The Portland Press Herald published an article, “Coast Guard strains to update aging fleet,” on Aug. 22 that asserted that after $7 billion-plus spent, the Coast Guard only bought two ships. That’s inaccurate.

What did the public’s $7 billion investment buy over the past 10 years? In addition to two highly capable 418-foot National Security Cutters now patrolling the high seas, a third will be delivered next month, a fourth is being built and a contract award for the fifth is imminent.

We have two 154-foot Fast Response Cutters nearing completion and six more under construction, 12 new fixed-wing aircraft and three more on order, and new construction or upgrades to shore facilities that support the fleet.

We overhauled our 30- to 40-year-old fleet of 35 ships and 169 aircraft to sustain current operations.

We must be resolute stewards of the public’s investment. We have significantly strengthened our acquisition proficiency over the past 10 years with appropriate oversight from Congress.

Our growing record of acquisition successes reflects that reality. The plans to replace the Coast Guard’s aging fleet are on track, and remain necessary to preserve the nation’s maritime security and safety. as our motto, Semper Paratus (Always Ready), makes plain.

Adm. Bob Papp

Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

Washington, D.C.

 

Readers praise and pan Pingree and her work

 

I am very proud of Rep. Chellie Pingree for voting “no” on the Obama-Republican budget-cutting deal.

By her vote, Rep. Pingree voted for the interests of the people of Maine.

Budget bills can only be originated in the House of Representatives, and the Constitution was crafted this way because the Founding Fathers believed that our representatives, who are elected every two years, would be closer to the pulse of the citizens of their state than would be the senators (elections every six years).

We send our representatives to Congress to protect and vote for the interests of their constituents — in Chellie’s case, Maine’s 1st Congressional District. We expect our representative to take budget votes responsibly and with respect to those they represent.

The deplorable Obama-Republican budget-cutting bill next year will transfer the power of making budget cuts from our representatives to a “select congressional committee,” which this bill mandates to cut $1.4 trillion from the budget.

This Select Committee, coming from states other than Maine, will determine funding for Medicare, fisheries, Health and Human Services, transportation, police and safety, etc.

The Select Committee’s budget cuts are fixed, and can only be approved or disapproved as a package. Neither Rep. Pingree nor Rep. Michael Michaud will be able to work to protect Mainers from unreasonable budget cuts. The Obama-Republican bill only allows our representatives to express their disapproval.

I elected representatives to Congress over the last 45 years believing each would wisely debate and resolve budget matters.

I did not vote for those representatives to yield the House of Representatives’ constitutionally granted right of budget-making to a Select Committee.

Chellie Pingree voted for Maine and for the Constitution when she voted no on this bill, which takes the power of the budget from our own representatives.

Peter B. Hayward

Portland

 

As of the writing of this letter, no Republican has stepped forward to run against Donald Sussman for Maine’s 1st District congressional seat.

Like Dean Scontras, the Republican candidate who ran against Sussman in 2010, this new candidate will probably be an honest, hard-working individual with the best interests of Maine people at heart. Mr. Sussman will change that image.

By the time his big-money smear campaign has finished with this Republican, gullible voters won’t want anything to do with him or her. Just ask Scontras.

According to Down East Magazine, when polls just weeks before the election showed him closing rapidly, putting the incumbent in trouble, a decision was made to “go negative” – very negative.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were poured into anti-Scontras ads “calling him a right-wing ideologue and a threat to Social Security,” among other things. Negative ads were even played against Scontras on the Weather Channel! Within days, polls showed Scontras’ negatives rising. The magazine concluded, “Going Negative Works in Maine.”

There is no question but that Mr. Sussman knows what it takes to win, and he will be protecting his investment in the 1st District congressional seat with more negativity paid for by his Wall Street hedge fund cash.

“But,” you protest, “isn’t this Chellie Pingree’s seat?”

I’ll let you be the judge – but it certainly appears to me to have been purchased by her husband, the very rich Mr. Sussman. Check out the Federal Election Commission data if you have any doubts.

So the question remains, is there a Republican out there who wants to go head-to-head with Donald Sussman?

Earl Inman

Round Pond

 

Maine needs good workers, including in its government

 

I’m proud to be born and raised in Maine. Fresh out of high school, I left Maine to attend college, then graduate school, and then the world of work.

I always intended to return someday, and “someday” came a little over a year ago. I knew returning to Maine meant that I would be giving up potential earnings at a more lucrative job, but that was a sacrifice well worth it to me in order to live, in my opinion, a higher quality of life near my family.

Since my return, I secured a respectable job working in state government, and I fancy myself an asset to my profession. As contract negotiations are under way, I sincerely hope that the state and the Maine State Employees Association can come to an agreement that is fair before the current contract expires.

So, my advice to all parties: Keep in mind that just as Maine business needs to be competitive to attract the best and the brightest, so too does state government. Maine needs to be a desirable place for young people to stay, to work – and to return to if they have left.

Lynne Davis

Portland