Maine families need Pine Tree Power

In November 2022, my family welcomed a beautiful new baby to the world. Since then, we have also been welcoming something less joyous every month — sky-high electric bills from Central Maine Power, peaking at over $700 for January with our electric heating. That’s with us keeping the thermostat low and bundling up indoors.

We live in a 200-year-old house with all the drafts and air leaks that entails, although we seal windows and doors as best we can. We’d love to fully upgrade the insulation, but even with the rebates offered by Efficiency Maine, the cost is just too high, especially for a family budget stretched thin by the costs of caring for a new baby.

We consider ourselves lucky to be a middle-class family in a time when that is becoming harder and harder to attain, and we can barely afford the cost of keeping ourselves warm in the winter. Imagine how hard things are for families with fewer resources. And of course, our whole town deals with multi-day outages with every winter storm.

Now CMP is asking the Public Utilities Commission to allow another rate hike! Maine families simply can’t afford to have CMP deliver our electricity any more. There is a solution to this problem, and it is putting our electric transmission into the hands of Maine ratepayers by voting yes for Pine Tree Power in November.

A consumer owned utility would be accountable to its owners – the ratepayers – and its purpose would be to deliver affordable, reliable electricity, rather than profits to wealthy investors who don’t care what happens to their customers. Maine families need Pine Tree Power, not ever-increasing bills from CMP.


Marianne McHugh-Westfall,

Backing the popular vote

The National Popular Vote (NPV) bill has given its official LD number: LD 1578. This bill has received bipartisan support, with Rep. Arthur Bell as the lead sponsor.The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would make every person’s vote equal throughout the U.S. It would ensure that every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election.I would like to urge you to support the proposal to elect the president by a national popular vote in all 50 states. When we vote for every other office, the candidate who gets the most votes wins. It should be the same for president. Please write your representative and senator and ask them to support this bill.

Francine Rondina,

Opening a use for our remains

I am writing to express my support for LD536, An Act to Provide Natural Organic Reduction (NOR) Facilities for Maine Residents for the Conversion of Human Remains to Soil. This bill would give Mainers new options for what happens to our bodies after death.

NOR is legal in six states and is a good option for those of us who are concerned about the environment. NOR has less of a negative impact on the earth than either burial or cremation. In fact, NOR actually improves the environment by turning our bodies into rich, healthy soil.

The science behind NOR is solid and well documented. I encourage anyone who cares about our great state of Maine to read more about NOR and urge your state legislators to vote in favor of bringing this to our state.Nancy Audet,Topsham

Bath hosting Our STEM City event to inspire studentsRecently I was pleased to moderate a panel of employers speaking to students at the Bath Career and Technical Center about their potential futures in numerous high-demand career fields. This event followed on the heels of Bath’s Our STEM City show, one of Maine’s largest science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exploratory events for mid coast students. It is great to see the growing student interest in these exciting, challenging, rewarding and high-wage jobs.According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM jobs are expected to increase 11 percent through 2031, compared to 4.9 percent for all other occupations.As students are learning through these career explorations, STEM careers are diverse and offer amazing opportunities for career advancement. Someone can start off as a lab assistant or IT technician and continue into positions as a scientist or engineer.Cultivating students’ interest and raising aspirations to pursue STEM careers right here in Maine needs to start early and continue to be nurtured throughout middle and high school. Two initiatives pending before the Legislature seek to do just that. One proposal supports a statewide STEM experiential program for students. Another proposal supports a mobile middle school STEM lab and targets use in more rural and underserved communities. It is my hope that policymakers will support these modest measures and be part of the catalyst for more Maine students to pursue STEM studies and careers. Doing so will help achieve Maine’s education attainment goal and fuel our future workforce.Jason Judd,Executive director of Educate Maine

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