This letter is in response to the Sun Journal editorial, “A matter of convenience” (July 6). The editorial emphasized the value of the array of services provided by state workers and the importance of public access to them. I couldn’t agree more; the systems upon which our economy, our communities and our families all depend do not function properly without Maine’s public employees.

The editorial was particularly well-timed, coming off the Independence Day weekend — a holiday that embodies the spirit of unity, community and national pride. Isn’t it ironic that on July 4 we were celebrating democracy and, two days later, the very people tasked with helping keep our democratic system functioning properly (our roads, health programs, education systems, environmental protection, consumer protection, etc.), were taking their first of 20 mandatory unpaid furlough days. 

To many, it may look like an extra day off after a long holiday weekend; to those state workers and their families, it is an economic strain. 

The sacrifices of state employees are just one set of examples of the many ways that all Mainers are affected by budget cuts and these tough economic times.

Too many in Maine’s workforce — in both the private and public sectors — are making difficult sacrifices and facing tough challenges. Now is not the time to be telling any of them how their sacrifices don’t measure up. Rather, it’s time to work together as citizens to identify and solve problems, not as separate sectors, but as a team.

Ben Dudley, Portland,

Executive director, Engage Maine

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