I am grateful that my state representatives voted for the environment in the past legislative session.

The Maine Conservation Voters scorecard, available online at www.mainescorecard.org, reports the voting records of all legislators on environmental bills. There we all can easily track whether our representatives voted as we wished.

I hope voters look there to find out if their own representatives were environmental champions or not, especially if their representatives are seeking re-election this November.

In my district, Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess and Sen. Dick Woodbury both achieved 100 percent scores in 2012. I sincerely thank them for their leadership in a session that faced multiple efforts to roll back Maine’s environmental protections.

Woodbury is an independent, and Strang Burgess is a Republican. These legislators demonstrated that environmental protection is not a partisan issue.

Most Maine voters care strongly about protecting the environment. I hope that candidates in the coming cycle hear this message clearly from constituents.

In Cumberland, I hope to see more of the excellent representation Woodbury and Strang Burgess provided.

Strang Burgess is not running again, but Steve Moriarty would be a worthy successor. Woodbury’s fine environmental record shows that he deserves re-election.

Maine Conservation Voters will soon release endorsements of legislative candidates based on proven leadership from incumbents and questionnaires from new candidates.

Looking through the group’s endorsements is a great way to find out whether your candidate is likely to be an environmental champion.

Karen Herold


Working on solutions better than attacking opponents 

In 2000, when I was active in my town’s government, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to enroll in a series of five weekend seminars at different campuses of the University of Maine.

It was called the Municipal Leadership Program, a partnership of the Maine Municipal Association and the Muskie School of Public Service.

My year, it attracted about 30 people from all around the state. Some were selectmen and town managers, others were budget committee members, assessors and road commissioners. I hope that program is still functioning because it was extremely valuable training.

When I read in today’s news how appointed and elected people, both local and national, are speaking to each other, I am shocked how they are setting themselves up for battles! Some candidly announce their intention is to defeat their opponents, not to work together to seek solutions.

Is there any such thing nowadays as friendship across party lines? The way our elected people act, they sound more intent on ridiculing their opponents than serving their constituents. The time wasted in acrimony is maddening.

Margaret T. Hollingsworth


As American icon, Scouts have special moral obligation

In 1943, I proudly received my Eagle Scout badge from the Boy Scouts of America. Now, my conscience compels me to join Austin Smith (“Mainer returning his Boy Scout medal in protest,” Aug. 9) and many others in reluctantly returning my badge to the BSA to express my disgust with its discriminatory policies.

The Boy Scouts of America accepts for membership all boys except those in two groups that are unpopular in much of America: gays and nonbelievers in God.

Stigmatizing these groups clearly sends a message to its young members that only reinforces prejudices many already have.

The BSA also denies a religion badge to boys who are Unitarians because their church passed a resolution in 1992 opposing the discriminatory practices of the BSA.

Many Scouting associations around the world do not require their members to have specific religious beliefs.

In the United States, the Girl Scouts voted overwhelmingly in 1993 to allow its members to substitute another word or phrase for God in its oath, saying that the change was “a very strong statement that Girl Scouts … have strength in diversity and that we are an inclusive organization.” The Girl Scouts also permits lesbian girls to participate.

The BSA has no relationship with the Girl Scouts, but it has partnered with American Heritage Girls, a new organization formed by opponents of the nondiscriminatory policies of the Girl Scouts, with a “memorandum of mutual support (that) recognizes the common values and goals of both organizations.”

As a private organization, the BSA can do anything it wants, but as an American icon comparable to apple pie, it has a special moral obligation to teach the best American values.

These values include religious tolerance and recognizing the worth of all of us.

Meredith N. Springer


Obsession with abortion issue difficult to understand 

It is difficult to understand the obsession with abortion that is currently rampant in the political world.

It is not that these people are pro-life, for they show no concern about the life of women.

They do not seem to care about the sanctity of life, for they are not campaigning against capital punishment or against assault weapons in our communities.

I can only surmise that their concern is for the unfettered freedom of the male sperm to do what it will — with no responsibility for the result of its actions.

If a woman who is raped becomes pregnant and is told by the government that she is not allowed to have an abortion, will the government support and care for that baby after its birth?

And why is it that those who are most concerned about regulating women seem also to be the ones most concerned about letting business be unregulated?

It makes no sense to me.

If people cannot make sense about this issue, do we really want them running our government where the issues are so much more complex?

Sarah Smith