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Forum, May 30: The Root of Our Problem: Corruption


Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Root of Our Problem: Corruption

Why does the United States have one of the lowest voter turnout ratios of all developed countries? Why does the approval rating of Congress hover around 10 percent? Why do policies with vast majorities of support among the people rarely even see the floor of Congress? The answer to all these questions is the same: Corruption.

The corruption in our political system is completely antithetical to a government meant to provide security and the ability to make a better life for ourselves and our families. Between corporations, special interest groups and PACs, enough money is given to our representatives each year that their actual six-figure salaries are probably an afterthought for most. This problem has been escalating for the better part of four decades, since the Supreme Court ruling in Buckley v. Valeo opened the campaign-spending floodgates.

This system incentivizes politicians to be beholden to corporations and special interests, and not to the people they are elected to represent. This is both politically backward and morally reprehensible, and without changing this element of the system the problems facing this country will only get worse. No matter what issue you are passionate about, money in politics affects it. There is some group or company spending hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars to make sure they are not correctly addressed by Congress.

But there is good news. Thanks to a certain senator, there is a movement growing. A movement of people who are motivated by doing the right thing. People who understand that public service is a responsibility to be taken with the utmost seriousness and that corruption is a cancer that must be rooted out completely. Vermont and New Hampshire have an opportunity to take the lead in this endeavor by sending candidates to Congress who refuse any money other than grass-roots donations. We must seize this opportunity or continue to suffer the consequences.

Dylan Blair

Hartland

Aiding Early Childhood Education

Publicly funded prekindergarten education (Act 166 of 2014) has increased access to high quality early learning environments for 3- and 4-year-olds in Vermont. According to the Vermont Agency of Education preliminary report of April 2018, enrollment in prekindergarten programs increased 22 percent between 2015 and 2016.

Like so many other sectors in a state with the gift of low unemployment, the workforce hasn’t kept up with the demand. Some area early childhood programs may have to close classrooms this year because they can’t find qualified teachers. Technical and career centers and colleges, some of which closed early childhood training programs due to low enrollment, are now rebuilding training programs and trying to recruit students.

The Northern Windsor and Orange Building Bright Futures Regional Council has partnered with area early-childhood programs that are seeking employees, along with training and college programs, for a job fair at the Community College of Vermont in White River Junction on June 19, from 6-7:30 p.m. The purpose of this event is to provide a place for early childhood organizations to meet potential candidates and provide information on the early childhood field on resources available to help meet requirements. For more information, email etaetzsch@buildingbrightfutures.org.

This is a welcome example of cross-sector community collaboration and resource sharing. I want to express my appreciation and support of this effort.

Marla Ianello

Thetford

The writer is a member of the regional leadership team at Building Bright Futures.

Dismayed by Disparaging Comments

I was taken aback by the completely out of line, disparaging comments made by City Councilor Erling Heistad (“A Man of Many Houses: Developer Mike Davidson Has Created a Real Estate Empire,” May 20).

I personally worked for and with Mike Davidson for a number of years and I can attest that his presence in the neighborhood was always felt, no matter where he was physically. Electronically, Mike was at every site and receiving progress pictures as we went. He has impressed our help with the philosophy that every time we’d leave a building, it was left in better condition. That’s pride in ownership to me, councilor. And you can see Mike Davidson on any summer morning pushing a mower down Bank Street to mow one of his many downtown properties. Again, councilor, pride in ownership.

I should think that it was ill-advised to disparage a fellow resident in good standing.

Donald B. Perron

Lebanon

A Mean-Spirited Editorial Cartoon

The mean-spirited editorial cartoon on May 24 asserting that Republicans were responsible for school shootings was disgraceful. The Valley News owes its readers a prompt apology.

Jeff Lehmann

Lyme Center