There is clearly a political problem in Washington. But it’s naive to think that a freshman senator with no party affiliation can fix it.

Despite Angus King’s remarkable personality, it seems unlikely that he would be able to rally moderate Democrats and Republicans to his cause and pass bipartisan legislation. Sitting senators are not likely to upset their constituents or sabotage their careers in order to end the partisanship on Capitol Hill.

Independent governors and mayors are very effective instruments of government. They are not beholden to the unions or the corporations. They are not beholden to a national party. And because they operate as chief executives, they can accomplish many of their goals without approval from anyone but the voters.

But legislators are not executives, they are part of a team. They can only vote “yes” or “no,” and without support from the majority, their efforts are wasted. Legislating as an independent is like playing baseball by yourself.

It would be a fine gesture of cooperation to elect an independent to the Senate. But Maine needs working senators, not ceremonial ones. Angus King is a very good man and was a very good governor. But the Senate will not be reformed by the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. The Senate needs moderates who can temper the extremism of their respective parties.

Austin Smith

Portland

I can’t think of anyone who was more excited about your upcoming campaign than I, Mr. King. After listening to years of bitter congressional debates between the extreme liberals and the extreme conservatives, I resigned myself to the fact that I, probably representing 70 percent of Americans, would never be heard.

Then you came along: a governor I supported from Day One, a person willing to listen to both sides of any issue, a man with integrity who wanted to help the normal, average citizen of the United States. Count me in hook, line and sinker. I am with you. I will vote, support and work for my kind of candidate.

Then you announced your support of the re-election of our president. This was made before you knew who the Republican candidate was, before you knew who the vice presidential candidates were and before you knew what the various party platforms contained. How can an independent candidate support anyone when he doesn’t know who’s running? I don’t know whom I’ll vote for, but it won’t be one who makes up his mind before learning all the facts.

Sallie Huot

Saco

Angus King running for the U.S. Senate? As I recall, he entered the governor’s office with a surplus in the coffers and left with the state in the red. How can he be considered qualified with that on his resume?

Anne Milton

Springvale

Single-payer system would cut Maine health care costs

How can this be? The total bill for health care in Maine is about $10 billion, most of it via private insurance, even when health insurance policies are publicly funded.

About one-third of that cost pays for markups over actual treatment costs. Most of those markups aren’t for profits and CEO salaries, but cover the cost of treatment denials. Insurance companies are already contesting the Obamacare rule that will allow a 25 percent markup over actual treatment costs. They want more.

How can we stop shipping $2 billion out of Maine every year for worthless treatment denials? By establishing a state-level single-payer health insurance system here in Maine, as Vermont is in the process of doing.

That big savings would result is beyond question. It’s proven by Medicare at the federal level, whose markup over actual treatment is about one-tenth that of private insurance.

The “invisible hand” of the free market pushes markups to 45 percent. Health insurers find it pays big to spend money denying treatment. They minimize their total cost by increasing denial costs till denial costs reach about one-third of total premium income.

Let’s quit being stupid. Let’s keep Maine money in Maine by going to single-payer health insurance in the state and cover everybody for less than the total we pay for health care now.

Tom Hagan

Boothbay

Reader concerned about state housing authority

I’m very disturbed with all of director Dale McCormick’s shenanigans over at the Maine State Housing Authority.

McCormick should resign today, and the Office of Program Evaluation & Government Accountability must immediately seize all of MSHA’s records for a complete investigation including those regarding advertising and carbon credits.

Why advertising? Since 1998, MSHA has spent $2,258,427 on marketing and advertising. At the same time, there are nearly 100,000 Maine households on a waiting list for housing and/or heating help.

Any Mainer understands the purpose of advertising is to create demand. Therefore, one could logically deduct that when there’s a waiting list, it means demand exceeds supply. So why spend $2.2 million to create more demand?

Now let’s move on to another subject that all Mainers discuss on a daily basis: carbon credits. Yes, McCormick entered into a deal with Chevrolet to sell carbon offset credits from the weatherization of Maine homes, but for some reason, she refuses to reveal to the MSHA board of commissioners the pricing details of the agreement.

Please don’t call me a skeptic, but I’d believe in the Tooth Fairy before believing that McCormick got the better end of this deal with Chevy.

Remember, this is same person who authorized spending $300 per square foot, three times the average cost, to build affordable housing for those 100,000 Mainers on that waiting list.

McCormick has got to go now!

Jim Carlton

Damariscotta

Risk assessment tool could reduce domestic violence

According to the state Attorney General’s Office, some 30,000 adults may be victims of domestic violence in Maine each year. Half of the murders in Maine are from domestic violence. While Maine’s murder rate is around 20 per year, literally thousands of domestic violence victims live in anticipation that they might be next.

Julia Colpitts is executive director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. “We do not need to feel hopeless,” said Colpitts. “While there’s no perfect cure or one thing that will end domestic violence, there are important incremental improvements that change outcomes substantially for the better and literally save lives.”

One possible incremental improvement proposed by Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, in L.D. 1711 is that we do a risk assessment of domestic violence perpetrators.

Which assessment tool to use is the question currently being discussed by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. One possible option is the Ontario Domestic Assault and Risk Assessment. With some revised language to modify its use in Maine, we could have a tool that is reported by research to be an accurate assessment of future risk.

Currently the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has elected to allow the police academy and those slated with providing training for current officers to come up with an assessment tool.

While I believe in their ability to find an appropriate tool, it seems that this may be an additional burden for corrections.

I am advocating for the Ontario Domestic Assault and Risk Assessment as the assessment tool of choice and am requesting that ODARA be specifically named in L.D. 1711 as it goes forward in the Legislature.

Anne Perschon

Rockport