At last, she gets it!
I would like to compliment Shay Stewart-Bouley on her recent column, “Pride of Maine” (March 7).

I have often bitten my tongue and not responded to earlier columns that I found denigrating to Mainers. I am not a so called “real” Mainer either, having moved here in 1980. However, she and I are equally justified in calling ourselves Mainers.

I had lived all over the country and the world, settling in Maine for two reasons, one of which is its geographical beauty yet accessibility to Boston, New York, Montreal, etc. The other is I found Mainers to be “at one with themselves,” for the most part, not jealous of or condescending to others. This is rare in our country’s normal suit versus plaid-shirt, towncar versus pickup, ethnic, racial, political, and so on generalizations and alienations.

I must add though, if I was born black, I would most likely be dead or in jail as I cannot stand discrimination or selective authority.

Easy for me to say ... I admire her graceful perseverance.

John R. Butts
Scarborough

Hoping for Collins
I am writing you to compliment Deirdre Fulton's well written piece in the Portland Phoenix regarding the race to take the spot held by Susan Collins (see "The Outsiders," March 7). Nice job. I particularly want to comment on the brief part discussing Tom Allen. Allen was running for the first time when I came to Maine and of course I had never heard of him or his opponent but I learned a lot during a debate on television. Labor unions from all over the country had dumped tons of money supporting Allen as they were upset as to how defined-benefit pension plans worked and they took the incorrect position on explaining these plans, as did Allen. The Democrats were charging in to win one more seat in the House of Representatives. Allen was asked not to take the union money and he was quoted as saying he could not stop them! Imagine what he will say about the MoveOn.org money coming here!

When defined-benefit plans have been over-funded, the excess funds are returned to the corporations at no loss to the employees. If the plans are underfunded, then the corporations must put in more money. The unions and Allen claimed the return of the funds was stealing money from the employees. This came up and his opponent, Jim Longley Jr., discussed with Tom how no money was taken from the employees to reduce the amount of their pension plan. Allen immediately said he stood on what he said! From that point on I never trusted him and as time went on in almost all that he did whenever he spoke or wrote a piece he would use the famous two words, "This President," and attack President Bush. It is hard to trust a well-educated representative when he behaves the way Allen has. I recall several years ago when he was called an “airhead of Maine,” in a piece in the Wall Street Journal.

He is well known in Southern Maine but it is my hope, based on what he has done in twelve years, that Susan retains her seat in the Senate. It is quite upsetting to think how negative this race will be with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that will come here to support Allen from MoveOn.Org!

Art Winschel
Portland

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