President Obama is the first of either party to self-initiate a trade case against China and its lawless trade policies.

This is the way forward! The president self-initiating a trade case allows us to fight for our manufacturing jobs here in the United States before they are shipped overseas. Make no mistake, we are in a war to keep good-paying manufacturing jobs here in America!

The Obama administration has been aggressively pushing the World Trade Organization to hold China accountable for violating trade laws on auto manufacturing; all the while Mitt Romney has been making millions on selling our job overseas.

President Obama’s work has resulted in real job opportunities for us here in Maine as he fought China on coated free sheet paper, saving jobs in Westbrook, Rumford, Jay, Madison, Skowhegan, Bucksport, Old Town and Baileyville and across New England.

I believe that President Obama’s work on self-initiating the trade case on auto parts manufacturing will help us fight to keep our manufacturing jobs here in the United States — jobs like those at Parker Hannifin Corp. in Portland, Masters Machine in Round Pond, Sappi Paper in Westbrook, Formed Fiber in Auburn, Somic America in Brewer and all the machine shops across Maine.

I believe one of the most critical questions that Americans need to ask themselves is: Who stands to make millions, maybe billions, of dollars on shipping our jobs overseas — Obama or Romney?

Bruce Bryant

Dixfield

Parents’ efforts advanced fight for marriage rights

In a photo from almost 10 years ago, my parents are standing with members of their Massachusetts church, bundled up against the cold, holding signs, braving the weather to speak out for same-sex marriage in 2003.

My father, a clergyman in his 80s, and my mother, in her 70s, always followed their faith and their convictions to tackle issues of social justice and civil rights, from fighting racism and homelessness to promoting elder care and defending women’s rights, to same-sex marriage.

I am humbled by their example of actively following their moral compass, seeking to make the world a better place for all, through compassion, freedom and justice.

They taught me what it means to be a good person in this world, to treat everyone with dignity and respect despite our differences.

As their gay son, I am especially grateful for the strength of their love and support.

What has changed since that picture was taken?

Same-sex couples can legally marry in Massachusetts, living peaceably among the state’s population.

Many of those couples are already planning 10-year wedding anniversaries.  

Other New England states have followed suit.  

And almost a decade later, Maine is being asked to extend that same freedom to its citizens.

Since then, too, my father has died, and I am losing my mother to dementia.

They can no longer advocate for the freedom to marry, and I’m saddened they have missed the chance to see me wed my partner, Tom, who all but legally has been part of their loving family for 20 years.

When we do gain that freedom here in Maine (and beyond), it will be thanks to people like my parents: people who envision a good world of peace, truth, justice and freedom, and who take action to make it happen.

Please join them and vote “yes” on Question 1.

John Adams

Nobleboro 

Constitutional officers fail to keep an eye on their jobs 

The time has come to review how Maine constitutional officers are chosen.

Typically, the constitutional offices are handed out to losing candidates of the political party that holds the majority in the Legislature. After being awarded with these positions, they immediately start pursuing election to another office.

The citizens of Maine should elect the state treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state by popular vote. The time has come to do away with treating these positions as political plum jobs for the party in power. The citizens of Maine are very capable of electing the constitutional officers and will expect them to be on the job; if not, they will not get re-elected.

This year, all three Republican constitutional officers ran in the primary for Sen. Olympia Snowe’s seat. Thank goodness, we have qualified state employees running these offices while the three candidates were away from their jobs. Talk about a waste of taxpayer dollars.

David H. “Davy” Crockett

Augusta

Who has the authority to redefine ‘marriage’?

Marriage, the union of a man and a woman, has existed for quite a long time before the founding of the USA.

In the debate within this country over whether the definition of marriage can be changed, I have not yet seen a thorough answer to the following question: Who has, or which institutions have, the authority to change the definition of marriage and where does this authority come from?

Certainly state legislatures have constitutional and other authority to develop and define contractual relationships (e.g., civil unions). These legislatures have the authority to attach benefits and responsibilities to any specific contractual relationship (e.g., to declare that within a state all benefits and responsibilities attached to a “marriage” also shall attach to a “civil union”).

Congress also can attach benefits and responsibilities to relationships, so it could, if the members wished, direct that the benefits and responsibilities attached to “marriage” also apply to any “civil union” authorized by a state that chose to develop and define such a relationship.

What is not clear to me is what authority Congress, state legislatures, the federal or state judiciary, or the people generally have to change the definition of marriage from the union of a man and a woman to some other union and where that authority comes from. It would seem to me that if such authority exists, someone should be able to explain who has that authority, what the authority is and whence it comes.

Perhaps a team of attorneys or constitutional lawyers who intend to “vote ‘yes’ on 1” could prepare a guest column explaining such authority for readers of this newspaper.

Michael McCabe

Whiting

Story on 1947 Maine fires brings back vivid memories

The article in the Sunday Telegram about the great fires of 1947 was very interesting (“The week that Maine burned,” Oct. 7).

The author, however, stated that there were no fatalities. In fact, at least according to the book “Wildfire Loose: The Week Maine Burned,” by Joyce Butler, 15 people died, including Albert Smith of Newfield and his poor horse, Jim, as they tried to flee the fire.

This has always been a fascinating subject to me. My first real memory is of my mother holding me up in the door of our house in Windham and watching the sky as it glowed red from the fires in the distance. Her sister’s family was evacuated from South Berwick twice as the fires swept closer to them and then receded.

For years afterward, the road we took to South Berwick was a completely burned wasteland on both sides.

It was good to see coverage on this almost forgotten chapter of Maine’s history, which I fear may be completely unknown to many people today.

Julianne Moore

Windham