Letter Box


Support for Allbee

Editor of the Reformer:

This time it is different. The future of Vermont is at a tipping point and the old party rhetoric, partisanship and tired platitudes begs for leadership, co-operation and a sense of community that excites citizens to pull together for the "common good." And Windham County needs a legislative representative with vision, commitment and integrity. Windham County needs Roger Albee.

Roger has been a friend and colleague for over 30 years and as a candidate for Windham County’s senator offers experience in management of "the new normal." His understanding of the financial and credit markets led to a successful career with Farm Credit. At a time of crisis when the future of the farm credit agency was at risk Roger’s ability to work co-operatively and effectively within the D.C. political system resulted in his role as a major player in saving the Farm Credit system.

Roger’s love of Vermont comes from a 200 year old family heritage and agriculture and dairies run in his blood as part of his legacy. He understands that agriculture, job creation and economic development are integral components of the state’s economy. As secretary of agriculture, Roger used that understanding to develop the leadership vision that "job creation is sustainable agriculture." From this insight he created the Vermont Agricultural and Forest Products Development Board, the Farm to Plate initiative and set the stage for the creation of the Working Lands Enterprise Board.

Roger was instrumental in bringing jobs to Brattleboro with Commonwealth Dairy and has leveraged the Strolling of the Heifers program to explore entrepreneurial and small business opportunities. His commitment to the advancement and sustainability of the dairy industry is evident in his effort to promote the industry as a whole and serve the communities, farms and families that depend on farming and the dairies for their livelihood.

Roger’s tireless efforts as chair of the College of Agriculture, UVM Advisory Board and advisor to the President of VTC for institutions of higher education to work together helped create the Food Systems Institute.

Concern for local medical and health services caused Roger to accept the position of CEO of Grace Cottage Clinic in Townshend where he has developed cost effective delivery of medical services and an understanding of the complex medical and health insurance environment.

I strongly urge you to vote for the person, Roger Allbee, a man of substance and ability, a thoughtful leader grounded in the issues of importance and with an ability to lead to solutions. Roger is a vote for experience, for knowledge, for a balanced approach and compromise and a vote for the future of Windham County and Vermont.

Leonard S. Bull,

New Haven, Aug. 8 Support for Balint

Editor of the Reformer:

For those 16 and older in Windham County, the unemployment rate from 2010-2012 was just over 7 percent. This figure jumped, however, to over 21 percent for 16 to 19 year olds and over 15 percent for those in the 20- to 24-year-old bracket. These figures may come as no surprise to the many individuals and families in our community who are under- or unemployed. In fact, the issue of jobs is central to the well being of the entire county.

I doubt that Windham County is doing much better than the national average, but, fortunately, we have a candidate for state senator in Becca Balint who not only "gets" the economic situation in our county, but who also has the heart, courage, sensibility and political astuteness to work effectively for us in Montpelier to raise confidence in our state government while restoring jobs in Windham County.

One of the main planks in Balint’s political platform is workforce development. It is not a quick fix, but anyone who knows of Balint’s long time dedication to workforce development knows that it is not merely an empty campaign promise. At the individual level, workforce development involves job training and educating the individual for success in the workforce. At the societal level, it involves initiatives that train and prepare individuals to meet the needs of current and future businesses and industries, ones that align well with the values and resources of our community in areas such as green energy, healthcare, tourism, agriculture and education. And at the organizational level, workforce development focuses on training and educational programs that industries need to stay competitive in a hyper-competitive regional, national and global marketplace. Balint gets this, too.

Early childhood education and post-secondary education are key parts to the formula, as well. As an experienced educator and mother of young children herself, Balint "gets" the value of early childhood education in breaking the cycle of poverty. She also understands the importance of post-secondary education and/or technical training. With one of the highest high school completion rates in the country, Windham County has one of the lowest percentages of students who continue on to community college or four-year colleges despite the mountain of empirical data that show higher income levels, lower unemployment, better health, lower crime rates and illegal drug usage, and greater job satisfaction among individuals with at least associate degrees.

On Aug. 21, at an open forum in Brattleboro, I trust that the three other candidates will elaborate on their own strategies to reduce poverty and strengthen the economy of Windham County. We have the opportunity to vote for two senatorial seats this time, so let’s hope that at least one other candidate will -- like Becca Balint has so often demonstrated in her weekly column in the Reformer -- avoid facile solutions to complex economic problems and back up their opinions with good research.

Tim Maciel,

Brattleboro, Aug. 12

Support for Barnett

Editor of the Reformer:

Lamont Barnett is running for re-election as an assistant judge for Windham County. He deserves your support and your vote in the Aug. 26 primary election.

Judge Barnett has been involved in public service for about 40 years; from his six years in the U.S. Navy to his numerous terms on the Rockingham Selectboard as a board member and eight years as chairman. In addition, he has served on many other organizations, boards and committees, often as the president or chairman. For the last two years he has served the people of Windham County as one of the two assistant judges, sitting in the Civil and Family Divisions of the Superior Court. Assistant judges serve a very valuable function by bringing a lay person’s perspective to what are often complex and complicated factual circumstances.

My observation as a trial attorney practicing in courts throughout Vermont for over 40 years is that Judge Barnett takes the position quite seriously, is courteous to litigants and witnesses and pays very close attention to the testimony before deliberating with the other judges in order to come to a decision.

He will be getting my vote for re-election and I would strongly encourage you to do the same.

L. Raymond Massucco,

Bellows Falls, Aug. 11


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