access to the full range of reproductive choices and evidently they used them. Otherwise, we’d be reading about lots of paternity suits in the newspapers. The same goes for the Congressmen with mistresses, sexual abusers, and unmarried white supremacists. Their women who used contraception saved these men’s bacon.

Linda Buckmaster