I don’t know about you, but I expect my elected officials to be accountable to their constituents, people like me, not special interests. Maine has long been a leader in getting big money out of politics, with its landmark Clean Election referendum just over 10 years ago.

Clean Election has been under attack since that time by those threatened by its very existence. Unfortunately, the matching fund provisions of the Arizona Clean Election law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court negated part of Maine’s law. And during this legislative cycle, the Legislature was unable to find common ground in finding a way to provide funding for Maine Clean Election candidates running against privately funded candidates. Meaning that privately funded candidates can receive unlimited financial support, which can have very real effects on the outcome of elections.

I am always proud to “check yes” for Clean Election on my tax returns and donate $5 qualifying contributions to local candidates. I feel these candidates are more responsive to the needs of their constituents and districts and in touch with the challenges facing them because they are out in the field knocking on doors and talking to voters. It is the way things should be. Local representatives who know your name, how your family is doing and who are invested in their community.

As we move into this election year, I urge you to make sure that Clean Election and PAC reform are top priorities of the candidates seeking elected office in your district. Until we get big money out of politics, we’re never going to be able to get back to issues that really matter in our communities. We need elected officials who represent people, and the Clean Election system in Maine is an excellent example of that here in our home state.

Tracie Reed

Portland

Candidate Boyd Marley is ‘one of the good guys’

Do you have someone on your side fighting the good fight? I did when my neighbor Boyd Marley helped me out. He was an acquaintance, not a close friend. For a condo sale, I needed details filled in on a special form by a condo board member — Marley volunteered for that thankless role — and filled in fast. Not only did he do the work promptly, he also checked back later to be sure I had the results I needed. Yes, thanks to him.

Because he was my neighbor and had been thoughtful when he moved in (for example, a note explaining a carpenter would make noise for a few days), and because I learned he’d been a Maine state legislator and I was curious, I checked him out, as we all can do online now (www.boydmarley4county.WebStarts.com).

Yup, he’s one of the good guys, with productive, recognized service in the Legislature focusing on important issues, including transportation, education and the environment. I like it that he’s a high honors graduate of USM; that I often saw him walk over to his parents’ condo to check on them; that he is thoughtful and good with his kids; that he teaches children with special needs and has sustained that sensitive work for two decades; and that he has experience in state government, with a recent break from it to regain perspective. His learning curve in this new position will be fast, like the help he gave me when I needed it.

Most of us don’t have county commissioners as friends. But if Boyd Marley is elected to that job, we will: no favoritism, but service for the otherwise unconnected.

Vote for Boyd Marley for Cumberland County commissioner. The election is June 12.

Cynthia Baughman

Yarmouth

Story lacked insight into superintendent candidate

Dennis Hoey’s May 16 article “Forum introduces one finalist for Portland superintendent’s post” was a disservice to the superintendent finalist that it “profiled,” as well as to the people of Portland.

I attended the public Q&A with the candidate that Tuesday night, and I left with a clear sense of her leadership style, educational philosophy and vision for the Portland Public Schools. She answered such diverse questions as: “What should the relationship between private industry and public schools be?” and “How would you bring more people, and more diversity, to forums like this?”

She was asked to elaborate on her mantra of “closing the achievement gap” and how that would influence the allocation of resources; she was asked to explain how she would facilitate building relationships and why she thinks that building relationships is so fundamental to learning; she was asked about her experience with using multiple measures in teacher evaluation systems; and she was asked about data collection and analysis to document and track student achievement.

“Dr. V” gave thoughtful and substantive answers to each and every question. She was articulate, passionate and very knowledgeable. If I had not attended the forum and I had only read Dennis Hoey’s article, what I would know about “Dr. V” is that she comes from a large, diverse, urban school district in New Jersey; she wants to close the achievement gap; she thinks Portlanders are nice; and she really enjoys lobster. That was neither an informative nor professional characterization of the superintendent candidate finalist. The people involved in the superintendent search, the people of Portland and “Dr. V.” deserved better.

If another superintendent candidate finalist participates in a public Q&A, please write a thoughtful, professional and informative article about him or her. This is important.

Kelley McDaniel

Portland

Shedding light on origin of Sanford team name

On the origin of the Sanford Redskins (“Our View: Sanford right to dump offensive team name,” May 9): In the early 1940s, Norman “Red” McCann, sports editor of the Sanford Tribune, called the Sanford football teams “Redskins” because their football uniforms were red.

James Pickett

Portland