I would like to express my support of the DREAM Act becoming a reality for immigrant youths in Maine.

Polling shows that between 60 percent and 70 percent of the public support this act, and both Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have supported the DREAM Act in the past.

Undocumented youths who arrive in the United States before the age of 16 have no other country to call home and through this act are required to graduate from high school, have good moral character and complete two years of college or military service before achieving citizenship.

These youths are a valuable contribution to our communities and to a more just society. To make citizenship inaccessible to these youths who have done everything in their power to lead productive and fulfilling lives seems to be incredibly unfair.

Michelle Leier

Cape Elizabeth

Before this lame duck session is over, the Dream Act is coming to a vote. I am writing to express my utmost support and wish that the act would be publicized in The Press Herald.

This act will give the opportunities that undocumented youths strive for when they come to the country. In the past there has been a vast majority of support, and Sens. Snowe and Collins are, as usual, crucial votes.

They have both supported this in the past, so the chances are fair that they may support it again, but “chances” and “may” are not good enough. There must be a recognition of this issue in the press, and I hope that this paper will be the first.

Ryan Nash

Portland

I believe it is incredibly important for Sens. Snowe and Collins to realize the institution of the American Dream that so many of our own ancestors worked very hard for when they first immigrated to this country.

We need their support for the DREAM ACT because immigrants today have those same dreams as our ancestors, of being able to make their mark in the world.

Right now our country is not recognizing their hard work, thirst for excellent education and love for America. Every immigrant should be given the chance to achieve the American Dream through gaining an education, working in our society and contributing to our communities while making a better life for themselves.

Michol Lynne Merrill

Portland

Earmarks are vital to help Midcoast industries grow

A Portland Press Herald article on Dec. 1 discussed a recent U.S. Senate vote to legislate a three-year moratorium on congressionally initiated funding actions, more commonly known as “earmarks.”

Clearly, action must be taken to reduce the federal deficit. However, there is also a need to ensure adequate funding for national security in a dangerous and unpredictable world.

If enacted, the legislation would have sharply restricted the Senate’s ability to meaningfully shape defense policies and priorities. I commend Sen. Susan Collins for her vote to oppose this legislation.

In previous years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the Senate has acted to address shortfalls or inefficiencies in Pentagon-submitted defense budgets, including Navy shipbuilding.

Those actions have helped our Navy retain its technological edge and ensure an adequate number of ships to do its job. Past actions to increase the rate at which ships have been purchased have contributed to lower overall cost by enabling greater production efficiencies realized by building multiple ships.

Because of these decisions, there have been positive economic impacts in Bath and throughout Maine where many small businesses, communities and families benefit from shipbuilding at BIW.

This is not only about shipbuilding, however. In recent years the Senate has funded defense systems such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles that saved the lives of U.S. servicemen and women and helped to preserve our national security.

In both cases, the Senate acted before the Pentagon proposed funds to field those systems.

For these reasons, I thank Sen. Collins for opposing a politically popular amendment that could have long-lasting, counterproductive consequences for national defense.

Jeffrey S. Geiger

President, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

Bath

On behalf of the board of trustees of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, I want to commend Sen. Collins for her recent vote against a sweeping amendment that would have not only placed a binding three-year prohibition on congressional earmarks, but also would have eliminated funding next year for important Maine projects already approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

One of these projects includes funding for a small business incubator and technology innovation center at Brunswick Landing, which represents a significant opportunity for job creation at the redeveloping the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

The federal decision to close BNAS has had a dramatic impact on the Maine economy. The employment decline and related economic dislocations associated with the base closure, combined with the general malaise of the state and national economy, has profoundly affected families, businesses and communities in the Midcoast region and throughout Maine.

Projects such as the technology innovation center represent a “light at the end of the tunnel” for future job creation opportunities at BNAS, which are critical to Maine’s and the nation’s economic recovery.

Sen. Collins has once again demonstrated solid leadership in Congress in support of Maine’s businesses and families.

Steven H. Levesque

Executive Director, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority

Brunswick

Maine is blessed to have David Warren as native son

In this season of hope and renewal, I re-affirm my friendship, respect and support of David Warren, who is former managing partner at Verrill Dana.

David has devoted his life to Maine through his work and, importantly, his volunteerism and philanthropy. His family is his pride and joy.

Having worked side-by-side on many boards and other volunteer activities with David, I have come to know him as a man of deep integrity, strongly held values and a work ethic second to none.

Let those who would criticize please take a look at his total life. Maine is blessed to have him as a native son.

Meg Baxter

Cape Elizabeth