Editor's note: Because of space limitations in The Republican Journal, not all letters pertaining to the upcoming election could be printed. The following letters appear only online.

A leader and a doer

I strongly endorse Mary Mortier for re-election to the Belfast City Council.

As a real estate broker in Belfast since 1999, Mary understands the pressing economic concerns on people’s minds, whether they’re buying or selling or just keeping the home fires burning.

As the key force behind New Years by the Bay for the past 18 years, Mary spends considerable time to make a lot of people in this town happy on New Year’s Eve. Corralling talent, wrangling venues, scheduling events, the work never ends until that big, beautiful, blazing bonfire ultimately caps the evening for all of us.

Every spring Mary works diligently to create wonderful displays of greenery and flowers in many downtown locations, lovely displays that give that extra dash of pride to every resident.

An esteemed member of Belfast Rotary Club for 18 years, past president and Paul Harris Fellow, Mary takes the lead in several projects that generate funds for local charities.

As a city councilor for the past six years, Mary continues to care for the people of Belfast. Deeply aware of the financial pressures people encounter, she works hard to hold or lower our taxes and fights to make every expense dollar count. Mary is thorough and has a practical sense of how people will be affected by her actions. She carefully considers every issue. Toward the end of discussion on an item, if Mary feels any part of it remains insufficiently considered, she will ask the needed question that brings it to light.

In marked contrast to Mary Mortier’s dedication to Belfast, is a brief comment by her election opponent Ellie Daniels quoted in the Oct. 4 edition of the Bangor Daily News: “If the fish farm comes to this town, I can’t live in this town anymore, and that’s why I’m running.”

The comment clearly reveals the mindset of this one-issue candidate whose property abuts the Nordic Aquafarms site. Interestingly, it also implies that if Daniels gets elected and if the salmon farm subsequently gets state agency approval, then Daniels would not only be leaving town, but also quitting her elected position — which requires Belfast residency.

Daniels’ comment tells us all we need to know about her candidacy. It’s not the people of Belfast that drive her to seek office; it’s her own self-interest: It’s my way or I’ll take the highway.

So I will vote for Mary Mortier who has long demonstrated her commitment to all the issues facing Belfast. I will vote for her this Election Day and on all future Election Days for as long as she wishes to serve.

I ask that you vote for her as well. Let’s show Mary that she has our overwhelming support.

Michael Corden

Belfast

Poliquin's battle for Maine

As a young man growing up in the great state of Maine, I can say one thing about the people that live here. We know exactly what is best for the people of Maine, because we are individual in our actions and thoughts.

Here in Maine we are kind, and we are caring. As our 2nd District congressman, I think Bruce Poliquin is doing a wicked good job, not only in representing the people of Maine, but in representing those very qualities.

I can also tell you a few qualities we don’t embrace. Dishonesty, radicalism, and polarization. Bruce's opponent Jared Golden has unfortunately shown all of these qualities in his unjustifiable smear campaign against a man who has been working hard for the people of Maine for a long time, that man being Bruce Poliquin.

When I first saw Jared Golden I was awestruck at his willingness to attack Bruce's efforts toward health care, as I know myself how Bruce feels about health care. Bruce's mother is a nurse who is 90 years old, and his son has a pre-existing condition. Bruce would never do a single thing that would harm their ability to receive health care. As a matter of fact, Bruce has had a 14-point health care plan that has been out for more than two years now, that includes coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. This shows Bruce's kindness and compassion, the very qualities that we as Mainers embrace.

Bruce constantly and tirelessly fights for our right to embrace policy that is individual for Maine, whether it is regarding education, health care, or constitutional rights. Bruce understands that the one-size-fits-all policy that Washington, D.C., develops just isn't always right for Maine, and he puts the people of Maine first.

Jared Golden, on the other hand, is being funded by out-of-state money, and has a voting record that shows extreme polarization with a liberal voting record of over 90 percent, while Bruce reads all issues carefully, and always decides for Maine. This is what makes him Maine's congressman.

At the end of the day, it is Bruce Poliquin who has fought for Maine jobs, who has fought for Maine families, and who has fought for Maine as a whole, while representing the qualities that Mainers hold near and dear to their hearts. When people ask why I am voting for Bruce Poliquin, my answer is simple. How could I not vote for Bruce, and still consider myself a Mainer?

