I’m looking at the picture of a man I know, his face so gaunt, his expression so haunted. The man is Bruce Gagnon, now in the 22nd day of his hunger strike in opposition to a $60 million tax break from the state of Maine for General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works.

What is it that haunts my friend? It is the feeling of hunger that he shares with families in Maine who do not have adequate food because the state of Maine has not budgeted enough tax money to feed them properly; it is the suffering and dying people of Maine who cannot afford to pay for health insurance as the state of Maine drags its heels on expanding the Medicaid program; it is the bloated bank account of General Dynamics’ CEO, whose annual compensation package totaled $21 million in 2016; it is the callous and greedy demand by General Dynamics and those legislators in Augusta who support General Dynamics’ demand so that those who build the “death ships” in Bath can keep their jobs; it is the refusal of that facility to build for peace – tugboats, wind energy towers, railroad cars, engines and tracks, ice-breaker ships, and Coast Guard and ferry vessels.

No workers at that facility in Bath need be without a job. Bruce, stay strong if you can – you suffer for all of us. To those who claim to represent us in the Maine Legislature, stop representing the billionaire weapons manufacturer and don’t give General Dynamics $60 million of our tax money. General Dynamics doesn’t need it – Mainers do!

Cathy Mink


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