Wed, Jul 23, 2014 ●
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Forecaster Forum: Show up, have a voice, use your vote

Opinion

Forecaster Forum: Show up, have a voice, use your vote

School budgets, town budgets and regulations, tax reform and bond issues, candidates for governor: What do they have to do with you and your neighbor? Everything.

Do you want to have children who are educated to succeed in the 21st century? Do you worry that you will have a hard time paying your taxes? How do you want your town’s money spent? Do you want to allow hunting on all town-owned properties (in North Yarmouth)? Do you want your income tax to be reduced by 2 percent? Do you support building and repairing our roads and bridges? Do you support alternative energy? And who do you want to lead the state of Maine for the next four years? You get to decide these questions at school budget meetings, town meetings and at the polls on June 8.

You can have a voice, but only if you show up.

On June 3 in the communities of Cumberland and North Yarmouth, you can vote on the School Administrative District 51 budget and then vote on budget validation at the polls on June 8. You can speak up in favor or in opposition at the meeting and cast your vote in the booth. Our school budget is a community decision and exercising your right to participate is vital.

On Saturday, June 12, the town of North Yarmouth will have its annual Town Meeting. The town budget will be voted on and a decision as to whether hunting with guns will be allowed on all town-owned properties will be decided.

Question 1 asks “Do you want to reject the new law that lowers Maine’s income tax and replaces that revenue by making changes to the sales tax?” This will result in a 2 percent decrease in state income tax, but establish new taxes on some services.

Our roads, bridges, rails and waterfront facilities are in need of repair. Our small businesses need a boost to climb out of recession. Investment in clean, affordable energy is important to consider in our state, which is heavily dependent on heating oil. Questions 2 through 5 support bonds for these projects.

We have four candidates for governor on the Democratic side and seven candidates on the Republican side. It is our job to find out who they are and what they will bring to the job. Each candidate has a website, has participated in multiple gubernatorial forums and each brings their own unique skills and strengths. Don’t relay on sound bites and slick advertisements. Talk with you friends and neighbors, and listen to what each candidate has to say. More importantly, find out if they will listen to you and work for you.

Often it is said if you don’t vote, don’t complain. It is your right and duty to speak up. I look forward to seeing neighbors and friends at school budget meeting, Town Meeting and at the polls. All you have to do is show up.

Anne Graham is a selectman in North Yarmouth, and the uncontested candidate for the Democratic nomination in House District 109, which includes parts of Gray, North Yarmouth and Pownal.