Dylan Mitchell

Belfast

Voting records tell the real story

I found the recently reported legislative tracking by Maine Economic Research Institute, a non-partisan, not-for-profit research organization administered by the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, interesting in how those state legislators running for office stack up on economic issues.

While politicians all purport to be business-friendly, the ratings show that some clearly vote in the opposite direction on bills that affect our economy, such as tax policies, the cost of doing business in Maine, economic development, health care, regulatory reform, and energy, environmental and infrastructure issues.

On a scale of 1 to 100, those scoring 0 to 34 and designated “very weak supporters” of Maine’s economy and running for election Nov. 6 were Rep. S. Paige Zeigler, D-Montville, up for re-election, 18.89; Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, running for state Senate, 23.08; and Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, running for U.S. House of Representatives, 24.59.

Rep. Owen Casas, I-Rockport, up for re-election, scored 46.14, a “weak supporter.” Rep. MaryAnne Kinney, R-Knox, up for re-election, scored 83.22, and Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Androscoggin County, running for U.S. Senate, scored 77.50, both “very strong supporters” of Maine’s economy.

During her two terms in the Maine House, former Republican state Rep. Jayne Crosby Giles consistently scored in MERI’s “very strong supporter” range of 75 to 100. Not only did she vote to support the economy; she reluctantly left public service in 2010, in the wake of the national economic slowdown, to serve businesses more directly in the private sector.

As CEO of MaineStream Finance, she helped people stay in their homes and keep their businesses going by arranging mortgage and business loans to those in underserved communities.

There has been plenty of empty election rhetoric floating around lately, but voting records tell the real story. Jayne Crosby Giles will have my vote for state Senate Nov. 6.

Scott L. Hawthorne

Belfast

Vote for the future

Nordic Aquafarms’ introduction into the town of Belfast is the most significant economic opportunity since the introduction of Front Street Shipyard to our waterfront. Though unlike Front Street’s opening, Nordic has been met with far more criticism and vitriol, while holding a greater ability to change our economy and even the economy of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

Seven percent of the United States’ salmon consumption would be met by Nordic’s projected 33,000 tons of sustainable salmon a year, cutting down on the fishing extermination of wild salmon, and cutting down on fossil fuel use, as a large portion of salmon would not have to be flown overseas on planes.

The opposition to the farm, spearheaded by their three City Council candidates, Ellie Daniels, Jim Merkel, and Joanne Moesswilde, preach their opposition from a stance of environmental protection with no real knowledge ― or care for ― the actual numbers.

Nordic Aquafarms’ projected effluent (water discharged from the facility) ranks far within safety guidelines, and the water being circulated in and out of the facility is being treated with ultra-violet light and being passed through 0.4-micron biological filters: the same technology that treats blood for contaminants in hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Whole Oceans facility in Bucksport is also preparing to open and is being accepted into that town with open arms. Whole Oceans’ projected salmon production is 40-percent less than that of Nordic Aquafarms but will eject more than double the effluent into the bay daily.

When we look at the nitrogen discharge of which the opposition has been so critical, Whole Oceans will output 2.6 times the maximum level of nitrogen that Nordic will output on their busiest day. While both farms are within the safety parameters for an industry in Maine, Nordic Aquafarms is the gold standard for environmental consideration and sustainability.

With the data shown, you find the real opposition to the farm comes not from a valid concern about major environmental disruption, but an overall distaste for foreign business and development in our town.

Joanne Moesswilde and Ellie Daniels have both made this very clear, with Moesswilde herself stating, “I don't want them to come. I don't care if they're doing it perfectly. I don't want a huge industry here,” and Ellie Daniels saying, "I feel like I'm running for council because I can't live here if I don't.”

Both statements showcase an overall feeling of closed-mindedness. It isn't about the community, the growth, or even the environment; it's about their attempts to maintain a picturesque world, despite the evidence they have been given.

We cannot have leaders of the community who have such a backward worldview. We must look to the future of the planet and the community, not look backward in an attempt to maintain the status quo.

When you go to vote in November, vote for the future of your community, not the past.

Alexander Doyne-Ditmas

Belfast

Why the ‘no’ votes on FGM?

As a woman and a mother, there is a topic of importance that I feel compelled to address here: female genital mutilation. Our federal government has a law against this. However, here in Maine we have no state law that gives enforcement backup to pursue perpetrators of this despicable act. Young girls are being taken out of state so they can be cut and we are not protecting them as we should.

