I supported and voted for Susan Collins in 2002 and 2008. Since then, both of our political parties have become vastly more partisan and have demonstrated a remarkable deterioration in regard to integrity and trustworthiness.

Why this deterioration and partisanship have developed are subjects of much debate, and some possibilities include the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and the advent of social media. But such speculation is beyond the scope of this letter.

The purpose of this letter is to appeal to leaders of the Republican Party – a Republican Party that differs sharply from the Democratic Party in three critical areas.

The first is the Republican Party’s denial of the causes of climate change and subsequent support of policies that obstruct efforts implemented by local, state and international communities that would mitigate the effects of climate change. A stand is needed for our planet and for future generations by encouraging the party to support the return of the U.S. to the Paris climate accord.

The second is the Republican Party’s embrace of the values and rhetoric of the National Rifle Association and the subsequent inability for common-sense gun laws to be passed.

A stand is needed for our schoolchildren and other innocent citizens by working to repeal the Dickey Amendment (which effectively barred federal gun-violence research funding).

 The third is the Republican Party’s apparent lack of concern about Russian meddling in our elections and the subsequent inaction in regard to protecting the integrity of future elections. A stand is needed for our democratic process by supporting policies that will help reduce foreign influence in our elections for 2018 and beyond.

My three teenagers are amazed and dismayed that a political party that embraces climate change deniers, the NRA and Russia is in firm control of their future. They have many friends who share their dismay.

Joshua Gear