According to the headline in Sunday paper’s, experts believe Gov. Paul LePage has reached a “new level of frustration” (“Worst week ever for LePage?” May 1).

There are many words I can think of to substitute for “frustration” but enough about what I think. Decide for yourself after reading why he vetoed two bills designed to protect children.

Republican Sen. Scott Cyrway of Benton introduced “An Act to Protect All Students in Elementary or Secondary Schools from Sexual Assault by School Officials” after the alleged sexual assault of a student by the principal at Waterville High last fall.

In vetoing Cyrway’s bill, the governor wrote, “In Maine people may get married at age 18 without parental consent. If a 22-year-old marries an 18-year-old who is enrolled as a junior in high school and then becomes a teacher at that high school, this bill would make it a felony for that teacher to live as husband and wife with their spouse. If the couple were to have a child, the provisions of Section 4 of this bill would affect the parental rights of the teacher by treating the teacher as if they had been convicted of gross sexual assault.”

The writing is as bizarre as the concepts he advances.

Another Republican, Rep. Joyce Maker from Aroostook County, introduced “An Act To Protect Children in the State from Possible Sexual, Physical and Emotional Abuse by Persons Who Have Been Convicted of Crimes.” The bill would require fingerprinting of those in whose care parents entrust their infants and toddlers.

This is a smart move because we know the brain develops faster in infants and toddlers than in any other period of our lives. Healthy brain development requires a safe and secure environment provided by caring adults, and we already require fingerprinting for K-12 education. Yet the governor justified his veto based on the complaints of a few childcare providers who don’t want the government telling them what to do. He ignored the overwhelming number of childcare providers who supported this bill. Those providers know it’s good business to assure parents when they drop their children off in the morning they will be protected from predators while they are being cared for.

The governor is off the rails. Not only does he believe it’s more important to protect predators than Maine children, other policy decisions over his last five years have left the children of this state hungrier, poorer, less healthy and less safe.

Last week we learned that we now have more children with a parent in jail than any other state in New England and he still pushes his “lock ’em up” — or even worse, his “let ’em die” — philosophy on how to deal with people dealing with addiction.

For those of you who think responsibility for children resides totally with the parents, I would suggest that while parents are their children’s first teachers, there are some children who need more support than their parents can provide. And, while you may be all about personal responsibility, in this case that would lead to the ridiculous conclusion that those children should have been more responsible when choosing their parents.

For those of you who still like the fact that LePage speaks his mind, I would suggest that his actions are speaking louder than his words, and they are putting your children’s and grandchildren’s lives at stake.

It’s not enough to shake your heads at this man’s behavior. We all have an obligation to our youngest residents who can’t speak for nor protect themselves.

We currently have a Legislature that sustains far too many of the governor’s misguided, harmful vetoes. There were 49 representatives and five senators who voted with the governor to defeat the fingerprinting bill.

Locally, those legislators included Nutting (Oakland), Picchiotti (Fairfield), Hilliard (Belgrade), Pouliot (Augusta), Sanderson (Chelsea), Stetkis (Canaan), Farrin (Norridgewock), Theriault (China), Buckland (Farmington), Hanley (Pittston) and McCormick (parts of Kennebec County).

Business leaders, law enforcement, military leaders, economists and brain scientists all agree that early brain development is more important than just about any other factor in shaping our future economic prosperity. They also tell us that trauma has a huge impact on how children’s brains develop.

I hope when you go to vote six months from now, you remember who has taken their advice seriously and who hasn’t.

Karen Heck is a longtime resident and former mayor of Waterville.

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