Daily pain and suffering are the result for these children, and yet our government in Maine has not yet been able to pass a law making this practice illegal. The most recent attempt was LD-1904, which was defeated by 4 votes. Voters who are not aware should know that Erin Herbig and Stanley Paige Ziegler both voted NO to making female genital mutilation illegal in the state of Maine.

This is not a political issue; this is a humane issue. Why would you not support our girls, Erin and Stanley? Why, why, why?

Respectfully awaiting a response,

JoAn Petersen

Swanville

Leadership we need

I’m just nerdy enough to read the newsletters of the aquaculture industry, which are all about promoting aquaculture. This headline in IntraFish caught my eye: “Land-based salmon farms proceed at their own risk, insurers say.”

The gist of the article, and others like it that I’ve seen, is that land-based aquaculture, especially at large scale, is too experimental for insurers to take a risk on because too many things can go wrong. For example, massive die-offs in tanks are not uncommon, and then what do you do with all those diseased fish and the water they are in? Who pays for the cleanup of the bay?

Arne Gangdal of Gjensidige, one of Norway’s largest insurers, says that there is “no experience with large-scale farms on land and there are no statistics to even calculate prices."

It seems only prudent that the city require Nordic Aquafarms to show proof of insurance to handle such contingencies as well as to post a surety bond or escrow to protect the city. After all, we have to show proof of insurance just to register our cars. We must have an escrow account for our mortgages so we don’t try to slip out on our bills.

This was one of the questions raised at the candidates’ forum. Incumbents Mortier and Harkness said they would not burden Nordic Aquafarms with this safety requirement. Paul Dean said he would have to think about it. Ellie Daniels, Joanne Moesswilde and Jim Merkel said they definitely would require such accountability to protect landowners, fishermen, and the bay, not to mention the city’s liability.

That’s why I’m voting for Daniels (Ward 1 write-in), Moesswilde (Ward 2 on ballot), and Merkel (Ward 5 write-in). They are willing to put the safety of the city and residents over the profits of a foreign corporation. This is the kind of leadership we need.

Linda Buckmaster

Belfast

Best ideas

I attended an excellent candidates’ forum for Waldo County sheriff the other night and listened to two men I know well ― Jeff Trafton and John Gibbs ― talk about issues we all care about, including the future of the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center on Congress Street.

I was impressed by the enthusiasm Jeff Trafton brought to his observations. Sgt. Gibbs has been helpful to me and our mobile home park in the past and is a neighbor over here across the river. I think he will make a fine sheriff someday. But the issue that will determine the candidate I vote for is the Reentry Center.

I have had many residents of the center work for me. Many are intelligent and hard-working. Many will have a tough time when they leave the center and return to society. The best chance they have, I think, is through the counseling and exposure to positive role models they receive up on Congress Street.

Sheriff Trafton is a strong supporter of the center, and he told us all he will make changes to improve the chances for future success of the residents. I'm all for that. I know Sgt. Gibbs said early in the campaign that he would close the center if he is elected. He went back on that during the forum, saying he would keep it open. That's a step in the right direction, I think, but I say Jeff has already arrived where John is reluctantly heading.

I'm voting for Jeff Trafton on Nov. 6, though I hope John keeps learning and stays involved with police work.

The world can be a messy place, even here in Belfast. I think Jeff Trafron has the best ideas for cleaning us up.

Dana Keene

Belfast

Need open, transparent representation

Responding to Ethan Andrews' front page story about the Belfast Council Forum held last Tuesday at the Boathouse, I attended the forum and in my opinion, the format was flawed. For two hours, we heard the candidates alternating answers for the same question … and it was too easy to mimic their responses to appear more “mainstream.”

The first hour should have been used to answer generic questions about the salmon farm, etc. The next half-hour should have been used to address our specific questions to individual candidates. The final half-hour should have been used for the candidates to ask each other questions. Under this format, the forum would not have been “light on drama.”

I had a specific question for Joanne Moesswilde. In her biographical summary last Thursday in The Republican Journal about her positions on issues, she said, and I paraphrase, “even if Nordic Aquafarms did everything perfect, I would still vote against them coming to Belfast,” yet in the council forum, she changed her position to “she is open to the process and learning.”

I don't believe that she could go from a rigid position of no salmon farm under any circumstances to her current position in less than a week. In my opinion, we need a councilor in Ward 2 who will represent the citizens of Belfast in an open and transparent manner, and that person is Neal Harkness.

