Thanks to school community

On behalf of the Camden-Rockport Elementary School community, we want to express deep gratitude to several businesses, churches, fire departments, individuals, medical offices, and organizations who have stepped forward and offered to support families throughout this holiday season. This year our CRES community has felt tremendous care and concern beginning with Thanksgiving celebrations and continuing through this holiday season.

From our hearts to yours we want to thank Hybrid Fitness, Pen Bay Surgery and Wound, Pen Bay Family Medicine, Pen Bay Infectious Disease, Dr. Robert Merrill and staff, Lindsey Clement and the CHRHS Field Hockey Team, ReMax Jaret and Cohn, Chief Farley and the Camden Fire Department, Chief Peasley and the Rockport Fire Department, Sally Fernald, Betty McFarland and the First Congregational Church of Camden, Debbie Milliken and Saint Brendan the Navigator Parish, Shannon Davis and the Salvation Army, Jody Dinsmore and Toys for Tots, the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund, Robin Spear and the PTA, Judy Clossey, Susan Taylor, Chris Tofani, Kitty Jones, John Morin, Scout Wrobel and Jaime Ravelli.

Thank you for your support and helping to make these holidays special for the children in our community.

Meghan Fitzpatrick

Kate Forand

Susan Conover

Chris Walker-Spencer

Sutton misses the point

Rep. Paula Sutton's letter to the editor Dec. 16 misses the point.

If she was in Augusta on Oct. 16, 2017, she would have seen person after person testifying on behalf of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). These were not lobbyists but voters who believe in Ranked Choice Voting. They are some of the 338,000 people who cast their vote to pass RCV in the second largest referendum win in Maine's history.

When the legislature voted to overturn the will of the people, by passing a law that delays and then repeals Ranked Choice Voting, which I take seriously, it told constituents that their vote didn't matter.

Disempowering voters is not the job of legislators. It will only result in fewer and fewer people going to the ballot box as it reinforces the narrative that their vote doesn't count. What is even more annoying is her perception that people don't know what they are voting on – a condescending attitude of “legislators know better.”

The voters put the legislators in office. We, the voters, know what we are doing when we elect legislators, and we are called upon regularly to vote on financial and political issues. That’s called democracy.

Most citizen’s initiatives are created when there is a lack of effective action in the Legislature on a matter that is critical to the citizens of Maine.

Ms. Sutton also doesn't have her facts straight. The Maine Supreme court did not declare Ranked Choice Voting unconstitutional. It issued a non-binding opinion that parts of RCV may be subject to a legal challenge. There is a world of difference between that opinion and an actual court ruling – something that has been greatly and conveniently overlooked by those opposed to Ranked Choice Voting.

Those opposed are primarily those who benefit from the current system that has us locked in to only two major parties that each have major problems. Ranked Choice Voting is simply a straightforward path to a more open, more civil, more democratic voting process for the citizens of Maine. That’s why it has the support of the majority of Maine voters.

Mike Shunney

Rockland

Assault on constitutional rights

On Jan. 3, the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee in Augusta will hear testimony on LD 1726, a seemingly innocent housekeeping bill from the Office of the Secretary of State, except for Section 13, which would ban collecting signatures on citizen initiative petitions at polling places. After legislative meddling in all four of the referenda passed by Maine voters in 2016, some of our legislators continue to take aim at the constitutional rights of Maine citizens, in this case by restricting their access to the very people who demonstrate concern for democracy by showing up to vote in the first place.

The secretary of state and some legislators insist that petition circulators are aggressive and disruptive. I find this argument about as valid as the unsubstantiated claims of “widespread voter fraud” by our current national administration. In my years of voting in Camden, I have never once observed unprofessional behavior on the part of signature collectors. In fact, it is the voter who must take the initiative to inquire at the circulators’ table. Local election officials already have the ability to control any deviations from accepted protocol; there is no need for this heavy-handed remedy.

It’s no secret that some of our legislators don’t like citizens to be involved in the democratic process in ways they perceive can threaten their power. Yet our state Constitution provides a check in the form of a “people’s veto” to address situations where the Legislature has failed to honor the will of the voters. One of the 2016 initiatives our Legislature voted to effectively delay and repeal was Ranked Choice Voting, which would have the ultimate effect of electing candidates supported by a majority of voters. They did not take this action until October of this year, making it even more challenging during winter months to gather signatures in time for the People’s Veto campaign currently under way to overturn the Legislature’s vote.

Mainers need to send a message to our legislators and the secretary of state that we will not tolerate infringement of our constitutional right to pass citizen initiatives. Please let your legislator know that Section 13 should be stricken from LD 1726, and if you have not yet signed the People’s Veto petition to restore Ranked Choice Voting, please contact me (mw070758@yahoo.com).

I volunteer for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting in Camden and would be happy to bring a petition for your signature.

Mary Winchell,

Team Captain,

Camden