In 1972, I registered as a Democrat and voted for the first time — for the late George McGovern.

The recent passing of that great Democrat brought back memories of the idealism and the excitement of those times. Now, I often wonder what has happened to that Democratic Party, as we seem to have lost the courage of our convictions.

In 2012, Maine Democrats have the opportunity to send Cynthia Dill — a young, aggressively progressive woman — to the U.S. Senate.

Instead, through some seeming telepathic group-think, we Democrats seem to have decided that the not-so-young Angus King, a right-leaning 1 percenter, is a better choice — not because of his stand on the issues, but because we telepathically agreed that he could beat Charlie Summers.

If we Democrats are serious about initiating the changes that will enable our nation to be the kind of society that we have always professed to want, then we need to have courage that our convictions are electable.

And we need to elect the candidate who most accurately reflects our collective values. For this old Democrat, that candidate is not Angus King. That candidate is Cynthia Dill.

I hope my fellow Democrats will consider casting their ballot for the candidate who we, as Democrats, would all prefer to have represent our state.

The “they can’t win” philosophy is a self-fulfilling one. Stop the trend of sending the same corporate party members to Congress year after year.

Democrats for Cynthia Dill in 2012.

John Squibb

Eastport

Ads’ lies unfair to Summers, a hardworking ‘class act’

Don’t believe the TV lies.

I know Charlie Summers. He is not the person depicted on all these negative TV ads. He is a great father and family man like a lot of us are. He is an honest, hardworking man from a small-business, middle-class family, a military veteran and a class act.

When we wanted to introduce Maine’s first-ever Gold Star Family license plate, Charlie helped immeasurably. It would not exist today without his help. He didn’t just support our annual tribute run for our fallen heroes, he ran in it multiple times, and not just in this election year.

He knows “our” problems and has solutions to help us. He particularly understands our veterans and our military community, having served himself in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I guarantee that he does not: walk with big business, sponsor legislation to ship jobs overseas, want to raise taxes on the middle class or support tax breaks for oil companies. Aren’t you tired of this TV propaganda and scare tactics? It’s just plain not true.

Charlie wants the best education possible for our children and has gone against his own party on women’s rights. He is not a tea party extremist or a 1 percenter. He will make a fantastic senator who will fight for “all” of us.

Please join me on Nov. 6 and cast your vote for a man who genuinely cares about our state and our country: Charlie Summers.

John Mixon

president, Run for the Fallen Maine

commander, American Legion Post 143

Ogunquit

Ex-Cabinet member cites King’s passion, capability

I served as commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Angus King during his first term — an experience that surpassed my highest ideals of nonpartisan public service.

An independent when the state Senate was Republican and the state House, Democratic, Angus forged win-win legislative solutions based on what was best for Maine, not politics. His achievements included cleaner air throughout the Northeast, reductions in mercury pollution through an accord with Canada, and elimination of the threat of dioxin pollution from paper companies.

Gov. King was passionate about promoting Maine’s economy and achieved results. Under his leadership, I worked with fellow commissioners to lure the computer chip manufacturer National Semiconductor to South Portland. Winning the competition against other states and countries, we issued permits in record time for a facility that would be a national model in stringent environmental standards.

The governor also recognized that small businesses were the key to creating jobs in Maine, promoting their unprecedented success and growth.

I hope Mainers will think about this record as they consider who is most qualified and capable to succeed Olympia Snowe in the U.S. Senate — a once-venerable institution in crisis.

Breaking the stalemates in Washington will require someone who can make a splash: I recall when Angus jumped in the Kennebec fully clothed to celebrate passage of his dioxin bill.

It will require someone who puts the people first — as he did when he tirelessly traveled the state during the Great Ice Storm of 1998.

And it calls for a leader with courage — Gov. King on the bridge of the Coast Guard ship overseeing the cleanup of the Julie N oil spill in Casco Bay in 1996.

Ned Sullivan

Red Hook, N.Y.

Count on Charlie Summers to act in Maine’s interests

Charlie Summers is a man of conviction and integrity. I think that is a fresh breath of air when it comes to politicians.

Charlie does not have a history or evidence of any political chicanery that might give pause to his eligibility to serve in the U.S. Senate. He enjoys doing work that’s worth doing, and wants to make a difference in the lives of Mainers.

Charlie understands that small businesses are the engine of Maine. Charlie understands that we need a responsible government. He has worked for years to serve the people of this country and the people of Maine.

Whether it be serving in combat overseas to preserve the freedom that we enjoy every day, or giving the small-business community a voice as the Small Business Administrator for New England, you can count on Charlie to have the interests of Maine and the American people in mind when he is in the U.S. Senate.

Tim McGonagle

South Portland

Dill the only candidate who won’t compromise on energy

The E2Tech senatorial energy debate at the University of Southern Maine was a chance to gain a sense of our candidates’ abilities as leaders in a time when energy, climate change, and Maine’s future are inextricably linked. In my view, Cynthia Dill is the only candidate willing to make honest decisions today, so that Maine will have a strong future tomorrow.

Dill’s ability to express truth was conveyed through answers that were science-based and did not cater to fear. She openly spoke up against the XL pipeline, pointing out its environmental and economical risks. She also reminded us of the dangers involved in hydrofracking.

She was the only candidate who wasn’t willing to compromise her views using the idiom of a “fragile economy” to negotiate away the importance of our water, our air and our health.

Though Angus King was not a blatant proponent of the XL pipeline, he seemed more concerned with the economic gain than the risks. He also calls natural gas “America’s second chance,” without acknowledging the existing dangers. Natural gas hydrofracking and tar sand extraction and transport are dangerous Band-Aids and must be labeled as such.

Charlie Summers appeared out of touch and disrespectful of science and history. He stated that there was “no clear evidence” why we shouldn’t use nuclear energy, denied human impact on climate change, deemed the pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge necessary, and voiced his support for oil subsidies.

Of the candidates, Dill won me over with her genuine respect for truth and the courage to use a voice unfettered by fear. She will help pave the way for all of us to have a promising future. It is what true leadership looks like.

River Payne

Hollis

King has leadership skills to make a difference in D.C.

Despite an election season fueled by millions of dollars spent by out-of-state interests designed to distort, distract and deceive, I am confident that Angus King’s optimistic vision for prosperity in Maine will win the day. We should send to Karl Rove and his band of tricksters a message: That is not how we do it in Maine.

Maine is a place where good ideas triumph over partisan ideology. We are the state of Mitchell and Muskie, Smith and Snowe. Successful Maine leaders appeal to what is best in us, not the worst. Angus King exemplifies that better angel of our nature, and we need his leadership in Washington.

While the super PACs squander their millions manufacturing problems, Mainers and indeed the country face very real and serious issues. Maine has lost thousands of jobs in the great recession; the number of Mainers without health coverage is exploding; the fiscal cliff of sequestration looms, threatening jobs at BIW and Pratt & Whitney; and Medicare recipients are facing untenable cuts. While the super PACs play the fiddle of fear, Mainers and our countrymen face the fire of real problems. We need real leadership, not political rhetoric.

Under the leadership of King, Maine’s economy boomed. We lowered the income, sales and property tax; increased access to health care; invested in R&D and the Land for Maine’s Future program; doubled school funding; and restored prudent financial practices.

Rather than siding with one party or the other, Angus King sought good ideas and common ground. When we worked together, Maine moved forward, and as a result, we enjoyed one of the longest and greatest periods of growth and prosperity in Maine history. That is the kind of leadership we need in Washington.

Michael Saxl

Portland