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Forum, Oct. 14: Criticism of Rep.’s attendance was unjustified

Published: 10/13/2020 10:00:11 PM
Modified: 10/13/2020 10:00:08 PM
Criticism of Rep.’s attendance was unjustified

A recent letter in the monthly Plainfield newsletter PlainFacts levies a series of unjustified accusations at the Sullivan 1 district incumbent, state Rep. Lee Oxenham. Utilizing a partial dataset, the letter charges Oxenham with showing up and doing her job “less than half the time,” alleging “120 absences” and concluding — with spurious precision — that she missed 54.36% of the votes.

I have worked closely with Oxenham over the past six years and know she is an unusually diligent and committed representative. She also has a stellar attendance record, averaging two absences in each of the preceding five years. Absent severe illness in March, this year would have been no different. More important, session attendance barely scratches the surface of a legislator’s work.

Preparing legislation, participating in public hearings, serving on one’s committee (where the real work gets done), attending conferences (in person and by Zoom), and meeting with stakeholders and agency personnel, require far more effort. Oxenham also went beyond these standard measures by serving as committee clerk — a demanding, thankless and time-consuming leadership position. She serves nobly as House lead for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, educating the state’s legislators on issues from water pollution and plastics to carbon pricing.

Not responding to emails was another charge. House members deal with thousands of emails, letters and phone calls — seeking assistance, offering advice, lobbying for votes, and sometimes including personal attacks and even threats. Triage is necessary. Machine-generated and ideologically driven messages are rarely returned, in order that positive work can be accomplished.

Finally, Oxenham’s record of constituent service runs from her lobbying to keep Route 12A open during its reconstruction last summer to investigating speeding in Cornish and crosswalks in both Meriden and Plainfield. During this pandemic year, she helped residents obtain long-delayed unemployment assistance and prevented one resident from losing her home. In another case, her investigation of a minor variation in a constituent’s name on different documents averted a possible threat of her ballot being invalidated in the upcoming election.

Please support Rep. Lee Oxenham in November.

MARTHA HENNESSEY

Hanover

The writer represents District 5 in the New Hampshire Senate.

Vote for candidates who have integrity

My grandmother, Mabelle Merritt, lived her rural farm life from 1895-2000. When Gram was in her 90s, I asked if she would be voting that fall. Drawing her short self taller she said, “I know what it is to not have the privilege of voting. I will never miss voting in any election.” In tribute to my suffragette Gram, and because all of our lives are truly at risk this year, I urge everyone to vote.

Please vote for candidates with integrity who believe in science, support an adequate minimum wage, affordable health care for all, paid family medical leave, actions to protect our vulnerable Earth from climate change, and international relations that respect all people. I am proud to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — choosing truth over lies seems fundamental to government. Biden isn’t the nominee I initially supported, but he is sincere, surrounds himself with wise people and has my respect for the way he is campaigning.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu supports President Donald Trump and has vetoed a record number of bills, including those with bipartisan support. State Sen. Dan Feltes has a much stronger record of actions that benefit ordinary people, not corporations. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s experience is especially valuable in this divided time. As a dietitian and diabetes educator, I appreciate her support for affordable health care for all. Health care should be a right, not a privilege.

I urge your vote to reelect state Rep. Linda Tanner, who works hard on behalf of fair education funding, accessible mental health care and environmental protections. She truly has the strong, honest voice her campaign signs promote.

I wish you all could meet Jenn Alford-Teaster, candidate for state Senate in District 8. Her vigor, warmth and intelligent problem-solving mindset are just what we need. Her compassion is remarkable, quite a contrast to her opponent, who has stated that people should work harder if they don’t have enough savings to cover unexpected medical expenses.

Please vote blue.

HOPE DAMON

Croydon

Sue Prentiss’ experience matters

I’ve known Sue Prentiss for more than 20 years and I encourage you to vote for her in the New Hampshire District 5 Senate race. As an emergency nurse, I know her best through her work with the emergency medical services community. For more than 22 years, she has helped develop EMS and public health infrastructure in New Hampshire. During this time, she led the EMS response to both SARS and H1N1, large public health emergencies we experienced in New Hampshire. Her efforts resulted in paramedics becoming part of our vaccination team and they will play a role in the deployment of seasonal flu vaccine this year, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available. Now, more than ever, this experience matters in our Legislature. Prentiss is a team player who seeks consensus and weighs the facts and alternatives before making a decision. I have watched her encourage others to do the same. She is approachable and fair-minded.

