As Saturday’s Republican caucuses approach, I think it’s important that Mainers know where Mitt Romney, the Republican front-runner, stands on the issues important to them.

Mitt Romney has made it clear he wants to return to the failed policies of the past that almost brought our nation crashing into a second Great Depression. Romney says that he was a job creator at Bain Capital, when in fact he was a corporate raider who lined his pockets by leading companies to bankruptcy, outsourcing jobs and destroying communities.

With that kind of record, it’s not hard to see how Massachusetts fell to 47th out of 50 in job creation with Mitt Romney at the helm as governor, or that Massachusetts lost manufacturing jobs at twice the national rate.

When it comes to restoring our economic security, the contrast between President Obama and Mitt Romney could not be clearer. Just look at the January jobs report released last week, showing that under the president’s policies, the economy has added private-sector jobs for the 23rd straight month for a total of more than 3.7 million jobs. Furthermore, the American auto industry and the more than 1.4 million jobs it supports were saved, and manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the 1990s. This chart illustrates the massive job loss threatening the economy as President Obama took office, showing that under his leadership, the private sector reversed its free-fall and begun creating jobs.

So while President Obama has spurred economic growth and helped American businesses create millions of jobs, Mitt Romney’s public and private sector job records have both been an abject failure.

This is where Mitt Romney really stands: His policies would be an absolute disaster for Maine’s seniors and working middle-class families.

Ben Grant

chairman, Maine Democratic Party

Augusta

An enemy is an enemy, even if he was born here

I am writing to applaud Doyle McManus’s article in today’s commentary section (Feb. 7). I like this selection titled “Who puts names on the ‘kill list’ for U.S. drone attacks?”, not because I agree with his opinion on how U.S.-born enemy combatants should be treated, but because it is informative and thought-provoking. After all, that’s what makes good journalism.

Now, what I think about it. We are at war with al-Qaida. No person in a sane state of mind can dispute that fact.

In the United States of America, no person is denied entry to our country based exclusively on where they were born. We also grant citizenship to people from all over the world as fast as the courts can operate.

Having said that, the enemy is the enemy regardless of where they were born. An enemy combatant has no protection under the U.S. Constitution, nor should they. So it’s perfectly OK that a drone eliminated an enemy combatant without some Herculean effort to ask him how he would feel about it, or if he felt his rights would be violated if such an attack did occur. Personally, I think we should all come home. I like kissing my daughters good night and saying good morning every day. I know I’m not alone.

Jason Kruger

Sanford

Higher Renewable Portfolio Standards are cost-effective

Recently a writer to your paper maintained that Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard unfairly forces higher costs onto ratepayers who don’t want to buy more sustainably produced power. At first pass, this sounds fair enough; after all, this is America. So, what’s the truth? Do Renewable Portfolio Standards increase rates?

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the five states that experienced the smallest rise in electric rates between 2000 and 2010 are Minnesota, Oregon, California, Texas and Iowa. These five states have the most installed PV and wind generation capacity in the country and all have Renewable Portfolio Standards. The five states that experienced the greatest rise in electric rates over the same period are South Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama. These states have the least installed PV and wind generation capacity in the country and none has a Renewable Portfolio Standard. (Brennan Lou, Dec. 15, 2011, renewableenergyworld.com)

The factors that drive electric rates are complex, but the comparison made above suggests ratepayers have little to fear from renewable energy. But is fossil-fuel produced power really cheaper than renewable power?

According to a recent report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences National Research Council, “Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use,” if electric bills reflected the true cost of power made available by burning coal, this fossil-fuel based power would be roughly twice its current price. The “hidden costs” include premature deaths due to air and water pollution, reduced agricultural production, adverse health impacts due to fuel-related emissions of mercury, soot and other pollutants, environmental damage due to fuel extraction and processing and current and looming costs of climate disruption.

Please vote for innovation, health and a brighter future. Support a higher Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Dudley Greeley

Cumberland

Maine pastor who supports gay marriage is out of step

The proponents of same-sex “marriage” found a poster boy preacher to support their cause. Unfortunately, the Rev. Michael Gray of the Old Orchard Beach United Methodist Church is a renegade. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church identifies the practice of homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching” and states: “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

The Rev. Gray is clearly out of step with the United Methodist Church. When he says, “my faith now informs me differently,” let it be clear that his “study, prayer and patience” have led him to embrace something different than historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity. Support for same-sex “marriage” by a renegade pastor ought to be exposed as clergy malpractice because that’s what it really is.

Sandy Williams

pastor, First Baptist Church of Freeport

Freeport


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