What has happened to us?

What has happened to us all? The divisiveness of American politics today has reached every one of us. Friends are no longer friendly because of the perceived and exaggerated belief that the threat from the “other side” — left or right, conservative or liberal — is so serious that we must be rude, sarcastic, unyielding and unwilling to even consider the opinion of others if they disagree with us.

We have apparently decided that we are right to the complete and total exclusion of logic. We only want to listen to or read those sources that support our beliefs — the other side is “fake news” because it does not support what we think is right — whether it is factual or not. It is interesting that even neutral fact checking — once revealed — is discarded if it does not fit in with our preconceived notions. “I’ve made up my mind. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

It is sad that the example set by government today has brought us to increased animosity — and even violence — toward anyone different from us. Much of the bias and prejudice of the past have raised their ugly heads. Our leaders are constantly throwing darts at the other side so why should we be any different?

I do not expect Americans to give up their individual opinions and beliefs in the name of friendship but civility and understanding would go a long way toward keeping relationships that have existed a lot longer than the politics of the day. The November elections will come and go. Politics will continue to lean left at one moment and right the next. Hopefully, our democracy will prevail and maintain the balance needed in this system of ours — and we will remain friends.

Gary Walker


Running a bad newspaper

Oh, Republican Journal; thou dost protest too much. I laughed at your editorial “Our news coverage is not for sale” because the whole thing was just slightly misleading … but have it your way. You could have added that the RJ won’t actually cover the news at any price. I was looking back on your “news coverage” and therein lay the problem. Your so-called news coverage is to put it kindly lazy and nearly nonexistent. When it has pertained to Nordic Aquafarms it’s not so much that you favor the opposition, which you have, it’s that the RJ has failed the community it supposedly represents to present us with the truth. That’s what real journalism does.

Before I continue lambasting the RJ for its so called “news coverage” here’s a little about me. I love news and I love newspapers. I once dreamed of a career in journalism but fate had other plans. I was taken on by the Waldo Independent as a columnist and wrote 865 weekly columns. Among my friends are writers, reporters, editors, and publishers. I love the press, we are subscribers and advertisers in the RJ.

I know journalism when I see it and the RJ, Belfast and Waldo County’s “paper of record” is failing us. When Nordic Aquafarms first came to town I quickly saw that we’d never appreciated how huge a worldwide industry aquaculture was across the planet. Now an aquaculture representative had come knocking on our door. A story of unprecedented scale and dimension was before us. Nordic Aquafarms if approved would pay more taxes than the top 100 Belfast taxpayers. The build-out would be more than 15 times the investment of Front Street Shipyard. Was the aquifer sufficient? Would they harm the bay? How much traffic would they generate? The opportunity for unbiased journalism and reporting and truth was enormous. And the RJ whiffed choosing to do “he said” and “she said” after-the-fact reporting. No enterprise journalism, no investigative journalism, no feature reporting. We needed a free and hardworking press to give us the facts. When we needed The Republican Journal the most it went missing.

I get it … the news business is tough, especially with the pandemic. But running what most people call a bad (to put it kindly) newspaper does not make anyone want to read or support it. The RJ owns the hyper local news market and yet Pen Bay Pilot and the Free Press routinely do a far better job. Neither of them would ever have printed a press release unattributed but the RJ did so.

It may be too late for you folks to actually become journalists and practice journalism but who knows? It could happen. One things for sure; you’d have an avid audience. We’d pay for that.

Mike Hurley


Failed attempt to bully our community

In this newspaper’s Sept. 3 editorial, it was revealed that Nordic Aquafarms has pulled their advertising because they did not like the way a story was written.

I have been a supporter of Nordic’s Belfast aquafarm, believing the science supports their claims that the proposed facility is environmentally sound and would benefit Belfast.

However, more important to me than any benefit this project might bring is what kind of long-term corporate citizen Nordic would be. Nordic’s decision to remove advertising at a time when Belfast’s small businesses are hurting is despicable. I think it is fair to conclude that Nordic believes that by providing tax revenue and jobs they have bought the right to dictate how news is presented. Perhaps they have succeeded with this approach in Norway, but they should not be allowed to do so in this country.

To me, Nordic’s action calls into question all the statements I have heard regarding the “partnership” that Nordic sees with the people of Belfast. If Nordic, in the person of Jacki Cassida, considers irate emails and editorial influence the actions of a responsible partner, there’s a real disconnect here. I see it as a failed attempt to bully our community.

Edwin Nesbit


Reinstate Reichard

Last week's RJ editorial highlighted "irate" Nordic Aquafarms community liaison Jacki Cassida complaining about biased coverage against her employers, then announcing that they would stop advertising in the RJ, at least until it started doing what they consider "a better job balancing its content regarding anything Nordic-related."

The corporation should be grateful for the studiously scrupulous objectivity it benefits from in the RJ and in other media. For example, last week's editorial explains that some of the claims objected to by Cassida are "based on science," while others are "more speculative." But when referring to the corporation's claims, the RJ doesn't go so far as to note that the corporation's claims about potential benefits seem sometimes to be "based on science" and sometimes seem to be "more random" or "more misleading" or "more speculative." In an editorial on the subject of balanced coverage, why qualify one party's claims and not the other's?

