Election Letter box


Editor of the Reformer:

I write in support of Roger Allbee for state senator for Windham County. Roger has the experience, knowledge, and vision to be an excellent senator. Roger Allbee's background uniquely qualifies him for this post. He is the chief executive officer of Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend, giving him excellent insight into the health care system; understanding both the provider and health insurance needs of our citizens. Roger knows Montpelier and the people who work there, both in the Legislature and administration. He was Vermont's Secretary of Agriculture, Foods and Markets, and he knows how to work with both sides to get things done.

I urge you to vote for Roger Allbee on Aug. 26 in the Democratic Primary.

John Evans,

Townshend, Aug. 19


Editor of the Reformer:

In Windham County, we have a compelling reason to go to the polls this primary election. We are able to cast our ballots for Becca Balint and Jeanette White, both of whom would serve our county with hard work, common sense, and intelligence.

Jeanette has been a consistent advocate for clean and renewable energy, developing good paying jobs, and support for education. She is accessible, thoughtful, and we in Windham county are the beneficiaries of all she has learned in her years of service in the state house.

Becca Balint represents our county's opportunity to elect the new generation to Montpelier. Becca is so smart and thoughtful -- we know that from her weekly Reformer column. She is a mom of two young children, and understands the many issues facing young families. When we elect Becca, we are looking forward to a new day when Vermont will elect women to some of our top statewide offices.

If you support single-payer health insurance, write in Dean Corren's name for lieutenant governor on the Democratic line in your ballot. He is currently the Progressive candidate, but has been endorsed by the governor and many in the Vermont Democratic Party.

Nancy Braus,

Putney, Aug. 21


Editor of the Reformer:

I was taken aback by a recent letter ("The duties of assistant judges," Aug. 15).

I am running for the position of assistant judge and it is a transparent position. Due to this fact, I am responding to the letter writer's statements that I am attempting to "make a fantasy job description," She is correct that most people do not understand, or even know, the position exists. However I, in no way, am attempting to "fool " anyone.

The letter writer states that I inferred that assistant judges read DEPOSITONS. I stated that the assistant judge is involved with dispositions. This would be a part of "Fact Finding" and, yes, we report any of this to the presiding judge. As stated, the position is a constitutional one and governed by statute. I have stated this all along. I have not stated that an assistant judge would resolve cases outside the courtroom nor have I wavered from the process of taking evidence.

I stated that both Probate Court and Family Court were under Superior Court jurisdiction. This was the merger that I talked about that took place some years ago. The assistant judges look at "transfer of probate proceedings in guardianship actions filed in the probate division of the superior court ..."

At this point I do not want to quote more judiciary statute but I want people to know that I understand the position and in no way am attempting to "fool " anyone. I have attempted to educate as I know the letter writer is attempting to do. I have talked about the possibilities of "What could be under the jurisdiction of assistant judges" and how the judiciary could use them. I have always prefaced that you must follow statute.

I am hurt that someone has attacked my truthfulness and or integrity. I have only tried to explain the importance of this position and my desire to use my education and years of experience with the Department of Children, Youth and Families (and Family Court) to work within judiciary rules.

Lastly, this is the second time someone has stated that assistant judges do not take depositions. I know this. They should go back and read or listen to me on FACTV to see that I talked about "Fact Finding" using dispositions.

I have been honest about the position and have not attacked any other assistant judge.

I thank the letter writer for her work as a guardian ad litem, as this is an extremely important job that we never praise enough. I apologize to her for her interpretation of what I have said in my passionate run for this position. However, I do not apologize for anything stated and would ask anyone with specific questions about my statements, or understanding of the position, to contact me at 802-722-4501 or pk2506@comcast.net

Paul Kane,

Westminster Station, Aug. 15


Editor of the Reformer:

I am going to write in Dean Corren on the Democratic primary ballot when I go to the polls on Aug. 26. I am excited that Dean is running for Lt. Governor because he has been out ahead of the beat on health care, marriage equality, energy, and public financing. He served four terms in the Vermont Legislature, where he was an early proponent of universal health care and of marriage equality. He is a leader in the energy efficiency world, having invented a turbine rotor that generates electricity from the gravitational pull of the moon.

