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Forum, Aug. 25: Prentiss brings people together

Published: 8/24/2020 10:00:15 PM
Modified: 8/24/2020 10:00:12 PM
Prentiss brings people together

Achieving results requires the ability to bring people together and a commitment to hard work. I know this from my work on the Mascoma School renovation project and with Friends of Mascoma. Sue Prentiss has spent 30 years achieving results as a paramedic, a public safety and health care professional and as an 11-year local official. This is why I’m supporting her for state Senate in the Sept. 8 primary.

Local service matters. As a local official — I chair the Enfield Selectboard — I know how broad our issues are, ranging from infrastructure to property tax relief, energy-efficiency and renewable energy, recreation, labor unions, and budgeting. As a city councilor and mayor, Sue has built a broad range of experience that makes her well-suited to dealing with the issues that come before a state senator.

Sue’s extensive background in crisis management also makes her uniquely qualified to serve in the New Hampshire Senate during the current public health crisis and the post-COVID-19 recovery. This goes back to her time on the state level where she rose through the ranks to become the state’s first female bureau chief of emergency medical services. For 30 years, Sue has been in the field, in an emergency room, in an emergency operations center or at a desk managing crises and protecting the public. Her work included a collaboration with public health that resulted in vaccine distribution on a larger scale throughout New Hampshire during the H1N1 flu outbreak, pushing it out through the public health networks that already exist. This is vital experience at a time like this, and it is why Sue is calling for a dry run using the upcoming flu season to prepare our public health networks for the time when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

Sue’s demonstrated leadership at the local and state levels shows that she will bring people together around common goals to achieve results for all of our communities in Concord.

Kate Plumley Stewart

Enfield

Prentiss listens to her constituents

Sue Prentiss is a good listener, an essential strength of character that will serve her well in the New Hampshire Senate.

Sue does not just listen. She integrates what she hears from you or me with what she hears from all others, building on her own opinions and values.

We in Lebanon have seen how Sue listens carefully to everyone — all her constituents, her colleagues in city government, anyone, from anywhere, with information to provide or an opinion to register in the debate.

That is why she is skilled at building consensus on challenging issues. She knows when to seek compromise, when to hold out for the solution she believes is right, and when to be convinced by others to reconsider a position.

As a Lebanon city counselor and former mayor, Sue has enthusiastically taken on the most difficult issues facing the city, always with a goal of finding practical and ethical solutions. Many of these have statewide or national importance.

She is currently one of two council members on the current mayor’s Welcoming Lebanon Ordinance Task Force, serving with other residents representing a range of interests. The task force is systematically building a workable ordinance that preserves the full intent of the ballot initiative passed by city voters in March, with all their work in open meetings available online so all who have a stake in the outcome can participate.

Sue relates to and shows genuine interest in a diverse community far beyond Lebanon’s borders. Her service work in health care and public safety at the local, state, and national levels has prepared her for the important work in the New Hampshire Senate.

District 5 includes towns from Charlestown and Claremont in the south to Lyme and Hanover in the north, Canaan and Enfield in the east, all surrounding Cornish, Plainfield, and Lebanon.

We need a senator who can represent the residents of these vastly different communities. Sue has shown that she knows how to do that. Please vote for her in the Sept. 8 Democratic primary.

Philip Bush

West Lebanon

A plan to serve all, regardless of party

This election year is going to be one for the history books. This is going to be one of those times where you simply bring up the topic of politics and everyone shakes their head and wants out of the conversation. We are dealing with people at both ends of the spectrum, both left and right.

There are ways in which both sides are remarkably similar though. Vermont small business owners want to have a full staff and be able to make a profit so they can expand. Families want to bring their children to sporting events, extra-curricular activities and be able to do so without hearing arguments in the parking lots over a bumper sticker showing support for their candidate. Farmers want to be able to use their farmlands and keep their farms going just like their families did for generations before them. Most Vermonters just want to enjoy the life that not so long ago was considered normal.

