What it takes to represent Windham County

Editor of the Reformer:

During the Democratic candidate senator debate in Townsend, I was struck by the across the board lack of compassion expressed by each of the candidates who individually had no personal understanding of how our current Vermont Health Connect actually works. Two of the four candidates are on Medicaid and are completely unaffected by the system and the other two are already under their own health care. None have any understanding whatsoever of how difficult it is, even to sign up either on line or on the telephone for our system.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want to have a senator who doesn’t know firsthand how challenging it is to wait for 45 minutes, be unable to get an insurance plan, be told that Vermont Health Connect would call back when they never did and then have to go through the process four additional times without still getting insurance only to be told they had to redo the entire 45 minutes worth of applying. It’s maddening. It’s further maddening that while two candidates actually work within the health care system, neither of them spoke directly to what pharmacists in the area are saying, that over 22,000 people are waiting for the Vermont Health Connect to process the paperwork so that they can get their prescription medicines.


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When I think of a senator I think of a person who can represent all of the residents of Windham County from the homeless to the executive. From the most personal aspects of how policy making will shape the individual, to how it will change the footprint of our local towns.

I find that each of these candidates violate the very premise of the Constitution, which states quite clearly that frugality must be a part of the price for liberty in Article 18 and that furthermore, we as Vermonters are mandated that we can change any policy that is in Article 7. We have the ability to change flaws when we find them in policy making and it is clear we must remind these candidates that they are servants to the people.

Take the ego out of politics. This is an honorable and prestigious office, which does not disenfranchise one segment of the population due to age, nor does it fail to encompass the very least of population that feels they have no voice in helping to create this change. Nor does this office encourage its representatives to use demeaning language to try to discredit the candidate. We need to have an equitable representation of all economic categories to represent Windham County.

Mary Cain,

Brattleboro, July 29

Support for White, Allbee

Editor of the Reformer:

This is in support of two candidates who wish to represent Windham County in the Senate: Jeanette White running for re-election, and Roger Allbee running for the first time. Having known Jeanette White as a good neighbor and highly competent former Selectperson, and having a few days ago heard both of these candidates present their positions and answer a wide range of questions, I can attest with confidence to their intelligence, knowledge, work ethic, energy, and social concerns. Two of my own particular priorities for Vermont are the achievement of its long-term environmental protection and health care for all. It is to their enormous credit that both White and Allbee measure up extraordinarily well regarding not only those two aims, but also on a host of other issues concerning especially jobs and the economy (although these not further dwelt on here).

As to Jeanette White, she has two degrees, one in political science and the other in social development. White’s efforts during her 12 years to date in the Senate have been impressive with reference to both health and environment. On the one hand, she is committed to achieving affordable universal health care for Vermont. And on the other, White’s all-time Senate environmental voting record, as tracked by the non-partisan Vermont Conservation Voters organization, is an impressive 94 percent -- indeed, having in recent years risen to a perfect 100 percent.

As to Roger Allbee, he has two degrees in agricultural economics. Albee’s four-year record as Secretary of Agriculture was memorable owing to his efforts to protect the State’s forests and farmlands through his important Working Landscapes initiative. Among other awards, he has been nationally honored for his soil and water conservation efforts in the State. And regarding health care, Allbee’s knowledge and concerns have been honed to a high level of expertise as a Board member of Grace Cottage Hospital for over the past decade -- currently serving as its chief operating officer. He is passionate about Vermont achieving sustainable health-care reform for all.

In short, it is my conviction that our County and State can do no better than having us represented in Montpelier by Roger Allbee and Jeanette White.

Arthur H. Westing,

Putney, July 25

Re-check your facts

Editor of the Reformer:

With the election season already in progress, we are beginning to see candidate signage appearing on lawns and right-of-ways. Some of these signs attributed to Lamont Barnett ask voters to re-elect Patricia Duff and Lamont Barnett, a deceptive message that may be an attempt to "ride the coattails" of an elected judge. While Judge Duff is seeking reelection, Barnett has never been elected to the position. In 2012, Barnet was appointed to the position by Governor Shumlin. I call on Duff and Barnett to remove the signs and to properly note that while Judge Duff is seeking re-election, Barnet is seeking his initial election.

Elliott Greenblott,

Brattleboro, July 27