Dean has committed himself to focusing on universal health care, renewable energy, and policies that will serve the many Vermont residents who are struggling to get by. He is committed to keeping private interests out of politics, and for that reason is limiting himself to Vermont's public funding option.

I urge voters who support Dean and who plan to vote in the Democratic primary to join me in writing him in. If you vote early, please be sure to follow the directions carefully and mark only one of the four ballots you receive. The instructions you receive will explain how to return your voted ballot and your unused ballots.

Ellen Schwartz,

Brattleboro, Aug. 19


Editor of the Reformer:

I was surprised by the proposal being made in Westminster to go against Vermont tradition, law and statutes empowering the Selectboard to appoint the Town Clerk and Town Treasurer as well as create an Office of Assessment with a Town Assessor appointed by the Town Manager to do "all duties assigned to the Listers in the Vermont Statutes and case law."

This is a philosophical question proving the point that less is more. Less power vested in one person is more democratic. Vermont has always known the dangers of the concentration of political power; evident in the tradition of law and statue that the Town Clerk, Town Treasurer and Listers are elected by the people; for the people.

The proposal to amend the Westminster Town Charter is a step backwards to when the king appointed his ministers and tax collectors. Selectboard appointing the clerk and treasurer and worse, an appointed person (the Town Manager) will appoint another appointed person multiplying the distance from by the people.

I never thought I would agree with Nancy Reagan on anything but in this situation I must just say no. I encourage everyone in Westminster to think seriously about this step backwards. Is the Selectboard's judgment better as to who is qualified to carry out the day to day functions of the Town; handle the taxpayers' money; and who should assess the property for the people of Westminster?

Dean Lynch,

Westminster West, Aug. 22


Editor of the Reformer:

Studies show Americans lead the world in denial regarding the global warming crisis. No surprise when our very own Governor Shumlin who, two years ago was adamantly opposed to fracking now has made a deal with the gas industry allowing them to build a pipeline through northern Vermont and under Lake Champlain to carry fracked gas. The wealth addiction running this country and our state is absolute insanity. No amount of money can save the environment once it is destroyed. Science has advised the world that carbon emissions causes global warming that has reached crisis proportions. We must reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, which is only about 35 years from now. If earthlings do not succeed in meeting this challenge, we will die, all life may die. Certainly, life as we know it will cease to exist on planet Earth. And yet, people in power continue to do business as usual. They do nothing to address the problem. Are these people, Peter Shumlin included, lemmings in disguise? Lemmings reputedly commit suicide en masse for some reason. While that may be a myth, humans insanity and inhumanity is no myth. The evidence speaks for itself.

The fracking process itself causes enormous amounts of carbon and other poisonous toxins to be released into the atmosphere, into the earth and water and into human bodies, causing harm and death all along the way. Transporting fracked gas cannot be done without further jeopardizing the environment, risking more contamination and pollution, to say nothing of the risk of explosions anywhere along a pipeline. It's not possible to build under Lake Champlain without totally destroying the viability of the lake.

No amount of money is worth destroying our home. A Chinese proverb says, "The frog does not dirty the pond in which it dwells." Are we not at least as smart as a frog? Scientists have found that a frog dropped into boiling water will jump right out, but a frog put in a pan of water that is gradually heated will adjust to the increase in temperature until it eventually dies. Humans are doing the same thing, adjusting, adjusting, adjusting to unlivable conditions. Wake up, people. Save yourselves, save your children, save your homes, save the earth.

Capitalism is at the root of the wealth addiction that has made smart people, like Governor Shumlin and other politicians, stupid. Republicans and Democrats alike have played the same tune of "economic-growth-no-matter-what-the-cost," and that is killing us. We, voters, have the opportunity now to assert our power and authority over these matters. I urge all voters to vote in the primary election this month (vote early with absentee ballots if you like), and vote for anyone other than the Republicans and Democrats who have had enough time and opportunity to make things right. Any newcomer to political office has a very good chance of doing a better job than the people who have put the earth and Vermont in peril. They certainly cannot do worse. A group of newcomers is assured of success.