Eric Schrader

Belfast

Will work with others

"My name is Jayne Crosby Giles and I am running for the Waldo County Senate seat in the Maine Legislature." I have repeated those words thousands of times on thousands of doorsteps across Waldo County this past year. Thank you to all who took a few minutes to speak with me about issues important to you. I greatly appreciate it!

I am running to be your state senator because I believe that Waldo County needs a compassionate leader who will listen and work with others. I am a former state representative, 30-year banker and community volunteer. I grew up in Waldo County and appreciate living in this wonderful area. At the same time, I understand the struggles of rural Mainers. I know what it takes to help small businesses grow, care for aging seniors, pay taxes, and cope with skyrocketing health care costs.

When I was in the Maine Legislature, I did not look for Democrat or Republican solutions to our problems. I worked across party lines to find the best solutions. That is what I will do as your next state senator.

Working together, we will encourage entrepreneurship, invest in our public schools, create affordable housing, ensure access to health care, and lower property taxes in Waldo County. As your state senator, I will never forget that I work for you ― the people of Waldo County.  On Nov. 6, I ask for your vote and support. Thank you.

Jayne Crosby Giles

Former House Representative

Candidate for Maine Senate

Mills for change

Paul LePage kinda had his run; no need for more of the same with Shawn Moody. We can have a brighter future.

Andrew Hoglund

Thorndike

Promises still kept

It has been my honor and privilege to have served as state representative for District 131, including the towns of Orland, Dedham, Stockton Springs, Penobscot, Verona Island, Prospect and Otis, for the last four years. I have been welcomed into your homes and blessed with your votes by overwhelming margins in every election.

Through it all, I kept my pledges to you to vote your conscience over my own or my party's, eschew PAC monies by funding my own campaigns, and help my towns by returning my salary to the youth of the communities I represent. I've always tried to do my best for you.

Unfortunately, because of the increasing pressures of managing a growing construction company, I've made the difficult decision to focus more on that and family and health. The seven-day work weeks were taking their toll. Perhaps, if you'll have me again in the future, I may return to public service again once things slow down a bit.

When I considered who to ask to run in my place, I looked for a person who had lived here for many years, with steady temperament, a kind heart, many years of public service, intimate knowledge of the people and issues in our District ― a seasoned veteran who had actually run a successful business and whose centrist values reflected those in our region. And most importantly, someone who would vote your priorities first, over other influences, and would give back to our communities.

My choice was a very easy one: the Hon. Sherm Hutchins.

A 10th-generation Mainer whose family fought in the American Revolution, Sherm served in the 114th Maine Legislature as the lead of the powerful Marine Resources Committee. A member of the Hancock Regional Planning Commission and a 10-term Penobscot selectman (with several stints as chairman), he understands the challenges facing our region. He has moderated an incredible 110 town meetings in Orland, Penobscot, Dedham, Lucerne, Otis and others and gained invaluable insight into the specific issues facing our towns.

He successfully ran S.H. Hutchins Construction for over 25 years before retiring a few years ago. Not surprisingly, he has received the endorsement of numerous outdoor, sportsman, business, commerce and religious organizations ― because he is one of us.

But most importantly, Sherm Hutchins knows what his job will be ― to represent us in Augusta. Not some PAC, not a governor, not a legislative leader, not an extreme ideology, not the party line. To do this takes courage.

How do I know this? Because Sherm has been my legislative "mentor" these four years, providing guidance and advice to me. He is the reason I supported our district's youth, and he plans to do similar things. He is the reason I stayed away from PACs and voted over 200 times to overturn vetoes. And he is the reason I voted your conscience first. It was Sherm who made clear to me that my only job was to put your interests above all else and simply represent. Period.

If you liked the job I did, you should entrust your vote to the person who taught me how to do it ― the Hon. Sherman Hutchins.

Rep. Karl Ward

R-District 131

Dedham

No increased tax for retirees!

Thank you to everyone who is supporting my campaign for Belfast City Council Ward 2. I have enjoyed talking with the people of Belfast about what is important to them.

Unfortunately, within the past week, it has come to my attention that there is false information circulating regarding my platform. A few people have asked why I would support increasing taxes for retirees in Belfast.

I do not suggest such a tax; nor would I support such a tax. I am most interested in reducing taxes for those who can least afford them.

If you have further questions for me about this or other pertinent issues, please call me on my cell phone at 323-9995, after 6 p.m. I look forward to speaking with you.

