Make no mistake about it, homelessness in Maine is on the rise. Continued cuts to MaineCare and General Assistance programs mean only one thing: more people on the streets of our communities.

Here in Portland, the streets are exactly where people will end up; we simply don’t have room in our shelters for any more people. The overflow to the Oxford Street Shelter is overflowed; people are being housed overnight in the General Assistance waiting room in chairs. Because of fire codes, you can’t sleep in a waiting room, so you must just sit all night long.

More homeless people with nowhere to go doesn’t sound like a solution to ending homelessness to us. Our homeless will end up in our neighborhood doorways, emergency rooms, jails and, for those of us with a heart, in our conscience.

The current administration’s constant barrage of anti-poverty statements has only increased the separation of classes in our state. The “have nots” are being cast away with derogatory slurs. Maine is in a homeless state of emergency and we need our administration to help, not hinder the effort to end homelessness.

We ask all Mainers to take a step back from anti-poverty sentiment and work on solutions to today’s problems: the lack of affordable housing and livable wages, unemployment, food insecurity and the rise in people living in poverty. All of these problems lead to one thing: increased homelessness for our children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

Steve Huston

for Homeless Voices for Justice

Portland

Poliquin grabs savings from state, teacher retirees

In a recent television ad, Bruce Poliquin said in a talking point that one of his accomplishments was fixing the Maine State Retirement system to help balance the budget. What he didn’t say was that cost of living increases for state and teacher retirees would be frozen for the next three years.

The average retirement income is currently about $19,000 a year. If the cost of living increases at 4 percent a year (the old maximum yearly increase), a retiree would have 12 percent less buying power over the three-year period. Our average retiree would now have $16,720 of buying power.

This equates to balancing the budget on the backs of those on fixed incomes. On the other hand, Mr. Poliquin does not think that taxes should be raised on the rich. Those on fixed incomes need to sacrifice and nothing should be asked of the rich. This doesn’t equate to the philosophy of the person I want as my senator.

Lance Libby

Bowdoin

CMP should have bought transformer from U.S. firm

Considering the controversy with Central Maine Power’s massive transmission power project, it was deeply disappointing to read that the 285-ton transformer CMP recently received was built in Taiwan. Was there not a suitable company right here in the United States to which this job could have gone in order to keep our workers going?

There must have been a tremendous cost difference, even with the three-month boat trip the transformer had to take to get here. Well, I hope it lasts longer than the paper-thin shirts from Taiwan, China, Vietnam and some other foreign countries I’ve never heard of. Outsourcing has been the United States’ undoing, and it needs to be corrected.

How do we expect to create jobs in America if the large corporations keep outsourcing? Bring the jobs home and keep them home!

Stan Goldberg

Wells

President should work harder to cut spending

It is shameful that a president of the United States is devoting time to dividing the country in order to be re-elected this coming fall. Whatever happened to bringing people together for the common good?

It seems every week he comes out with another way to divide people, to please particular segments of our society in order to gain votes while diverting attention from the real issues. The national debt and the continuing out-of-control handout of “free stuff” are going to destroy our country.

Your children and mine will be living in a very different society. Yet the president will not talk about it other than to blame the previous president and those who have been fortunate enough to pay the bulk of taxes. He speaks of no plan to control spending and reduce the debt other than raising taxes on the so-called 1 percent, which alone cannot cure the problem.

It is difficult not be influenced by the rhetoric, the divisiveness and the “free stuff” that the government continues to hand out. But there is no such thing as “free stuff” — the government uses your money and mine to pay interest on the loans they get from another country to provide it. The principal never gets paid, it just adds to the debt. We have no money to pay for more spending.

Soon there will be no more “free stuff” for anyone, and our way of life will change drastically. And the United States will no longer be the most promising country the earth has ever known. We should seriously think about this at election time. It is far more important than any other issue the president is using to divide the country in order to be re-elected.

Roger Benoit

Wells

Snowe’s votes helped lead to gridlock she laments

I was prompted to write after reading Sen. Olympia Snowe’s May 21 letter disputing a Maine Voices column’s contentions about her record.

Point by point, the “moderate” senator defends herself against the “shocking” accusations made by the column author. She adamantly stands by the Republican votes she cast, and the votes she cast that served to cause gridlock in Congress — the very gridlock she laments as the reason she is now retiring, for it has made her weary.

It seems to this previous supporter of the senator that she wants her cake but can no longer eat it, too, and this is the real reason for retiring. Her message to Mainers is to let U.S. eat cake. Farewell, Sen. Snowe. Clearly, it’s time to go.

Paul Lewis

South Portland

Plowman would keep woman’s voice in Senate

I am speaking in support of Debra Plowman, who is seeking the seat of Olympia Snowe in the United States Senate. Let us honor Olympia by replacing her with another woman.

Olympia has shown us how much we need a woman’s voice in the Senate. Please give Debra your vote on the June 12 election.

Marie C. Brown

Falmouth