Thank you for voting to protect the earth who gives us our life.

Lynn Russell,

Candidate for assistant judge, Brattleboro, Aug. 11 ****

Editor of the Reformer:

I would openly like to declare my support of Laura Sibilia for state representative for the Windham-Bennington district seat in the Vermont Statehouse. Laura has acquired a great deal of experience dealing with local, county and state legislation. Laura has served as the executive director of the Mount Snow Chamber of Commerce, vice-chair of the Dover School Board and director of economic development with the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. In each of these, Laura has been able to earn the respect of fellow co-workers, legislators and government officers.

Laura Sibilia is a supporter of small businesses in Vermont and has dedicated her career to helping develop local economies. As well Laura is a proponent of investing in the future of Vermont by advocating for reforming Vermont's current education and education finance systems. Laura's vast experience in economic development and education reform are two priorities that I believe should be on the forefront of all Vermonters minds. Laura epitomizes determination, fairness and compassion. Through these qualities Laura will be able to best represent our district.

I have had the privilege of working with Laura on several boards and in those experiences she earned great respect and admiration on my side. I was greatly impressed by her generosity and dedication. She spends valuable hours working to help others, it is this dedication that I know will allow her to be a success in the Vermont Statehouse.

I am a proud supporter of Laura Sibilia and wish that she is chosen as the state representative for the Windham-Bennington district.

Vincent Lewis,

West Dover, Aug. 17


Editor of the Reformer:

A number of folks have asked me "Why aren't you on the primary ballot, Laura?" First things first -- I will be on the ballot for the general election. On Tuesday Nov. 4, voters in Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, and portions of Whitingham will be able to vote for me to represent our district in the Vermont House of Representatives.

The reason my name is not on the Aug. 26 primary ballot is that I am running as an independent. That means I have chosen to run without the backing of a major political organization. In my experience, most Vermonters, though they may lean to the left or lean to the right, consider themselves to be politically independent like me. But I digress.

A primary election is so that political parties can select their candidates for the general election. For the Aug. 26 primary, voters will only see candidates who are supported by what are considered the four "major" parties: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Progressive political parties. A primary is especially helpful if a party has more candidates running then contests for seats. For instance, there are four Democrats running for two seats in the Windham County senate race. The Democratic Party will support the two primary winners with money and volunteer time in the campaign leading up to the Nov. 4 general election.

So short story long, I am on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election that actually determines who will represent your interests in the House of Representatives. Hope this helps clear up any confusion. Feel free to call or email me at any time with other questions, all of my contact information can be found at www.laurasibiliavt.com.

Laura H. Sibilia,

Dover, Aug. 20


Editor of the Reformer:

I miss the fire am brimstone politicking that raises enthusiasm to get me to go out and vote. I haven't yet seen it in the Democratic lineup of senatorial candidates and I'm not sure it really exists anymore in the party. I haven't heard a single word that would make any difference in my life, from the topics that have been discussed at the debates. As a matter of fact, I have heard the blah, blah, blah over and over again, and this is precisely why people do not vote.

Haven't we seen that so little has been accomplished in the past 12 years that has made any significant change at all, with the exception that spending has gotten out of control in Montpelier? We have heard nothing new over the course of this campaign season. We have only heard four versions of the same conversation. I would hate to be a young person trying to figure out for the first time who to vote for when they all sound exactly the same. We need real change in policy making that directly affects the residents of Vermont. We need someone who will actually listen to the constituents and who will think outside the box to come up with creative policy making.

We really need an independent voice. We need Mary Hasson to become our next senator. She is campaigning about real issues, affordable housing, taking care of our senior population, in workable health care and reducing poverty. She will advocate for stronger child support enforcement within the state. She will work hard at making policy changes that increase affordable housing for all age segments. She will work to bring jobs to Windham County by working with coordinating the first of its kind, open conference for employment that will attract employers through online businesses and telemarketing. She will propose a policy that will protect the financial interests of parents and newborns. She is interested in reducing gas and fuel prices through collective contracting for municipalities and private companies. She has a workable plan to put in place that would eliminate hunger Windham County residents and she already knows its a plan that we can all benefit from.