Thank you and please vote on Nov. 6!

Joanne Moesswilde

Belfast City Council Candidate

Ward 2

As simple as that

In recent days campaign signs for Waldo County treasurer from Peter Sheff have begun to appear along the roads. These signs proclaim, "Cut Property Taxes NOW!"

It's a worthy goal that I pursued for a number of years, but the Waldo County treasurer and its office has nothing to do with local property taxes. It is as simple as that.

The country treasurer is basically the county's tax collector. The Treasurer's Office, using a formula based on (1) the county budget for the coming year and (2) the state's annual valuation of a town determines each town's county tax assessment. If a town's state valuation increases, its county tax assessment will increase. It is a simple as that.

(Details of the treasurer's position and responsibilities can be found in MRSA Title 30-A, Subchapter 3.)

The county treasurer has no input into the county's budget except for the Office of the Treasurer, which means these days the elected treasurer and the appointed assistant treasurer. The 2018 Treasurer's Office budget was 0.9 percent of the total county budget.

Retiring Treasurer David Parkman pointed out in an article in The Republican Journal a few weeks ago that he was, at best, an adviser to the county commissioners and the county Budget Committee. He offered input and opinions but that was all the treasurer could do. Knowing David, I am sure he argued forcefully for his point of view with the commissioners and he was always forthcoming with his views to the Budget Committee.

If I am elected county treasurer, I will continue to argue forcefully for positions that may be contrary to those of county commissioners. I've argued with them before, but that is the best I can do as county treasurer. No false promises. It is a simple as that.

William "Bill" Sneed

Prospect

Candidate for Waldo County Treasurer

Choosing between two moderates

All politics is local, so it is said, and that especially comes home when two candidates that you both like and respect are running to represent Waldo County in the state Senate.

Erin Herbig and Jayne Crosby Giles are both downplaying the partisanship issues surrounding this race and instead are focusing on what is best for Waldo County. They both advocate for small businesses, families and rural communities, only differing in some ways on the means. How does one decide between two clearly moderate candidates? For me, although Jayne is a veteran legislator, involved community member and self-described moderate Republican, she is not the right choice for Waldo County in this election. The time for moderate Republicanism is over ― her party is immoderate. The party to which she belongs and to which I once belonged has veered so far toward an agenda that sanctifies the rights of corporations, special interest groups and the financial elite at the expense of the common good that there is no hope that she can make a difference.

Erin Herbig is also a veteran legislator, involved community member and a proven leader. As a moderate Democrat she will be able to represent and deliver for all the people of Waldo County. I’m casting my vote for Erin.

Ray Estabrook

Belfast

Capacity to empathize

Having had the privilege of working with Joanne Moesswilde, Jim Merkel, and Ellie Daniels on several peace and justice issues, more than once I've been taken with their level of energy, dedication, passion and knowledge of the subject matter.

They will bring to the City Council of Belfast, as councilors, all of these qualities that are so necessary for being a public official.

Their years of experience ― Joanne, as a nurse practitioner; Ellie, as a retired midwife and current small business owner in Belfast; and Jim, educator, scientist and filmmaker, makes them significantly qualified for the positions of city councilors.

However, their sense of integrity, fairness, and willingness to listen to all Belfast citizens without being judgmental are some of the more important characteristics they will bring to their wards. They have the capacity to empathize ― a necessary ability but, unfortunately, usually lacking in people who run for office. They will translate these abilities as they make decisions that will benefit the people of Belfast and the city.

Belfast needs people with these qualities and experiences because there are proposed changes to the Belfast community that will have profound effects. All residents will be affected, one way or another. It could change life as we know it.

I'll be voting for Joanne Moesswilde, whose name is on the ballot for Ward 2, along with her opponent Neal Harkness.

Ellie Daniels is opposing Mary Mortier for Ward 1. Ellie is a write-in candidate. Jim Merkel is also a write-in candidate opposing Paul Dean in Ward 5.

It will be an honor for me to vote for these very talented people! Please give them your vote on Nov. 6.

Phyllis Coelho

Belfast

Ask yourself which party

It is increasingly difficult for me to imagine anyone wanting to vote for a political party in America that wants to open borders and remove our border control agents; abolish the Constitution; give power to the government over what we earn, where we spend our money and how much; encourage their constituents to harass those who disagree with them; limit our right to bear arms; and is never satisfied with how many taxes they can increase to support their socialist agendas.

