Both Mike Michaud and Troy Jackson have admitted that their views on marriage equality and pro-choice have evolved over the years. I respect a person who has taken the time to research, listen and learn and then evolve in their views on social issues. Both of these men grew up in Catholic homes in a very conservative part of our state. Both have served their constituents well over the years.

Many of us had to evolve on these issues also. We took our cues from the generations we grew up with. As our world expanded and these issues were talked about and we read and learned more about the individuals whom these issues directly affected, our views also changed.

We realized that the people we associated with were gay or had loved ones who were gay. Their lives were just like ours: They worked, went to church, volunteered, mowed their lawns and loved their kids.

Our children’s world views are much more inclusive than ours. Being gay wasn’t something that was hidden anymore. So it became something that just is, not some deep, dark secret.

Being pro-choice doesn’t mean we are pro-abortion. It means we respect each other’s privacy and right to do what is right for them and their family. We are able to read, listen and learn why someone would choose to end a pregnancy. We accept that this was not a preferred method of contraception but a difficult deeply personal decision that we are not a part or a judge of.

There are many issues and reasons to change a view, but the willingness to learn and evolve shows great character and courage. I would be proud to have these individuals represent me.

Thank you, Mike and Troy, for your courage and dedication to the people of Maine!

Ellen D. Harris-Howard