Her core priorities of health, education, social justice, renewable energy, broadband access and economic recovery for all reflect values that serve and protect everyone, not just the wealthy. It is no surprise that she received the endorsement of both the AFL-CIO and the National Education Association-NH in the primary. She will work across the aisle for the good of the entire district.

Her work in public service at the local and state levels has prepared her to take this next step and I urge you to vote for Sue Prentiss on Nov. 3, if not sooner via absentee ballot. Learn more about her experience and platform at prentissfornhsenate.com/who-i-am.

JEAN A. PROEHL

Cornish

Important to elect David Zuckerman

I heard from two friends who are considering voting to reelect Vermont Gov. Phil Scott this November. I would call both of them progressives, and I am stunned. David Zuckerman is a bright, honest, responsible person, an organic farmer and a politician. Any two of these attributes make him a rare candidate for governor.

When I asked these friends to explain, one said she thought Scott had done a great job in dealing with COVID-19. The other said he liked to see a balance of power in the Statehouse.

Scott has vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage. He has vetoed a bill to give paid family leave. He has vetoed a bill trying to start to address global warming. To me, these bills were about making Vermont a better place to live for all of us. Zuckerman, like most of us, supported all of these bills.

The real clincher in this election is the incredible power that the governor will have should one of our spectacular U.S. senators retire or die before his term ends. Bernie Sanders is 79, and Patrick Leahy is 80. Both are healthy and continue to serve us in Washington. But people do die or retire at some point. In the current reality, a number of U.S. senators have contracted COVID-19. Should either of our senators die, then the governor will appoint a successor until a special election six months later. This could literally change the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

Should Sanders and Leahy choose not to run again, then the most likely candidates to fill their seats will be U.S. Rep. Peter Welch and whoever is serving as governor at the time.

Right now we see moderate Republican senators like Mitt Romney announcing they will vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. They are voting along party lines, not for the candidate they would prefer.

I urge you to vote for David Zuckerman in November.

DAVE CHAPMAN

East Thetford

Ed Rajsteter won’t just vote party line

I join many others in urging the voters of Haverhill, Bath, Benton, Easton, Landaff, Orford, Piermont and Warren to vote for Ed Rajsteter for state representative.

He is a thoughtful person who has shown his dedication to public service by his work on behalf of the Friends of Grafton County Drug Court. I am confident that he will listen, consider the views of his constituents and won’t be someone who just votes the party line.

I am also concerned by the out-of-state money that is being spent to support his opponent, David Binford. Having received Binford’s mailings, I checked out the website containing his name, and it took me to a political organization in Virginia. Further, a week or two prior to the primary, a young man with Texas plates on his vehicle was campaigning for him door-to-door. When I inquired, this man acknowledged that he had been paid to drive up to New Hampshire to work for Binford. Others in town said they had met him, too.

The choice is clear: Vote Ed Rajsteter for the Grafton 15 district. Thank you.

DOUGLASS TESCHNER

Pike

Trump will destroy Social Security

You who so love President Donald Trump, you gave your only begotten life! Trump, if reelected, said he intends to destroy Social Security by terminating the payroll tax that supports it.

If you don’t need Social Security now, someone you know does — and you will.

Trump and his Republican pals earnestly seek those funds to play on Wall Street (the “privatize Social Security” rot) or to take it away altogether.

Your 401(k) will be raided by Wall Street investors as best they can.

Vote for Trump to destroy your old age.

VICKI WARD

Barnard

A $400 million idea

I was so amused by Philip Glouchevitch’s recent Forum letter (“Deal Trump can’t refuse,” Oct. 3). Whether his proposed resolution for dealing with a part of Trump’s apparent tax problem was intended as a serious or fanciful suggestion, I don’t know. But it sure seemed worthy of consideration.

Glouchevitch suggested, if The New York Times reporting was accurate, that our “country’s billionaires” offer Trump a deal to buy out his $400 million debt, thus leaving him debt free, on the condition that he not run for reelection.

An added benefit from this proposal might be that those of us who have a more meager lifestyle could be nudged to develop a better attitude toward our billionaire population.

My only concern is that it might take too long to implement.

The election is only a few weeks away. Be sure to vote.

LINDA BARTON

West Lebanon




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