Letter Box


Wright for Windham-3

Editor of the Reformer:

When I step out onto my porch each day and breath in the air constantly being renewed by the mighty Connecticut River, I am humbled. Such beauty and history and power. It’s reflected in everything we do here. The independent backbone of all who settled this state and of those who live and are raised here. The active muscle of optimism. It’s why, when my husband wanted to return to the place that raised him, I made a conscious decision to settle my home, my family and my business in southern Vermont, particularly in the village of Bellows Falls.

This is not a one-size-fits-all state, it deserves forward-thinking, passionate elected officials in every district and at every level of government, who will continue to make the best well-informed choices to serve the unique identity of Vermont. We already have agriculture and industry in place, job creators in place, innovative, exceptional, creative thinkers shouting to be heard over the din of future-economic-development prophets. Expand on our current business model. Provide funding programs to grow and encourage these existing Vermont job creators. Support those who are providing job growth right now. By definition, economic development refers to the adoption of new technologies, a transition away from agriculture-based to industry-based economy, and general improvement in living standards. New technology, in balance, is needed, yes, but not at the expense of existing businesses and the hard-working Vermonters they employ. The table we set for future generations must contain seats for everyone. There is room for co-existence.

As I turned in my independent petition to run for one of the two seats in the Windham-3 district as state representative, I thought about what I could bring to the Statehouse. As a small business owner, I know that new revenue streams cannot be borne only on the backs of Vermont’s small businesses, which comprise 60 percent of all Vermont enterprises. Tax breaks for large business only, to encourage retention, do not benefit the majority of Vermont’s employees. Mom-and-pop establishments are leaving the state, with their children, the future of Vermont, without the consideration of legislators and their support.

Lastly, I want my children, grandchildren and their children, ad infinitum, to succeed in Vermont. To love it here, as I do. That can only come from those of us still willing to do the hard work, to speak out, to re-imagine the ways we spend our tax dollars, to reduce redundancies in programs, to prize our Vermont education system and to expect it to inspire our children to step out into the world ready to grow a life as vibrant as the state they inhabit.

Hardworking, unafraid to speak out on issues, high expectations for our state, and optimistic that it can be done. That’s why I am running for Vermont State Representative in Windham-3. These are qualities I want for all my elected officials. I hope you do too.

Deborah Wright,

Bellows Falls, Aug. 7

The duties of assistant judges

Editor of the Reformer:

Paul Kane’s letters to your paper have been giving people of Windham County a far less than accurate description of the actual tasks performed by an assistant judge. I have volunteered in Windham Family Court as a guardian ad litem and I have participated with judges and their assistant judges in reaching positive outcomes on behalf of Windham Country children .

Kane describes a process where he would do so much more than any other assistant judge in the state. He infers that he can read depositions, take evidence, and resolve conflicts other than inside the courtroom and then give his advice to the presiding judge on the case. The problem is he cannot. It is not allowed. The position is a constitutional one, and it is governed by state statutes, the Supreme Court and the Judicial Code of Ethics. Assistant judges, as with all judges, must take evidence only from witnesses in the courtroom who are under oath to tell the truth. Evidence taken any other way would be disallowed. A judge who engaged in such activity would be dismissed from the case.

In a recent Commons article Kane mentioned yet another inaccuracy. "Assistant judges sit in Probate Court with the probate judge, because Probate and Family Court have been merged." In fact, assistant judges play no role in Probate Court cases nor have the courts been merged. It is difficult to locate information on the powers and duties of an assistant judge; but Kane apparently has decided that since the public probably doesn’t have a clue, it’s easier to go with his fantasy "job description" than to research the accurate information.

There are two excellent and very qualified incumbent assistant judges right now in Windham County. Each has performed his and her duties well and each deserves our support. For the children of our county, I will vote on Aug. 26 for Assistant Judge Patricia Duff and Lamont Barnett. Please cast your votes for our current assistant judges.

Christina Angell,

Townshend, Aug. 8

White and Balint

Editor of the Reformer:

The Aug. 26 Vermont primary election is quickly approaching. Windham County is fortunate to have four Democratic state senate candidates vying for the two open seats, offering an opportunity to explore in greater depth the issues facing our state. Over the next two years, our Legislature will need to grapple with complex policy issues including: constructing and paying for single payer health care, advancing rapid clean energy development, improving our early childhood system, increasing access to affordable food and housing, and fostering economic equity. At a broader level, the Legislature has the responsibility to improve the frameworks in which our lives are constructed; addressing issues of inequity, poverty, social and environmental injustice.

To do this, we need smart, responsive and transparent legislators representing our voices in Montpelier. It is for this reason I am supporting Senator Jeanette White. Jeanette’s focus on good governance, support for affordable single payer health care, and education reform are absolutely necessary to improving the lives of all Vermonters. She has worked diligently on several issues I care deeply about. Most of all, I trust Jeanette. While I don’t always agree with her on every issue, I trust that my voice is heard and she brings that voice, and the voices of others, with her to the statehouse.

I am also supporting Becca Balint. I find her to be articulate, smart and refreshing. She will be an excellent advocate for Vermont families and inciting an innovative economic climate within the state.

Go forth and vote on Aug. 26t. You can vote early (if you happen to be away on Aug. 26) and don’t forget, if you are currently 17 and will turn 18 on or before the general election in November, you can vote in this primary (thanks to Senator White).

Chad Simmons,

Brattleboro, Aug. 11

Agitate or educate?

Editor of the Reformer:

Titling my recent letter to the editor "Cats Are an Invasive Species" (Aug. 9) was both inflammatory and a misleading representation of the letter. A more appropriate heading would have been "Cats -- Both Predator and Prey." I am dismayed that a single phrase from my letter was chosen, especially one that would lead readers to think I dislike cats.

This is not an isolated incident. A recent letter by Paul Taylor was titled, "Proud to be a NIMBY" (July 31). Again, the editor chose to apply an inflammatory title rather than an accurate one. Nowhere in his letter did Taylor say he was proud to be a NIMBY. A more accurate, but less exciting, tittle would have been, "Who wants a quarry next door?"

The Reformer can and should aim higher. Is it more important to agitate readers in the hope of selling more papers, or to inform readers of the topic of a letter, so the letters most likely to interest them will catch their attention?

Susan M. Kelly,

Halifax, Aug. 11

Don’t succumb
to the darkness

Editor of the Reformer:

When do we recognize what we are doing to each other? When do we see that what "we are doing to others," we are actually doing to ourselves? I am pointing, this minute, at what is happening in the Middle East. But this is not new -- we have done this to people all our time on Earth. One group of people against another. One claiming they have the right to do harm to another. To force a group into an increasingly smaller piece of land. To remove their rights. To contain their bodies. To imprison a part of ourselves. It is the old story of power over not power with. When will we become whole? Stop doing harm? Free ourselves from this prison?

I weep for those who are oppressed and for those who oppress. I weep from a deep sadness that has lived on our planet for decades, centuries, eons. I can feel a darkness coming. Do we succumb to the dark or stand up and embrace the light with love? A love so vast that it cannot be divided in two. In my heart I see a different path. A path that embraces the wholeness not it’s separate parts. A solution that is beyond duality and enveloped in love. When we take that path we will recognize that you and I are one.

Robyn Flatley,

Brattleboro, Aug. 11


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