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Forum, Aug. 11: Make the effort to expand your information sources

Published: 8/10/2020 10:00:18 PM
Modified: 8/10/2020 10:00:14 PM
Make the effort to expand your information sources

In several months we are going to start to see political ads for the upcoming elections in November. As citizens, we must make informed decisions. Where do we get our news from? Is it a local station, a local paper, a national network, a cable network? Do you use more than one source for your news?

The upcoming election is probably one of the more important presidential elections we have had in some time. A lot is riding on this election, whether it be health, economics, the environment, education or whatever your special interest is. I urge everyone to broaden their information sources. If you listen to one national news network, listen to another one on a different night. If you listen to a cable network, try listening to another cable network and see if its opinions are similar or dissimilar.

If you are one of the people who believe that our media is publishing fake news, go listen to the BBC or even public broadcasting, which represent the people and not a major network. There is a lot of print material available in the form of local newspapers, national publications and national magazines. We need to make informed decisions and we need to get our information from as many broad-based sources as possible.

It is our constitutional right and obligation to vote and we need to make informed decisions. My particular concern is with the environment, and our current president has either overturned or tried to overturn more than 100 environmental regulations, some of which have been longstanding, bedrock environmental regulations that protect our public health, public water and the air we breathe.

I urge everybody to broaden their information sources in the upcoming election for their decision-making. A lot is riding on this.

BILL HOPWOOD

Elkins, N.H.

Andru Volinsky cares about the next generation

In the primary election on Sept. 8 I will be voting for Andru Volinsky because he has support from the New Hampshire Youth Movement.

The common narrative is that youth today are overconnected, overanxious and becoming hyper-involved with politics. The reality underneath this condescending simplification is that members of the younger generation face a dangerous and uncertain future, but have the technology and courage to educate themselves and organize like never before. Jobs are hard to come by, with salaries lagging decades behind the cost of living. Not only is secondary education becoming a financial impossibility, but public schools face funding disparities that give undue power to one’s ZIP code, and the cost of preschool is rising to the point where families are often required to take out loans to afford child care. The very air we breathe and water we drink is becoming toxic. I could go on, but I won’t.

All of this is preventable. These issues are not unavoidable realities. We just have to deal. There are solutions, if only those with the power to wield them had the courage to do so. It is evident that New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu does not understand, or simply does not care, about the effects his negligence have on the next generation. It is enough to lose hope. But clearly, the youth have not, with the New Hampshire Youth Movement, Youth Climate Strike, and the Keene and Dartmouth Sunrise Movement groups all working to elect Andru Volinsky. Volinsky has the strongest climate record of all candidates (it’s not even close) and has a plan for a just and equitable path to carbon-neutrality. He has plans for a fair minimum wage. He is passionate about our public schools and has fought for education equality for decades. His opponent, Dan Feltes, is a respected career politician, but he shows more interest in people-pleasing than problem-solving. Volinsky has the passion and the plans we need.

If young people reckoning with an often hopeless future find hope in Volinsky, then so do I. Vote Volinsky on Sept. 8.

EMILY COUSENS

Lyme

Write in Ray Gagnon for Sullivan County commissioner

Ray Gagnon is an experienced and tested voice for Sullivan County. As a former state representative, mayor, City Council member and past chair of the Sullivan County delegation and Finance Committee, Gagnon thoroughly understands the issues county commissioners must deliberate on and has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to work with local governments effectively.

I know he will be fair, frugal and focused on resolving the challenges confronting our county.

Please join me and write in Ray Gagnon for Sullivan County commissioner on your ballot in next month’s primary.

LIZA DRAPER

Claremont

Beatriz Pastor is dedicated to equal internet access

I couldn’t tune in live for the New Hampshire Senate District 5 debate hosted on July 21 by the Lebanon Democrats — but I was thrilled I could watch it later on YouTube. The digital campaign season presents many challenges for candidates and organizers, but it also offers an opportunity to make politics more convenient and more accessible.

At least, it would be, if everyone had high-speed, broadband internet.

We all have firsthand knowledge about the importance of broadband access to education and the economy, based on our transition to remote learning and working from home. I had to upgrade my internet speed this spring so my son could participate in class over Zoom. Shifting my work at the Hopkins Center to the digital world also demanded a lot of bandwidth — literally. I live in Lebanon, so I was able to get adequate internet speeds most of the time, but my colleagues in Lyme and Plainfield have really struggled.

