The power you have

To the Editor;

Since being elected county commissioner, I’ve lost track of the amount of times that I have been informed by our local non-profit leadership and media that I should “mind my business” when it comes to matters beyond the county government, such as state and federal issues. I can only assume that such candid and free counsel stem from the belief that the decisions from Washington, which have caused skyrocketing inflation, have no bearing on the operational budgets of the county government or the draconian mandates sent down from the governor have had no impact on the emergency care staffing shortages or the overwhelmed county court system throughout our state. Yes, that is sarcasm, and, yes, county leadership should be engaged and vocal about the lawlessness, insanity, and plain lack of common sense that is happening in Augusta and Washington D.C.

Another issue that my “counselors” would prefer county silence on is the local controversy concerning the removal of the dam in Dover-Foxcroft. While it is at this point a municipal issue, it will very quickly become a county issue if what is in the Piscataquis gets past the dams and into the tributaries and ponds of the Northern Highlands of our county. Yes, Lamprey are in the Piscataquis below the dams and Northern Pike are in the Penobscot, which the experts told us would never happen.

Ah, the experts. The preferred vehicle by which to strong-arm an agenda through. Those attending the last few series of presentations have witnessed this vehicle in action.

An age old tactic of creating an air of inevitability and portraying those who differ with the presented choice of wisdom of lacking the intellectual gravitas to understand the full import and magnitude of the grave folly of disregarding this grand solution they offer. In other words, we are smart and you are not. We know and you don’t.

This is the tried and tested vehicle by which those who are promoting an agenda discourage the local community from using their most powerful weapon to defend their way of life; that is, their vote! Your concerns about predatory fish moving into the Highlands are worthy of merit! Your fears of your shoreline property values plummeting are valid!

You are right to question whether Atlantic salmon would even come up this river since there is no traditional evidence to support this. You are correct to challenge the argument that dam removal will mitigate flooding, with so much evidence to the contrary; i.e. Farmington sustained the most flood damage in Maine after the removal of their dam.

Most of all, the people must not allow themselves to be dismissed or discouraged into thinking the choice is inevitable. You have the most important power. You have the power of your vote. Stand together as a town and vote for your community.

Commissioner Andy Torbett

Atkinson Township

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