To the Editor:
In addition to the welcome, and relatively unusual, opportunity to vote for a terrific person for Maine State Senate, the election of Moira O’Neill will send to Augusta a woman whose skill set is desperately needed in our legislature.
I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing O’Neill since encountering her at the summit of Beech Mountain where she was counting hikers as a Ridge-Runner volunteer for Acadia National Park. For many seasons, O’Neill has helped maintain trails, repair cairns, clean debris and litter, and advise tourists. But her dedication to making our world a better place extends far beyond the borders of Acadia and of her electoral district of Hancock County.
It is O’Neill’s extensive background in health care and child advocacy that makes her so valuable a candidate for the Senate. At a time in our state when too many children are growing up without sufficient access to affordable health care or even food, when too many of our small business owners are struggling to find means to offer health coverage to their employees, when a regrettable percentage of our population needs support in overcoming addictions to drugs or alcohol, O’Neill brings the knowledge and experience needed to create truly effective legislative action. Turning away from these issues, declaring “wars” on those who need help, blaming imagined evil forces from out of state, while doing nothing to alleviate these problems have resulted in the obvious outcome: the problems continue and are growing more severe.
O’Neill has devoted her life to finding solutions to health care challenges, by both providing care directly and teaching others in the field. Her credentials are, to say the least, impressive: a bachelor’s in political science, a bachelor’s in nursing and a doctorate in nursing from Yale University in health care policy. But O’Neill is the opposite of an ivory-tower type, as her work years demonstrate. She served as a clinical nurse in Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire; as a community care and home-care nurse in Connecticut; and for a decade, as a child advocate agent working out of Hartford, Conn. Subsequently, she has been teaching nursing, first at the University of New England and currently at Husson University, where her emphasis is on public policy and management. What an incredibly useful and badly needed background for developing meaningful legislation on health-related issues! What a shame and loss it would be if Moira were not sent to Augusta to help us create health policy!
In recent years, Maine has seen its economy decline and more industries and employers depart, while younger people either leave the state or fall into addictions, while the aging population who remain face increasing health concerns of their own. Our need for a legislator with O’Neill’s talents, intelligence, compassion and dedication is urgent.
And to top it all off, she’s a warm, decent and delightful human being with a remarkable ability to communicate with people of varied backgrounds and beliefs. Please join me in voting for Moira O’Neill, both in the June 14 primary and the November election. You will rarely have the chance to cast more rewarding votes!