In one of the most acrimonious political climates we have faced in many years, there is an issue that Maine people can come together to support: Question 2.

Passage of this bond will establish dental clinics throughout Maine, including one linked with a dental school. Those clinics will provide over 60,000 patient visits a year.

The school will train dentists from Maine for Maine, making it much more likely that we will begin to address the larger shortfall.

That is why the Catholic Church, along with AARP, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Dental Association and numerous health and consumer organizations throughout Maine have joined together to support this incredibly important bond.

Our coalition includes the strong support of every candidate for governor: Democrat, Republican and independent. The problem is clear: over 250,000 Mainers have no dentist.

Shortages exist in every county in Maine and impact citizens everywhere, especially those living in rural Maine, seniors and children.

Our interest is not just in those who currently are without a dentist, but also for the many citizens of Maine who are at risk of losing their provider.

Stories abound of private practice dentists throughout our state putting off retirement, trying to find someone to buy or take over their dental practices. In fact, 40 percent of Maine dentists are over 55 and many of them will likely retire in the next decade. That leaves Maine with an even larger problem just around the corner.

We understand that good oral health is directly linked to overall health. We also understand that untreated disease leaves thousands of Mainers in constant pain.

We have a moral obligation to meet the health needs of our community. Creating access to dental care is a critical part of that mission. I urge you to vote yes on bond Question 2.