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Forum, Nov. 2: This Is No Time for Protest Votes


Thursday, November 01, 2018
This Is No Time for Protest Votes

As Progressives who vote blue, many of us are not asking you to simply “vote the party line.” We are asking you to vote against the current unilateral power structure in the most effective way possible.

Right now, with first-past-the-post voting and Citizens United still in place, candidates not acting within the two-party system generally have little or no chance of winning. If you’re not voting for the candidates who can feasibly overthrow the Republicans in power, that means you’re complicit in the system that abets granting positions of power to accused sexual predators, ignoring factual evidence, ridiculing the disabled, suspending rights for human beings based on race or ethnicity, exacerbating economic injustice, restricting the freedom to vote, restricting bodily autonomy for millions of Americans, dismissing opposing perspectives and a slew of other injustices.

The time for protest votes is in primaries. Protest votes for third-party candidates with almost no chance of winning in competitive, bipartisan elections may seem irrelevant to you, but they can harm thousands or millions of other people for whom politics is not merely a game but a key determinant in whether they are safe and free to live a respectful, moral, gainful existence.

Therefore I urge you to vote Democrat, not because it’s the partisan thing to do but because it’s the least partisan thing you can do that may make a change.

Vote for state Reps. Susan Almy, George Sykes and Richard Abel, and for candidate Laurel Stavis; for state Sen. Martha Hennessey; for U.S. Rep Annie Kuster; for gubernatorial candidate Molly Kelly; and for Executive Council candidate Michael Cryans. Your vote need not be for the candidate who fits 100 percent of your values. The time for idealism is in the primaries. Now is the time to vote, because one candidate will win each seat, and without our engagement, the victors cannot be guaranteed to pursue our best interests.

Devin R. Wilkie

Lebanon

Working Together for Hallquist

Whatever it used to be, the racist-approved GOP is now a party owned by multi-millionaires, opposed to even addressing, let alone mitigating, either job or climate instability. Committed to funding tax cuts for the rich by removing social safety nets, it is a party of corrupt abettors of a corrupt president’s war on the environment, the rule of law, world peace and unity, and any part of the government that can’t be monetized. It is a party that can hold power only by lying, gerrymandering and suppressing voting rights. Why fix unsafe infrastructure when you can eliminate voters?

On the other hand, Democrats believe in equal rights, period, and aim to create a humane nation that honors the rule of law. Diversity may look messy, but we value creative problem-solvers who, like so many talented, unsung workers in and out of government, are committed to making this country the best it can be for everyone.

The GOP has pilloried Democrats for promoting investments in safe futures for all citizens, whether through support of families, real health care, functioning infrastructure, or water and air that won’t poison you. Not investing saves nothing. Once infrastructure starts to fail, the price of fixing it only soars as time passes.

Koch PAC funding of Phil Scott’s campaign reminds us that he is linked to a backward-looking party that cannot tell the truth about its aims. Too bad he couldn’t get the GOP to put that money into state infrastructure or support for Vermont families. I bet he won’t do it after the election either.

Christine Hallquist knows that for Vermont to thrive, every household must have access to high-speed internet. She knows the most rewarding goal is to get everyone working together to solve big problems for the benefit of all. She knows because she’s done it. Phil Scott’s refusal to raise taxes isn’t a creative response to a challenge, it’s a refusal to try to create a better future for the state.

Lydia S. Spitzer

North Pomfret

Kuster’s Campaign Donations

I’ve recently been reviewing U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster’s campaign donations in the 2017-2018 season and have found them interesting. Not good, but interesting. Based on recent postings in the Federal Election Committee’s website, it looks like Kuster has been raising money for this election since at least Jan. 1, 2017. One wonders how she had time to do her job as a representative of the people of New Hampshire in Congress.

The origins of these donations are most curious. In 2017-2018, she received a total of $3.2 million (as of October 17). Broken down by state, she received individual itemized contributions amounting to about $850,000 from outside of New Hampshire, significantly more than the approximately $680,000 in New Hampshire donations. The out-of-state donations came from 37 states and the District of Columbia. Why do so many people from outside our state want her to represent us? Or do they just want another rubber stamp for a left-wing agenda? This follows a trend she continued from the 2015-2016 season when she collected about $880,000 from outside New Hampshire, from 41 states and the District of Columbia. Finally, she still has $1.5 million cash on hand.

If you think Annie Kuster is representing the people of New Hampshire, think again. I suggest voting for Steve Negron.

John R. Lohman

Grantham

McKeeman Has Served Us Well

I have worked for a number of years in the public realm, and I have met many types of public servants. Partisanship aside, they range from the admirable to the impossible. I hope I know a good one when I see one. Joyce McKeeman — candidate for assistant judge in Orange County — is one of those individuals.

The role of assistant — or side — judge, while often overlooked or misunderstood, remains an important post in county and court governance. Setting budgets, preserving and maintaining the courthouse, and assisting judges on the bench are first and foremost.

McKeeman has also worked to fully understand this special role, becoming a student of its powers and history. She has been a leading voice in the state organization of assistant judges. She has also been awarded a number of scholarships to the National Judicial College, where she has received additional judicial training. She deserves the support of all Orange County residents who value the responsible and thoughtful workings of government in Vermont. I urge you to vote for Joyce McKeeman on Tuesday. She has served us well.

Peter T. Mallary

Bradford, Vt

Bolton Is Experienced, Dedicated

Bill Bolton is running to be elected as New Hampshire state senator for District 2, representing 27 towns in Grafton County, including Orford, Piermont, Haverhill, Wentworth, Warren and Plymouth, plus a number of towns in Belknap and Merrimack counties.

After working in New Hampshire state government for more than 30 years, Bolton retired as director of a state agency and now chairs the Plymouth Selectboard. A major focus of his campaign is working to protect access to quality, affordable health care for all Granite State residents. Medicaid is now used by some 3,000 people in District 2, and it’s a major tool in combating the opioid epidemic. Bolton supports Medicaid expansion, while his opponent was one of the few in the Senate who voted against it. Bolton also supports increased funding — and effective safety measures — for our public schools, as well as expanding access to community colleges and technical education.

We now have an opportunity to send an experienced, dedicated and effective senator to Concord. I urge you to vote for Bill Bolton on Tuesday.

Carl Schmidt

Orford

Vote for Wholeness and Peace

Most of us have heard about Saturday’s horrific tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The victims had gathered to worship on the Sabbath, the day of completion, wholeness and peace. All of these are contained in the word “shalom,” which is why the greeting of the day is: “Shabbat Shalom.”

With a heavy heart, I’d like to urge voters to vote on Tuesday for candidates who have the wisdom to embrace Shabbat: completion, wholeness and peace.

Judith Kaufman

Cornish