All of these items have been promoted by various leaders and representatives of their party over the past few years and have become mainstream talking point for them.

Unfortunately, if you fail to walk in lockstep with their misguided ideas, you will be cast out and not allowed to participate on their side of the aisle. This is true not only on the national stage but the local one as well. From the race to be our next governor or senator or state representative to the positions on the County Commission, party affiliation does make a difference.

The recent circus on the Supreme Court hearings revealed much of what the Democratic Party has become. Guilty before being proved innocent, destroy anyone that gets in your way, the ends-justify-the-means mentality. There is no place in politics for such hatred.

Sen. Collins, who is no real friend to conservatives, had one of the most brilliant speeches she has ever given concerning why she voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh. Bravo to her!

As we venture to the polls on Nov. 6, ask yourself which party the candidate you are considering voting for belongs to and never forget that elections have consequences.

I will be checking all Republican candidates’ boxes this year with a prayer that in due time the Democrats will regain some of what they had in years gone by.

Peter Sheff

Morrill

John Gibbs for Waldo County sheriff

I have known John Gibbs since 1989 when he began working as a reserve police officer with the Belfast Police Department. Prior to that, John had been working in corrections and dispatch at the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office. His experiences there gave John and me a lot to talk about, as that was where I had begun my career as well.

I quickly learned of John’s desire to have a career in law enforcement. I say law enforcement, but John’s life-long dream was to be a Maine game warden. In early 1990 John’s dream came true and he was accepted into the Warden Academy. John graduated later that year, but because of state funding issues, was one of five wardens in his entire class that were laid off.

In early 1991 John was hired as a full-time officer with the Belfast Police Department. In 1993 John was promoted to the rank of detective. Due to his tenacity for investigations and ability to work independently, John flourished in this role. In 1997 because of his hard work and dedication, as chief of police I had the honor of promoting John to the rank of sergeant. John assumed this role with the same dedication and professionalism he had previously displayed as a detective.

Over the course of the past 29 years I have had the pleasure of watching John grow from the rookie officer whom I once had to remind that we don’t lean on the corner of buildings when conducting foot patrol to one of the most highly respected, dedicated and professional law enforcement officers I have had the pleasure to work with and know.

John would not be the first person elected who did not know the complete ins and outs of the Sheriff’s Department. The high sheriff is charged with managing the overall operations of the department. Like a previous employee has accurately stated, the sheriff is not hands-on with every daily aspect of the agency. That is why the Sheriff’s Department has a jail administrator to run the day-to-day operations. This goes without saying for all divisions of the department; sergeants to supervise the patrol deputies, detective sergeant to supervise the detective division, secretary to train and oversee the Civil Service arm, and finally, chief deputy to assist in overseeing it all.

On Nov. 6, for the first time in almost four decades when you go to the polls, you will have two candidates to choose from.

John Gibbs possesses the professionalism, leadership and experience to be the high sheriff of Waldo County and I hope you will join me by giving him your support and most of all your vote!

Allen A. Weaver Sr.

Retired Belfast Chief of Police

Unnecessary warehousing of felons

Maine voters take notice! A contributing crisis towards the drug epidemic has plagued even the Maine State Prison (MSP) facility. This November, our out-of-tune legislators need to take heed and prevent this unnecessary warehousing of felons by a state agency.

As a 54-year-old serving 10 months in Warren, Maine's maximum security complex, I asked myself: How have reckless penal staff not allowed me an opportunity towards transcending into a re-entry "work release" program? Especially when my convicted crime is a direct result from hopeless socioeconomic issues.

History details factors where Augusta correction administrators have haphazardly allowed to bottleneck the practice of simply warehouses inmates. Resulting in a costly perfect storm approach towards re-offending. To further support my inner fact-finding, the Pharos House (Portland) used to house state prisoners. So did the "barracks" at Maine Correction Center (Windham) in the 1980s. A decade later, Bangor Pre-Release Center collapsed. Recently, the Hallowell Pre-Release Center and Downeast Correctional Facility closed.

That's over 200 minimum custody beds deliberately nullified for inmates' access towards excelling back into our community. Currently, over 51 percent of all inmates at MSP are serving under four years. This speaks loudly towards a troubling 80 percent recidivism rate. An issue not one politician feels the urge to address.

