As a lifelong resident of Lewiston, I am ashamed to read letters from those critical of Bates College students’ participation in the Lewiston Democratic Caucus on Feb. 10.

Bates College is one of the crown jewels in our community. Students from Bates are part of our economic, cultural, social, athletic and educational fiber. Why, then, the furor when they exercise their right to vote? Aren’t we all members of the same community?

I was at the Lewiston caucus from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bates students were part of our ward’s vote. I was proud of them for being involved, proud of them for caring about the political process, and proud of them for their enthusiasm, which was never rude, by the way. They were respectful of their “elders,” and many of us used it as an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of the generation who will one day lead us.

I can’t help but think of other Bates students who led the way as political leaders. Ed Muskie went on to be a pioneer in the Maine Democratic Party as a legislator, governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State. Currently John Jenkins has distinguished himself as a leader, and brought openness and civility to our communities as mayor.

Should these Bates students have been denied the chance to vote?

Shame on anyone who refuses to recognize the importance of Bates College students who live in our community!

We are indeed “many and one.”

Laurie Maloney, Lewiston

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