Despite Cassida's antics as reported in last week's editorial, the editorial itself indicates that a more obvious problem is a general, sometimes subtle, bias in favor of the corporation. Reinstating opinion columnist Lawrence Reichard could go a long way toward checking this bias and balancing the coverage of the entire controversy. It would allow the RJ to continue walking its talk, even risking the ire of an advertiser as it demonstrates clearly its twice-stated commitment to its readers.

May the RJ benefit from the corporation's advertising dollars to the fullest and fairest extent possible.

Jason Rawn


Great for Maine

I have known Jessica Connor since she was just a baby. I used to be her babysitter years ago. Since then, our paths crossed again in 2010 when she organized a very popular and successful weight loss challenge, the "Pound A Weigh" Challenge, that was set up similar to the popular television show at the time, "The Biggest Loser."

As participants, it became clear to all of us how good Jess is at bringing people together for a common cause and making it fun.

What I learned about the little girl I used to babysit as an adult is that she gives 100% in whatever she does. Watching the things she has done since the Pound A Weigh Challenge, including organizing the popular, annual March Madness events to help local families with medical expenses is inspiring. Not only that, she leads with compassion, organization and common sense. She always stands up for what she believes in.

Unfortunately, I am from Stockton Springs, which is not part of her district. Jessica is running in House District 98, which comprises Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville and Winterport, and I cannot cast a vote for her. Still, I work in Searsport with many of her constituents and I want my support for her to be published because I feel she would great for the state of Maine!

No one will work harder. She is responsive and truly understands what it means to represent the common person in Augusta. Please get out and vote for Jessica Connor if you live in Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville or Winterport.

Raye Rolston

Stockton Springs

Backs former rival

I laud anyone willing to run for office, to a point.

I was delighted to compete with Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, for the 98th District Maine House seat in 2018. It was a gentlemen’s race, where we both presented our visions for Searsport, Frankfort, Swanville and Winterport. Scott reached out after the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, exhibiting a willingness to put politics behind being a good neighbor. It meant so much and lessened the feeling of isolation my community experienced.

During that campaign, the current Republican candidate reached out to me, demanding that I support an obscenely backward anti-vaccination agenda. I have no way of knowing if she still supports an anti-science position, but during a pandemic, it seems irresponsible to put forward a candidate with a strained relationship to scientific consensus.

And it’s difficult to know what Jessica Connor stands for, beyond the stale boilerplate of “I believe in small business and the Second Amendment.”

These are not the times for candidates with superficial, incomplete policy positions. It is never a time to put forward a candidate with a dangerous agenda.

Rep. Scott Cuddy has racked up a litany of legislative achievements in his first two years. He’s fought for Maine small business, and also a living wage for working Mainers. He’s supported policies that maintain our health and safety during this crisis.

Perhaps his coolest achievement is the status of “The Ballad of the 20th Maine.” As a scion of soldiers who fought to end the slaveholder rebellion at Gettysburg, and as a former member of the Maine Army National Guard, I thought this was an incredible recognition of Maine’s sacrifices for the preservation of the Union. More so, in fact, in our bicentennial year.

I wholly support and endorse Scott for reelection to this seat. We are lucky to have him, and we will be blessed to have his continued support in the Legislature. Please, set aside partisan absurdity and support the only clear choice in the 98th District race. Cast your vote for Scott Cuddy.

Brian Kresge


Dedication to education

I first met Chip Curry nearly 10 years ago, volunteering together in Belfast’s local theater community. He was there not because of his passion for the stage, but because he saw a need and his instinct was to fill it.

Since then, I’ve encountered him countless times, because whenever an opportunity to serve Waldo County arises, Chip is almost always there.

As a young parent living and working in Searsport and Belfast, I’m impressed by Chip’s willingness to approach complex issues as a calm, clear communicator, as well as his instinct for hard work, talking about a problem long enough to solve it, but not being afraid to take the next steps to make solutions a reality.

Chip’s dedication to, and passion about, education for all ages benefits all Waldo County residents. I know and trust that my local school and its challenges and strengths will be at the forefront of his mind as Waldo County’s representative.

I support Chip and his vision for Maine, protecting our environmental interests by advocating for laws that protect Maine’s natural resources, and supporting stellar educational opportunities that serve all of its people.

Maggie Goscinski


A true Mainer

I am writing to support Duncan Milne of Liberty for state Senate from Waldo County. Duncan is an excellent choice with 25 years of service as a U.S Marine, retiring as a colonel. Duncan grew up in Maine along with his wife, Therese. He is a decorated Marine with experience in economic development, pandemic response, and public policy now as president of the Dixon Center for Military and Veteran Services.

Duncan is a highly qualified candidate so I need to speak out against a recent anti-Milne postcard sent to thousands of Waldo County voters. The mailer questions Duncan’s ability to serve Waldo County because he recently retired here. It is upsetting — especially during an election year — to see doubt cast upon a Maine veteran because he was away serving our country.