Mary has spent decades advocating experience on behalf of Windham County. It is her dedication and love for all the people of Windham County that shines through in every thing she does. She has raised her family here, she knows the challenges, she has lived them. She is the hope that you have been waiting for, the voice that will change the way we see our future. She deserves your vote Nov. 4.

Arlene Brainard,

Guilford, Aug. 20


Editor of the Reformer:

I will be voting for Roger Allbee for state senate in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Roger has a long history of public service -- including being Vermont's secretary of agriculture and serving as CEO of Grace Cottage Hospital -- that will make him an effective senator.

I am also supporting Roger Allbee because I agree with him on the issues and believe that he will stand up to the special interests that, in my view, exercise undue influence on our legislative process. And, while I respect all the candidates in this race, I disagree with Jeanette White and Becca Balint on some key issues.

In Montpelier, it often happens that a single well-connected corporation or individual can derail legislation that would benefit the broader public interest. And, one reason special interests have outsized influence in Vermont relates to our system of campaign finance. Vermont allows corporations and corporate PACs to contribute directly to political candidates, a practice prohibited in many other states and under a federal law dating back to 1907. Further, while Vermont sets limits on the amount a corporation or individuals can contribute, it allows donors to evade these limits by contributing individually and from each corporation owned by the individual or company.

Roger Allbee has said he will vote to ban corporate contributions to candidates. He has also refused to take corporate or PAC money in his campaign, a decision that has put him at a financial disadvantage as compared to the other candidates. Senator Jeanette White has been the principal advocate within the Legislature for continuing corporate contributions and has defended the right of donors to evade campaign finance limits by giving through multiple corporate entities. Becca Balint would also vote against eliminating corporate contributions while Joan Bowman supports a ban.

As a former Secretary of Agriculture, Roger Allbee understands the importance of preserving the integrity and connectivity of Vermont's forests, especially as wildlife comes under stress because of climate change. Allbee supports S.100, a bill intended to stop the fragmentation of our forests and which was reported favorably out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Senator White co-sponsored the bill and then voted against it. The bill died, in large part because the opposition of a single developer (and campaign contributor). So far as I know, Joan Bowman and Becca Balint have not taken a position on the protection of our forests.

Roger Allbee supports legislation that would allow towns to decide if they want industrial scale wind turbines. Allbee's position is the same as that of Governor Shumlin who told VPR that he did not think wind farms should be built in towns that don't want them. Senator White co-sponsored a bill (S.166) that would have let the town of Windham decide if it wanted the proposed Iberdrola wind farm and then, having co-sponsored the bill, announced that she was against it. Joan Bowman supports the right of towns to decide on wind farms while Becca Balint opposes letting towns decide.

Several of these issues -- notably getting corporate money out of Vermont politics and protecting our forests -- were decided by a very few votes. Senators shape policy by their votes and so can you.

Peter Galbraith,

Townshend, Aug. 20


Editor of the Reformer:

I want to tell you what happened to me. I was to appear on channel 17 in Burlington on a panel as a Republican primary contender for governor. I got there with time to spare, having left my home, sad to go, knowing my dogs will forgive me.

I was prepared. I knew what I wanted to say, but then Robin Williams died. I realized on the way up that the power, and the power of people like him -- Charlie Chaplin, Lucille Ball, people who can make us laugh -- have so much more personal power than any politician because they help us laugh. I wanted to say this, but the format is so short, two-minute answers, and from the get-go, I felt pressured; I could not relax. When I opened my mouth, I stumbled on Robin Williams' name; how could I do that? When I left the studio, I felt crushed because I did not come off strong.

So I called a friend who talks about God. I need to talk about God absent of religion, absent of sin, absent of cults, costumes, priests or churches. I need to talk about God, the Creator of Earth; I need to hear her say Goddie, and God, too.

