I sometimes feel like, as a political science major at the University of Maine at Farmington, it is a real lousy time to get into politics. For the past couple years, our government, both at national and state levels, has been inflicted with a bitterly partisan atmosphere that has done more harm than good.

In my opinion, politicians who are uncompromisingly partisan should be ashamed of themselves. It is childish to even consider the notion that one won’t even consider a proposal because it was brought up by the other side.

It is not conducive to efficient business, and only hurts the country and its people. It is the height of ignorance, and damning to the future generations who will eventually have to deal with these problems.

Our checks and balances system of governance is set up in a way that requires cooperation and that dreaded c-word: “compromise.” I believe the shining light at the end of the tunnel is a candidate who actively supports compromise, and that man is Angus King. As an independent, he is not a slave to the ideology of one party, nor is he bound to be a rank-and-file member of one voting bloc or another in the Senate.

My generation is the future of America, and we will be cheated of a rich future if we are plagued with the problems put off today because the two sides of Congress cannot give and take. They are there to represent the American people to the best of their ability, so represent us!

America is not of one view or another; we must come together and solve the problems of today for the prosperity of tomorrow. Angus King will work across the aisle to get things done. Hey, what a concept!

Tyler Hadyniak


Do thinking Mainers want to follow a leader, or follow a political party? We know where either the Democrats or the Republicans would like to take us, which many find uncomfortable.

The ideological struggle over the size of government and its role in our lives so far has gotten us nowhere. Without heading somewhere, our nation has fallen behind competitively (read jobs and income) and financially (read deficits and debt).

Nearly everyone knows that our course is untenable, with several European countries standing as lucid examples. Yet, no one is willing to give up anything to solve the problems; everything has become a virtual entitlement! The pandering continues, though we all know it will be impossible for any administration to fulfill all it promises to accomplish.

We can follow a proven leader by electing Angus King to replace the retiring Olympia Snowe in the U.S. Senate.

As a declared independent who is not a career politician, he won’t have to play the same game of winners and losers that fills television time with talking heads trying to outdo each other.

He can approach national issues factually, with the same open-minded research and reason that made him a highly popular governor in the 1990s.

Angus is a proven thoughtful leader, in business and government. As someone said recently, “Leaders don’t follow polls; they change polls.” He already has changed Maine polls, which reveal strong voter discontent with both established parties.

Barry Quinn


I support Angus King for the United States Senate.

The U.S. Congress is dysfunctional; the people’s business is not being done. The ideological divide is as big as ever. Some quarters use fear as a way to get attention.

We are at a critical juncture in our history. We teach our children to be problem solvers. It is time to solve this problem. At least let’s try to make a start.

The larger concern is the need to cut spending and raise revenue. There is a way to do it, a means to break the logjam. That path is through a core group of moderates in the U.S. Senate, leaders who have the vision — and the courage — to right the ship.

Angus King is the perfect fit to be one of these leaders. He is a dealer in hope. He has experience. He has been a governor. He has been a businessman. He knows how to bring people together. And he knows how to solve problems. Who better than Angus King to send to Washington? Let Maine lead the nation. Let Maine state resoundingly that it expects results.

David Humphrey


Loud lobbyists drown out our small voices

America is a very special and amazing place. Every four years, we peacefully elect a new president. That is quite an impressive accomplishment, when you look around the world and see how often violence and mass murder is part of who comes to power in a country.

Unfortunately, we seem to have lost much of our original idea of government by the people, for the people. Somewhere along our democratic path, special interest groups and lobbyists started to be the voice of the people.

Government has lost its ability to listen to the small voice of the people, hearing only the loud shouting of the lobbyists. Special interests run elections, decide what’s best for me and my country and spend a lot of my tax dollars.

Look at me, for example: I’m a Mainer, a woman, a nurse and a college professor. That’s at least four loud special interest groups fighting for what they think is best for me, fiercely battling each other for my tax dollar. We won’t even discuss that I am of Italian descent, have children, a dog and drive a car. That would be eight special interest groups.

This system is like a person with multiple personalities, each fighting to be heard. No wonder nothing gets done!

Excuse me for mixing church and state here, but I think Jesus (the government of the people) needs to flip some money-changers’ (special interest groups) tables and throw them out of the church (Washington).

Here’s an idea: Let me keep my dollar and just ask me what I think is best. Please, though, don’t call at dinnertime.

Ruth Smillie

Steep Falls

Ruling on cross-state pollution hurts Maine

I am writing in response to an article printed in this paper on Aug. 21, “Mainers see EPA court ruling as a ‘tremendous setback.’ “

While Maine might be doing what’s necessary to keep our air clean, air pollution doesn’t stop at state lines, unfortunately. Every day, dangerous air pollution, like soot and ozone, travels hundreds of miles downwind from neighboring states and compromises the health of Maine families.

As a result, Maine has some of the poorest air quality in the country and some of the highest rates of childhood asthma.

That’s why it’s so unfortunate that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s cross-state air pollution rule. Known as the Good Neighbor Standard, the rule sought to limit the amount of dangerous air pollution carried across state lines.

Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins joined senators from every other New England state in supporting the cross-state air pollution rule. They understand that New England’s air is greatly affected by upwind power plant pollution.

The EPA estimates that the cross-state air pollution rule would have saved thousands of lives, improved air quality for more than 75 percent of Americans in 2014 alone, and provided vital clean air protections for millions of Americans, by preventing states from allowing dangerous pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which are linked to heart and respiratory illnesses, to enter downwind states. This would have saved up to 34,000 lives each year and prevented 15,000 heart attacks and 400,000 asthma attacks each year.

The EPA should appeal this decision. The Clean Air Act clearly provides the EPA authority to address this dangerous pollution. A higher court should overturn this dangerous decision that puts the health of more than 75 percent of Americans at risk.

Kathy Remmel


LePage’s ‘secret plan’ an abuse of his office

I can only assume that the “secret plan” Gov. LePage proposed to submit to a special session of the Legislature is no longer a secret.

According to a recent expose in the Portland Press Herald, LePage and his education commissioner, Stephen Bowen, “have outsourced Maine’s digital education policy development to those who stand to make a profit from it” (“The profit motive behind virtual schools in Maine,” Sept. 2).

Our “leader” proposed to “follow” the example of other Republican-led states but declined to divulge any details of his mysterious plan. Even as he spoke, his attorney general “was reviewing whether I’m doing it right.”

Translation: “Do I need a simple majority or two-thirds vote to railroad my ‘secret plan’ through the Legislature and ram it down the throats of Maine citizens?”

LePage was confident that his fellow Republicans would approve his plan, sight unseen. He made it clear that he extended his arrogant vow to tell President Obama “to go to hell” to include all Democrats.

In the past I have found LePage’s coarse language and questionable decisions merely troubling, but I view this blatant attempt at secrecy and his exclusion of any public input to his “secret plan” as an intolerable abuse of the office of governor. I am extremely apprehensive about the direction LePage is taking our state.

In the lead to his column of Aug. 17 (“Political differences hinge on scope of federal power”), M.D. Harmon quoted John Basil Barnhill: “Where the people fear the government, you have tyranny, where the government fears the people, you have liberty.”

I am truly fearful of LePage’s erratic, at times irrational behavior. We are indeed governed by a “tyrant” who has no respect for the rights of all Maine citizens. To paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, my fervent hope is that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the state of Maine.”

Sam Kamin