My late uncle, retired Lt. Cmdr. Fred Breslin, also served. He retired from the Naval Reserves after 22 years, moved his family back to Maine, and began a second career of public service as a city and town manager for Belfast and Searsport. Fred was “away” a long time, but when ready — he came home. I am grateful for the service of Fred, Duncan, and all of our honored veterans.

The anti-Milne postcard is wrong describing Duncan as “…someone who moved here from Virginia for political gain.” The truth is that Duncan was away serving our country.

Now that he’s home, Duncan offers us experience, compassion and commitment. A true Mainer, he’s ready to serve again. Duncan has my vote!

Jayne Crosby Giles


For the common good

Mainers are lucky this November, we have the chance to vote for someone running for U.S. Senate who truly represents people, not corporate profits. Lisa Savage, who is running as an independent, is a candidate who consistently speaks for the common good — she supports the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, and defunding the Pentagon.

She is clear where the money to rebuild our infrastructure, support our schools and pay for our health care should come from. She understands that the issues of racial justice and the climate crisis are paramount and that developing a sustainable green economy means more living-wage jobs for Mainers, and a way out of the deepening economic recession the pandemic has put us in.

It is time to bring the war dollars home, and Lisa is a tireless advocate for peace, and reframing our government's priorities in keeping with Maine people's priorities. She is clear about the importance of economic, racial and climate justice as essential parts of real national security. And she is not beholden to any corporate interests.

As a retired teacher of 25 years, Lisa Savage understands the critical importance of both child care and investing in our educational system, and the safety of our children and teachers in returning to school. And she is committed to resolving student debt.

The media is finally paying attention to Lisa, the most progressive voice in the race. She will participate in a debate with Susan Collins and Sara Gideon on Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. Watch it for yourself. And then utilize the unique opportunity that ranked choice voting offers us. Vote Lisa No. 1 for U.S. Senate, and your second choice to retire Susan Collins as No. 2. With RCV, whoever does not win, will get the other's votes! We cannot lose! Vote as if our democracy depends on it; because it does. Vote for People, Planet and Peace! (Check out Lisaformaine.org.)

Meredith Bruskin


Enthusiastically for Dodge

This November, we will both be enthusiastically voting to send Jan Dodge back to the State House to represent Belfast, Belmont, and Waldo for a second term. We first met Jan when she was campaigning for the House District 97 seat in 2018. She came to our door and spent a good half-hour answering our questions and sharing her goals and priorities.

We both have volunteered for years for Window Dressers. As a customer and a volunteer, Jan has also demonstrated her devotion to supporting local causes like this. Even after she was no longer a customer (customers are asked to help make inserts), Jan has donated food to feed our other volunteers for several years.

We are proud to know that Jan has a 100% voting record with the Maine Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters of Maine, the Maine People’s Alliance, and other organizations. She was successful in getting three of her own bills passed in this legislative session — quite a feat for a freshman legislator.

We have been impressed and pleased that whenever we have written to Jan about legislation we supported, she has replied promptly. And no one who has seen Jan’s exuberant use of exclamation points, can doubt her overall enthusiasm for her work!

Please join us in returning Democrat Jan Dodge to Augusta to represent us all for another two years.

Corliss and Rick Davis


Supports Magnan

I support Veronica Magnan as a candidate for Maine House District 131. Veronica Magnan has been supportive of legislative issues concerning adults with cognitive disabilities. She has supported NAMI initiatives and will continue to be concerned with issues supporting adults who need lifetime support and supervision.

Working adults with disabilities who work at meaningful jobs still need individual and community support for all their lives. She will be supportive of creative solutions to help each person live a full and productive life within their ability. I have known Veronica for a number of years and know she will be there for me and my family in Augusta.

These things matter to me because I am the mother of a special needs adult. I have volunteered for years with Special Olympics Maine and am aware of the issues these people face. They will have an ear in Augusta with Veronica. Please vote for her!

Betty Fraser

Stockton Springs

Aware of community issues

The only Waldo County Senate candidate that did not recently become a resident of the area is Chip Curry. This is just one of the important reasons that I'm supporting him. Having lived here for 25 years, he has a strong awareness of our community's issues to build viable solutions moving forward.

As an educator, Chip has already been a proven leader in bridging communication between the classroom environment and the Legislature in Augusta. He served on the Maine Legislative Taskforce on Quality Afterschool Programming, among other committees. He understands that a strong educational system is a necessary foundation for building a thriving economy and community.

Personally, I've chosen to live in Maine for its beautiful environment. Having lived here for 40 years, I've observed firsthand the changing face of Maine, as has Curry. Climate change presents real challenges for Maine in our farms, forests and fisheries. We need a legislator willing to meet these challenges with an open mind to renewable energy sources and reducing our environmental impact. Having a knowledge of the past and an eye to the future, I believe that Chip Curry is the best candidate for this position.

Bernice Nadler