On Election Day, the people of Maine have a unique opportunity to support the creation of a world- class resort, racetrack and slots facility in the city of Biddeford by voting yes on Question 2.

In this desperate economy, two companies with long histories in Maine, Ocean Properties and Scarborough Downs, have committed to investing $125 million right here in our state. Think about the vastness of that number. Opportunities like this do not pass our way every day, and we should give our wholehearted stamp of approval.

If Question 2 is approved, 800 pairs of boots will hit the ground in Biddeford as construction workers are hired to build this cutting-edge project. After it’s built, 500 permanent jobs will be realized. These are good jobs with benefits. The racino also will help preserve more than 1,000 jobs in harness racing and agriculture.

Biddeford residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of this proposal last year and will receive funds to help with downtown improvements and renovations to the high school.

And as the state Legislature ponders how to come up with $25 million in cuts to education and human services, here’s a project that will generate over $34 million annually to the state’s General Fund.

Biddeford Downs is a well conceived and well financed project that will create jobs, generate revenue and positively impact tourism. That’s why I’m voting yes on Question 2. I urge you to vote yes too.

Mike Sweeney

Cape Elizabeth

A “yes” vote on Question 2 will allow racinos to be built in Biddeford and in Washington County. Scarborough Downs will move its license and racing to Biddeford. Biddeford voters already approved it. Washington County is overwhelmingly in favor. Both areas are in desperate need of jobs.

The consequences of a “yes” vote are much broader. A “yes” vote means nearly $30 million more a year in new revenues for the state’s General Fund.

A “yes” vote will mean a windfall for a Fund for Healthy Maine and for Maine college scholarships. A “yes” vote will be a huge boost for all of Maine’s agricultural fairs. The same is true for Maine’s harness racing industry. The program for breeding and racing Standardbred horses in Maine will receive 3 percent of revenues and the regular racing purses will receive 10 percent. This boost will ensure the future of Maine’s Standardbred industry. It is the heart of Maine fairs and the catalyst for farming.

My farm in Gorham has been in my family for over 70 years. Its survival depends on the Standardbred industry. We have four full-time workers. We buy corn from Fryeburg, oats from Lincoln and straw from Presque Isle. We buy equipment and grain in Windham.

If Question 2 should fail, Scarborough Downs will be in grave jeopardy and its demise will signal the end of the commercial race industry in Maine. This will threaten my farm’s survival. For me, Question 2 is horses and farming … or house lots.

For all of Maine, Question 2 is about millions of dollars for causes across the state. For Washington County and the Biddeford area, it is about jobs in very needy regions of our state.

A “yes” vote on Question 2 is a winning vote for all of Maine.

Michael D. Andrew

Gorham

In 2003, more than 260,000 Maine voters marked “yes” to a referendum allowing racinos in Bangor and Scarborough. Gov. John Baldacci and the Maine Legislature extensively amended the law. They imposed stricter regulation and oversight, and raised the tax rate substantially. We are one of the highest taxed states of the 23 states that allow slots.

The Bangor racino has been a good neighbor in its hometown, as well as in the state of Maine. In addition to the taxes paid to the state, the racino contributes to the harness racing industry, as well as to all 26 agricultural fairs across the state. Promises were made by our industry and promises were kept by our industry.

Although the Bangor racino has been an overall positive experience for the city of Bangor, the town of Scarborough has declined to accept the opportunity. The city of Biddeford is eager to host Biddeford Downs. Mayor Joanne Twomey has worked tirelessly for years to bring these 800 construction and 500 permanent jobs home.

The same tax and regulatory rules will govern the Biddeford racino as those that exist for the Bangor racino. Tom Walsh of Ocean Properties and Sharon Terry of Scarborough Downs will build and run the $120 million dollar Biddeford racino.

The racino has proven to be a good deal for Maine in Bangor and the Biddeford racino will prove to be a good deal for Maine all over again.

Billy Childs

Race Me Stables

Westbrook

Back in 1988, my wife, Linda, and I bought a farm in Hollis where we breed and raise racehorses.

Our farm on Route 35 sits on 60 acres and fronts the Saco River.

Without income from the harness racing industry, we would not have been able to afford that land, which had already been approved for a subdivision.

Without the harness racing industry, those 60 beautiful acres would be filled with houses right now, instead of trees and pasture land.

I share this personal story because people need to understand the importance of harness racing, the impact it has on our communities, our beloved land and our way of life as Mainers.

Question 2 asks whether we will allow Scarborough Downs to relocate to a new racetrack and slots facility in Biddeford. It also would allow a racino in Washington County.

But it’s bigger than that. If we do not pass Question 2, the survival of the harness racing industry in Maine is in jeopardy. If Scarborough Downs goes away, so do all the jobs that go with it, from the hay growers down to the stablehands.

Without the industry, farms like ours never get saved. The hay and vegetables that farmers grow in their fields sprout over and over again. Houses only sprout once, and then that land is out of agricultural production for good.

If you look around your neighborhood, you will find horses. Every horse needs a barn and pasture, which continue to support open space, jobs and economic benefits to all of Maine.

If you value our agricultural resources and the state’s farming past, present and future, I urge you to vote yes on 2.

Don Marean

Lindon Farm

Hollis

Proponents of Question 2 won’t deliver on promises

The hype by “Casinos Yes” keeps heating up with promises of high-paying jobs to be created in the Biddeford area by a racino and a possible future casino. These are promises, not facts. Like most Election Day promises, they are just empty words we have all heard before, empty words that never come true.

Look at the reality of what jobs at racinos/casinos really pay. The website “PayScale.com” lists what “high-paying” jobs and the median salary and annual wage information our friends and neighbors can expect if the casino referendum passes.

Wages for employees who are paid on an hourly basis, who constitute a huge majority of gaming employees, range from a low of $7.06 per hour for gaming dealers, to $15.07 for hotel bartenders according to PayScale.

Salaried employees receive between $31,953 ($614.48 per week) for a casino host and $85,000 per year ($1,634.61 per week) for the food and beverage manager. There are a total of seven job titles shown for salaried employees. Of the other five, four earn between $40,000 and $50,000 and one less than $40,000.

The fact that these are median figures does not mean they reflect how much the actual wage rates will be if the referendum passes. Management will determine this by what prevailing rates are in this area for similar jobs.

According to the website, the pay range at Hollywood Slots in Bangor is from $3.75 plus tips to $12 an hour. There will be little variance in Biddeford.

Are these “high-paying jobs” the ones the casino crowd is touting to upgrade our local economy?

Vote a resounding “no” on Question 2 on Election Day.

Keep Maine the way life should be!

Daniel Dunitz

Saco