When casting a November ballot, let's consider what lawmaker will hold this correctional agency accountable towards this callous penal warehousing dilemma. Years ago, we conveniently moved the juveniles at the Mount View facility (South Portland) to the Portland jail at a more feasible savings plan. This would expeditiously open a vital 200 beds option towards our pestilence huge recidivism epidemic. Our newly elected governor should foresee this chronic penal malfeasance, which has had an unaccountable practice in this drug problem, due to all the hopelessness statistics. I pray.

Michael Ireland

Maine State Prison

Will vote yes on Question 1

I’m going to vote yes on Question 1, the Universal Home Care initiative, because it makes sense to me for the wealthier people of our state to pay slightly higher taxes to ensure Maine’s many struggling families have access to quality home care for their elderly and disabled relatives. If you agree, you should vote yes, too. It’s as simple as that.

Of course, the problems families face caring for their older or disabled loves ones are far from simple. Adult children have to quit their jobs to care for frail and failing parents, moms and dads reach the breaking point tending to their disabled kids, households exhaust their resources paying for professional help, patients who would do better in familiar surroundings wind up in nursing homes.

Question 1 would address all those problems, and that would help a lot of families. The Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine has determined that 27,000 Mainers could benefit from universal home care.

On the opposite side of the equation, less than 3 percent of state residents — the wealthiest residents, who make over $128,400 — would see any increase in taxes. And the tax hike would in effect close a loophole in existing tax rules that allows high-income folks to avoid paying payroll taxes on all their income, like everyone else does.

So it comes down to that simple choice: peace of mind for working families vs. slightly higher taxes for the most fortunate among us. For me it’s an easy decision.

John Lockhart

Belfast

Vote God's way

"The God of Israel said, … He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God" (2 Samuel 23:3). To be just means to be upright and obedient to God's laws. To fear God means to revere Him and take Him very seriously. According to God we should prefer God-fearing Christians to be our politicians.

We should vote for candidates that have biblical values, not necessarily our own values, because God's values are perfect and most productive of good to all.

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people mourn (Proverbs 29:2). A righteous man is one who is benevolent and obedient to God's commandments. If we want rejoicing and not sadness in our land, we must vote for righteous men and reject all candidates who commit or condone the crimes of slander, adultery, idolatry, sorcery, theft, cohabitation, fornication, homosexuality, divorce, abortion, etc.

According to God's word, we should not vote for a woman to fill a position which requires her to rule over men or enact laws for the public. The founders of this once-great republic never permitted women to vote in public elections or hold public office. They knew that Eve was told by God that her husband "shall rule over thee" (Gen. 3:16). They understood that the husband is to rule over the wife, and not vice versa. To them equal rights mean equal treatment under the law, God's law. They knew that if women would rule a nation by casting votes or by holding governmental positions that that nation would be destroyed (Isiah 3:8-12). They also knew that Lucifer's policy is to weaken nations (Isiah 14:12), which is being done by reversing the roles of men and women in marriage and society.

God said "The head of the woman is the man" (1 Cor. 11:3). Also, "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived (by Satan) was in the transgression. Nothwithstanding shall she be saved in child-bearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" (1 Tim. 2:12-15).

God says the women's place is at home and to be submissive to her husband in everything morally right (Proverbs 31:27; 1 Tim.5:14; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1).

" … Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it" (Luke 11:28).

Donald Violette

Brooks

Let's do our part

I am not into politics but I am into the Bible. Back in 2016 right after Mr. Trump was duly elected president of this great country the left started attacking. First thing was "he's not my president." The question in my mind was if he's not your president, who is? This continued followed by hate speech, pictures of our president beheaded, threats of blowing up the White House and the media supporting all of this and keeping it going and going and going.

Finally I asked myself why are we putting up with this? Someone needs to do something. So I did the only thing I know how to do … I went to the Bible for my answer … to Luke the 19th chapter, and particularly verse 27. These are the words of Jesus himself and I went on Facebook and posted these words of Jesus: "But bring here these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me." Now that would have ended all this hate filled division once and for all.

Psalm 60 is a prayer for our nation. Psalm 59:1-5 prayer for President Trump. We need to join together in prayer. Jesus prayed that we would be as one as He and the Father are one. Let's help him out by doing our part.

God gave Jesus all power and authority here, and Jesus gave it to us. And we gave it to big government and big corporations. Let's go get it back, it belongs to us. The Internal Revenue Service, the CIA, the FBI, the attorneys and others, they aren't so scary when they are on the hot seat, are they?

Ruth Treworgy

Knox