Forum, Jan. 27: Vermont Is Not ‘Desperate for Workers’

Friday, January 26, 2018
Vt. Not ‘Desperate for Workers’

Concerning the VtDigger story about the recent detention of illegal immigrants working for a construction company, (“ICE Raids Days Inn in Colchester, Vt.; Fourteen Migrant Workers Detained,” Jan. 23) the story quoted Gov. Phil Scott as saying: “Obviously I have great concern about the overreach of the federal government in some respects and the direction we’re moving. ... And while we have to protect our citizens, our border and so forth, there’s got to be a path forward. We here in Vermont are desperate for workers.”

Here is my reply to that: Cow manure.

I happen to be a construction worker, a self-employed home remodeler. In 2013, I worked on the Interstate 91 bridge in Windsor until completion, when I was laid off. I live in Vermont. All my work is in New Hampshire. I can find no work in Vermont despite spending money on advertising. Not one call in six months. In 2013, I owned a house in Bethel. Because of rising taxes and a lack of work, I was forced to sell — at a loss — and move in with my mother in New Hampshire. Thus I am an economic migrant from Vermont who has now returned. I still find it necessary to commute an hour back to New London to find work.

Good manners and the bounds of propriety restrain me from saying more about Gov. Scott at this time. Suffice it to say he is a politician. Vermont is not desperate for construction workers. It is very hard for construction workers to find work in Vermont and to support themselves on what they earn here. Many Vermonters seem to feel they can opt out of the Union. Their attitudes toward federal law enforcement are reminders of the pre-Civil War days. They fancy they are running a new Underground Railroad for illegal immigrants.

Personally, I am pleased to see that 14 illegal construction workers were picked up in Colchester. I wish they all could be. And I think the employer in question should be put out of business.

Tyler Pierce Harwell


Keeping Tiny Chelsea Vital

Recently, nearly 90 people came out in Chelsea and braved the cold for a potluck dinner to have conversation about our community. The event was the result of discussion started by the town Planning Board in which the question has been asked during multiple meetings, “How do we keep our tiny town vital?”

During the evening enthusiasm and ideas flowed freely in the crowd mixed with longtime residents and newcomers, young families and older residents. Like many small communities in New England that have lost commerce, schools and industry, Chelsea, as described by Nicola Smith in her recent article (“Residents Worry Chelsea Is Losing Its Core Institutions,” Jan. 20), wonders, quite frankly, “What is next?” While places can never return to what we remember as children, there is only possibility when energy and love of a place is injected. Many people left feeling energized and ready to dig in. It was encouraging and I felt so honored to be a member of this community that has so much heart. Well done, Chelsea. Thank you for a wonderful evening.

Carrie Caouette-De Lallo


N.H. Health Bills a Way Forward

To clarify the agenda that packed two New Hampshire Statehouse rooms, there were actually four related House bills presented to the Commerce Committee on Medicare for All on Jan. 12.

The immediately feasible bills (HB 1241 and HB 1516) would create a commission to study innovative consolidation of existing federal, state and county funding to provide universal health care coverage to New Hampshire residents. Such a study commission includes multiple statewide stakeholders from business, industry, insurance, hospitals, physicians, faith organizations and labor, as well as legislators.

As we await national reform to create Medicare for All, as supported by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., these bills offer a New Hampshire commission or one studying a pact of New England states.

Hardship, bankruptcy and poor health from delaying care due to inadequate coverage are not an inevitable byproduct of modern medicine. If you can’t envision how America can provide innovative, high-quality, efficient health coverage, you needn’t look across borders — just ask a neighbor on Medicare.

Kenneth Dolkart


An Alternate Pathway

An ancient proverb teaches that, “Whenever you point a finger of scorn, look at your own hand and you will see three fingers pointing back at you.”

Who would not apply this lesson to the current disgrace on the Potomac? And was Mark Twain justified when he characterized Congress as “the grand old benevolent National Asylum for the helpless”?

Remember when Congress passed the balanced-budget and deficit-control bill known as Gramm-Rudman-Hollings? But do you also recall how pork-barrelers in both chambers circumvented it by labeling earmarks as “nonbudget?”

Wisely, the Constitution provides in Article V an alternate pathway to be taken by three-fourths of the states: an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that absolutely mandates full government funding absolutely.

We the people demand it. Nothing could be more timely.

John E. Jersey