I think everyone is scared and during a political year, I believe people are deciding to vote for whoever is the loudest in the right or the left. I simply ask that you read information on both sides of the aisle and make an honest judgment off all the facts you collect. I encourage you to read my information on my campaign page and hear about how I want to help those in Vermont regardless of political party affiliation. I do not want to spend my time if elected in Montpelier as a barb wire fence pushing each side away. I would much rather be a bridge and get both sides of the aisle working together for the people of Vermont. I believe that politics was never meant to be a career, but a service to the people. I have served in many roles of and would like to do my best in the Vermont Legislature. Email me if you have any questions, jacobholmesvt@gmail.com. Thank you.

Jacob Holmes

Hartland

The writer is a Republican candidate for the Windsor 1 House district.

Hanover, Norwich need
creative school solutions

Dresden schools are small enough that there must be more creative ways to use facilities and staff than opening all schools five days per week, which is an accident waiting to happen.

Consider offering four to five days per week in school for the lower grades, with smaller classes and more classroom space to allow distancing, proper hygiene and mask wearing. This year can be a “catch up” year for all our children who haven’t been in school since last March.

Create the best teaching and learning environments by age group with teachers working as follows:

■ Place grades K-4 in two schools: Marion Cross and The Ray School.

■ Place grades five and six in the Richmond School.

■ Place grades 7-12 online.

■ Keep HHS open for teachers to get their materials and to meet and support each other’s remote curriculum efforts. Do not expect teachers to develop both online and classroom plans.

We know that older kids have a better chance to succeed with remote learning and younger children cannot be safely left alone. We know that younger children need socialization and training in the three Rs and other life skills that elementary teachers provide. Families with older kids might be able to form neighborhood bonds with other parents taking turns so some parents can continue to work and older kids would have some adults around. Adults would not be the teachers, but would support and oversee the lessons that the secondary teachers have provided. If older students do not take their work seriously, there is time to repeat the year next fall. As a former Hanover High teacher, we were encouraged to assume that students would act responsibly and most of them did. If not, there can be consequences, just like in any other school year.

Finally, if teachers were invited to brainstorm and felt part of the plan, they would find a solution to keep the lower grades in schools and the upper grades continuing successful online learning.

Melinda Stucker

Norwich

In search of America’s true beauty

America is truly beautiful; from sea to shining sea. And yet, as our population grows and our ability to travel and communicate expands, we experience changing tensions that are clearly not so beautiful.

The physical struggles experienced over the past millennium have largely become surmountable. But the mental or political struggles have become more prevalent. Right now, in 2020, the pathways to harmony and a more perfect union do not seem clear. Even the concept of spirituality is not an obvious arbiter of the gaps we experience.

This is a time, more so than ever, to reflect on the truest beauty of America.

David Briggs

White River Junction

Vermont should go back to ‘plan A’
for health care

What could be more absurd during a pandemic than a health insurance rate increase hearing? This is exactly what happened at the annual public meeting of the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB). How did we go from passing Act 48 (plan A) — Vermont’s publicly funded, universal, accessible and affordable health care system that would have benefited 93% of Vermonters — to this unaffordable and inaccessible profit-driven system?

Plan A was an opportunity to give people the health care we need and lower costs. The GMCB was created to transition from the old to the new. The political will was simply not there to support it. Instead we got plan B. Now the board manages insurance company rates, hospital budgets; and a complex mechanism of payment reform called OneCareVT (OCV) — privately owned by DHMC and UVMMC. The GMCB, as OCV’s regulator, is armed with speculative health targets that they have yet to meet. They are short on attributed lives (that’s us) and use Medicaid dollars to increase administrative bloat. What they don’t provide is health care.

The heartbreaking testimony during this year’s hearing did not prevent another increase. Rates have increased a total of 56% in six years. Completely unaffordable before and even more so now.

Montpelier has gone along with this scheme, but should not rubber stamp OCV for another five years when it is up for reauthorization in 2022. The VT State Auditor — increasingly worried about administrative cost creep, lack of accountability and manipulation of the targets — has done a thorough report. Our legislators must read the audit to fully understand what is at stake.

I want to return to plan A; let’s end the agreement with OCV. Instead, expand Medicaid and put the money back into our communities where it will provide health care. Join me in telling our legislators to refuse to reauthorize OneCareVT and get us back on track.

Sharon Racusin

Norwich




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