Here we are, humans, messing up this beautiful Earth with pollution, creating this global warming crisis, threatening the future of all life. How stupid are the Republicans? How stupid are the Democrats? People say government is supposedly separated from the church. Instead, government has made a religion of money with only one faith, the dollar note. They pray to their god of profit. Government wants to force us to genuflect in the church of profit, and they whip us with taxations, regulations, and rules of law if we don't.

I am doing this political gig because I love this Earth God has created! I know there are things more sacred than this ridiculous and cultish pursuit of money. It is not right for government to force us to worship money to the extent that we would do wrong by each other or by the Earth in order to get in the door of that foul stinking church of the federal dollar reserve note.

Have we forgotten our humanity in our fear of being spiritually open and active? I believe we, the people, need to go outside and thank the sky, the river, and the earth, for these will give us abundance, amazement and health. We should be fearlessly loving of the Earth and each other. We should not defile them for a stinking dollar church. I just need to speak truth.

Emily Peyton,

Putney, Aug. 22


Editor of the Reformer:

There are a few things that I would like to add to Leonard Bull's list (Letter Box, Aug. 19) of Roger Allbee's many accomplishments, such as CEO of Grace Cottage Hospital, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture and years with the USDA/Farm Credit Service, which more than qualifies him for inclusion in the Vermont Senate.

First, Roger attended and graduated from UVM. Second, he served in the U.S. Army honorably, attaining the rank of captain, and thus has first-hand knowledge of veterans' issues. Third, he has absorbed a deep understanding of the stresses and strains endured by our teachers and has much understanding of the social, economic, political and administrative forces that they have to deal with in their jobs. This understanding he acquired from his wife, Ann, who was a first-rate teacher at the Wardsboro Elementary School.

Roger Allbee would be an invaluable resource for the Vermont Senate and deserves our votes on Aug. 26.

Gerald Melis,

Wardsboro, Aug. 20


Editor of the Reformer:

As a Democrat, I was Agricultural Secretary under Governor Kunin and Agricultural Advisor for Senator Leahy. My twin brother, Roger Allbee. is now a candidate for state senator in Windham County. Both Rog and I have served our country, state and county. We have always worked to enhance the health and welfare of all citizens. Rog believes in a single payer health system, renewable energy systems that do not sacrifice our environment/vistas, economic development providing affordable jobs, a quality education systems, a taxation system for education not totally dependent on the property tax, and improved efforts to curb drug dependency. Roger's accomplishments are many. He would welcome the support of Windham County voters on Aug. 26.

Ron Allbee,

Sarasota, Fla., Aug. 22

Editor of the Reformer:

This is a letter of support for Roger Allbee, candidate for one of the Windham County Senate seats.

I've known Roger for a number of years and have served with him on numerous boards. His working knowledge of a broad number of issues facing Vermonters, including agriculture, healthcare, technology and economic development as well as a proven ability to work with Republicans, Democrats and Independents, makes him an ideal candidate.

You may vote for Roger on the Democratic primary ballot on Tuesday, Aug. 26. I will.

Greg Worden


Editor of the Reformer:

Yard signs are popping up all around town, sometimes without permission of the property owner. Patricia Duff and Lamont Barnett, without permission, placed a sign on Western Ave. in Brattleboro between signs that read "Private Property" and "No Trespassing". The property belongs to Liberty Union candidate for governor, Peter Diamondstone. Outrageous! They should know better. They DO know better. Yet they did the wrong thing anyway. How many other campaign signs did they place improperly? These two people are running for judicious office and yet do not have the courtesy or integrity to honor the posted signs on the property or ask permission of the property owner?! That is just plain wrong!

Windham County deserves better. The Liberty Union Party does better. The Liberty Union Party honors citizens' rights and advocates for all, not just the wealthy or incumbent few. Liberty Union works to solve problems equitably rather than accept the status quo of disparity which has caused the current threat to all life in the Global Warming Crisis. Vote Liberty Union for all candidates. If you want real change, if you want to improve the quality of life, vote Liberty Union. That's why Alice Landsman and I, both Representatives of District 1 in Brattleboro, are candidates for Assistant Judge on the Liberty Union Party ticket: we can do better. We will do better! Vote Liberty Union.

Lynn Russell




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