Forum, Aug. 9: These Questions Will Be on the Test

Wednesday, August 08, 2018
These Questions Will Be on the Test

I appreciated reading that Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand, the two major candidates seeking to oppose incumbent New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, see education as a priority in the forthcoming election in November (“N.H. Democrats Face Off for Nomination,” Aug. 4). Either candidate would be an improvement over the incumbent who, despite evidence to the contrary, promotes the idea that New Hampshire public schools are “failing” and already have sufficient funding.

But as an independent who is likely to vote in the primary as a Democrat, I have some specific questions for each of these front-running candidates about public education policy:

What is your position on the debate over the existing funding formula? Would you propose a budget that provides enough money to fully fund the stabilization grant so that property-poor towns are no longer short-changed? If not, what solution would you offer to address the funding disparities that exist?

What is your position on the Legislature’s proposal to create education savings accounts?

What is your reaction to the governor’s assertion that the courts play no role in determining the fairness of education funding?

Would you replace Sununu’s appointee, Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut, who is an outspoken advocate of vouchers? If so, what kind of qualifications would you use to select his successor?

How will you raise the money required to fully fund public schools and keep your pledge to make post-secondary education more affordable?

We have five weeks left before the primary election to determine who will oppose Sununu in November. A response to these questions will help me determine which candidate will make public education a priority.

Wayne Gersen


Return the Power to the People

As the election season nears, it is vital that we Vermonters vet the candidates running for governor to determine who has the best plan to restore economic prosperity to the state we so dearly love.

We are in desperate need of change. We can no longer continue down the current path of government mismanagement for which we pay the price with ever-increasing taxes.

We need a leader who makes our state’s economic recovery his actual top priority. We need a governor who will not violate his oath of office for personal political gain.

We need a leader we can trust.

I am supporting Keith Stern for governor in the Aug. 14 primary because he is not running to secure a political legacy. He is running to rightfully return power to the people. I hope you will join me in giving your vote to Stern.

Michele Mauti

Cavendish, Vt.

A Responsibility to All Vermonters

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is seeking a second term as our governor. He has been criticized by the gun constituency for recently signing new gun restrictions into law. We the public need laws that try to stop the wild proliferation of random school massacres in our country.

The Fair Haven incident this past spring, a very close call, is a case in point. It put Scott between a rock and a hard place. He knew his legislation would disappoint gun owners, but knew that he has a higher calling to answer to all the citizens of the state of Vermont. He has an obligation, duty and responsibility to all Vermonters in protecting their safety and well-being.

Although he knew his decision would disappoint some of his gun enthusiast supporters, he could not be false to what he knew to be right. This took a lot of soul searching but he knew it was the right decision.

All of us, both gun owners and nonowners, must back him now and show our support for his decision by voting for Gov. Phil Scott in the August primary.

Letitia H. Rydjeski


Supply of Antibiotics Under Threat

The articles about antibiotic resistance and how research and development of new antibiotics is diminishing due to negative market forces (“Antibiotics Under the Microscope: In Urgent Care, Patients With Colds or Flu Get Antibiotics” and “Another Major Drugmaker Pulls Out of Research and Development for Antibiotics,” July 23) illustrate the terrifying possibility that we may be returning to a pre-antibiotic era in medical care and public health protection.

One answer to the business case for antibiotics was suggested: long-term public support for research and for assuring markets for what is developed.

This is reminiscent of the situation regarding vaccines in the 1980s. Questions of vaccine safety combined with large jury awards in vaccine safety lawsuits were resulting in vaccine manufacturers leaving the market.

The threat of no one remaining to research, create and manufacture vaccines was very real.

In response, the government essentially determined that vaccines were a public trust and manufacturers needed, among other things, the resources to help develop and market improved vaccines as well as guaranteed markets for their vaccine products.

For the health and protection of our nation, it is vital that our government look at this strategy as a solution to the crisis facing our antibiotic supply chain and lifeline.

Paul Etkind


What’s in Your Wallet?

During the week of June 18, I lost my wallet in the four blocks between our bank and our home. My husband and I did a cursory search of the area but returned home empty-handed to cancel credit cards, and we drove to Newport so I could replace my driver’s license.

On Aug. 3, when my husband went out to get the Valley News, he reported to me that we’d had another delivery: He had found my wallet on our back step (right where, last summer, two of Mink’s triplet bear cubs had been sniffing around our kitchen door before they were scared off).

After checking the contents, I knew nothing had been removed from the wallet, including the cash. But the wallet was filthy, smelled and looked like it had been in the woods or at the side of the road. The paper money was moldy.

I hope the kind person who took the time to return my wallet sees this.

And how reassuring, during these tumultuous times, it is to know that there are honest, caring folks who take the time to do good deeds. Thank you, whoever you are.

Even the wallet — after some saddle soap, baking soda, and white vinegar — has many years left in it.

Kay Litten