For Matt Mattingly (“Letter to the editor: November’s ballot initiatives bad business for Maine,” June 27), this fall’s ballot questions go against “the independent nature of what it means to be a Mainer.” He believes what makes Mainers “different, unique and amazing” is threatened by these questions.

While I agree with his characterization of Mainers, I believe the ballot questions actually align extremely well with the Maine values that he fears will be undermined.

For example, ranked-choice voting honors independent-minded Maine voters by encouraging them to support their preferred candidate without worrying about casting a “throw-away” vote. If their preferred choice is eliminated after the first round of counting, their opinion will still have an impact if they ranked the other candidates on the ballot.

Furthermore, while Mainers certainly are “different, unique and amazing,” those characteristics alone don’t put food on the table, gas in the car or pay for housing.

Increasing the minimum wage will provide some desperately needed relief to working Mainers who are struggling to meet their basic needs. If more Mainers can meet their basic needs, then they will be better able to make unique and amazing contributions to our state.

And finally, if Mr. Mattingly believes that “Mainers have striking resilience, immeasurable ingenuity and an unparalleled persistence to make our own mark in life,” then I assume he feels we must foster the development of these traits in our children.

Contrary to his beliefs, the school funding ballot question is not about punishing success; it’s about helping to relieve students from the punishing effects of poverty on learning.

Almost half of our students live in poverty, and if we want them to make their own mark in life in the future, then we need to provide our schools with the resources needed to help our students thrive in school today.

Tom Walsh