District 5 Democrats anticipated broadband access would be critical to bring New Hampshire schools and companies into the 21st century. In 2012, I worked as the campaign manager for former District 5 Sen. David Pierce. Broadband was a key issue even then, and one of our strongest allies was Beatriz Pastor, who, as a state representative for Lyme, co-sponsored a bill in 2011 to fund broadband development. Our current District 5 senator, Martha Hennessey, has been instrumental in co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill to address the gaps in broadband service in response to our immediate crisis, and she endorses Pastor to fill her seat in the New Hampshire Senate and continue the fight.

This is not just about education and the economy anymore. It’s about access to telehealth care. It’s about equal participation in the arts, religious services and community events. And it’s about access to the political process.

Beatriz Pastor is a visionary leader, dedicated to our equal access to this essential service that impacts every aspect of our lives, and she has my vote to be our next senator for District 5.

JOHANNA EVANS

Lebanon

Sue Prentiss will deliver results as state senator

We support Sue Prentiss to be the next New Hampshire state senator from District 5. We have seen her deliver results, as a Lebanon’s mayor and a city councilor. Her work has been a force in shaping the kind of community we want to live in, and she will take this experience to Concord.

Time and time again we have seen results, including pressing for state funding for the cleanup of the Westboro Rail Yard, supporting mobile intervention teams for mental health and substance use crises, mobilizing the cultural economy through the establishment of an Arts and Culture Commission, joining the fight against climate change and initiating the city’s first inclusiveness resolution.

The work of our local elected officials matters.

PETE BLEYLER and RUTH BLEYLER

West Lebanon

Our feeling of unity is gone

Earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, as awareness of the enormity of the danger and the self-discipline required in order to minimize it grew, people encouraged one another by saying, “We’re all in this together.” That seemed true for a while. Sadly, not anymore.

Initially, despite many disparities that separated us, there was a shared sense of duty to protect ourselves and others from a common enemy by heeding the science-based guidance of medical experts. Most Americans fulfilled those responsibilities — social distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing. There was a wonderful feeling of unity about our shared efforts not only to protect ourselves, but to protect each other.

But, by rejecting science and encouraging a shallow and selfish individualism, President Donald Trump and his enablers have destroyed that unity. The president encouraged gun-toting extremists and, until recently, not only refused to wear a mask but twisted the wearing of one into a partisan issue. Every day he sends messages that contradict his own medical experts. Many Americans have taken this resistance to science as authorizing them to dispense with mask-wearing and other precautions — thus putting the rest of us at risk and enabled infections and deaths to rise.

The virus is a surging threat. By now, we could have largely defeated it if our leaders hadn’t divided us.

Instead, we face the grim prospect of tens of thousands more deaths. What an outrage! What a tragedy!

STEVE GEHLERT

West Newbury

Mail delivery worries are here

The Oval office has expressed its “concern” about the Postal Service delivery of absentee November ballots on time. That “concern” is already here. On July 22 I mailed a priority mail package to an out-of-state address. The expected delivery day was July 27. On July 31 I received mail postmarked July 28 from White River Junction. I live in White River Junction!

BEVERLY S. WEEKS

White River Junction

A mask is just a step too far

Forum contributor Dick Mackay likened Hanover’s mask requirements to Jim Crow discrimination (“New reason to avoid Hanover,” Aug. 6). The day anyone of color can choose whether or not to experience discrimination is the day others get to make a comparison like that and have it in any way be meaningful.

No one wants him to stay away because of the color of his skin, an unchangeable part of his body. We want him to stay away because the science says he’s more likely to spread COVID-19 without a mask. We ask that he take the absolute smallest step to help protect his fellow man and this, somehow, is just a step too far. More than 150,000 dead Americans and some people want to treat a face mask like it’s a 5-inch battle flag instead of an easy and effective weapon against the actual enemy. This isn’t discrimination or bigotry. It’s public health. He is the one making this political.

Quite frankly, if he’s not wearing a mask, I’d prefer he go ahead an avoid Lebanon, too. I’m a bit envious of Hanover’s assertiveness in this matter. Masks aren’t me vs. you. They’re us vs. the disease.

TRACY WINDT

Lebanon




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