Many folks write to you saying they believe in democracy. Well, I do, too. But, like many others out here in Vacationland, I’m angry and discouraged that we voted on referenda that passed and then realized that many of our representatives — our “voice” in Augusta — chose not to respect our decisions.

Their treatment of the minimum wage and Medicaid expansion referenda was especially disappointing, given that both passed by large margins.

Legislators can change a referendum if needed for implementation. So, for instance, minor changes to wording might be made to “make it work.” The referendum is not to be rewritten, or worse yet, set aside altogether.

Unfortunately, many legislators have undermined the spirit of the law, and with that, the will of the voters. They patronize us saying, “We know better — you don’t really know what you were voting on when you passed this initiative.”

This is discouraging. “What difference does my vote make?” a person might ask.

I’d like to suggest another approach: Look at the record of your representative. If he or she hasn’t respected our decision to pass these two important referenda, vote for someone else. It might take a little time, a little research, a little determination.

But in democracy, each of us ultimately has the power.

Geoffrey Bates

South Bristol

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