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Forum, Sept. 23: Thanks to the voters in NH Senate District 5

Published: 9/22/2020 10:00:06 PM
Modified: 9/22/2020 10:00:01 PM
Thanks to the voters in NH Senate District 5

I would like to express heartfelt thanks to the voters in New Hampshire Senate District 5 for their confidence.

I am proud to be your Democratic nominee for the state Senate, representing Canaan, Charlestown, Claremont, Cornish, Enfield, Hanover, Lebanon, Lyme and Plainfield. We saw record turnout on Sept. 8 — by both absentee and in-person voters. The recount of this race has concluded, and the Secretary of State has certified the election results. The recount confirmed that all voters — whether absentee or in-person — can have full confidence in our local election process.

I recognize that not all the ballots in this race were cast for me, and I respect Beatriz Pastor and her supporters. With the primary behind us, I invite all of us to join together as we move on to the general election. There is room for all at our table. Building a more prosperous, inclusive New Hampshire is my priority, and I will fight for all of us in the state Senate.

During this campaign, I have traveled our district via Zoom and sometimes in-person — socially distanced — to meet with voters, and had the pleasure to speak with so many of you over the phone.

I hear you. We face uncertain times. We are worried about many of the same issues: the impacts of the public health crisis, the fight against climate change, the crushing burden of property taxes, fair and equal funding of education, racial and social justice, protection of reproductive rights, expansion of broadband access, affordable health care, and more. I am committed to advancing real progress on these issues as a state senator. Please visit my website, www.prentissfornhsenate.com, to learn more.

To the staff and many volunteers who came forward to assist with my campaign, I say a big “thank you.” Your dedication is key to a successful campaign and is needed now more than ever as we head to Nov. 3. I look forward to working together to build a more prosperous, inclusive New Hampshire for all of us.


West Lebanon

A failure to moderate the public debate

I was shocked and appalled to read William A. Wittik’s recent Forum submission (“There’s nothing civil about what’s going on in America,” Sept. 19).

I did some quick research regarding his claims and found no information outside of the right-wing media sphere of Fox News, the Daily Mail and The Federalist to back his assertion. As a matter of fact, if you go beyond those sources, you will find that this training program has been in place for years without controversy.

Counter to the letter’s claim, Seattle employees were not asked to “undo their whiteness,” but rather to “examine their complicity in the system of white supremacy” — an activity we should all engage in if we are to heal the racial wounds in our country.

I can only assume that the kerfuffle is in response to the call by President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr for reporting instances of “critical race theory” — an insidious term if ever there was one and a concept labeled un-American by the president and attorney general. If you don’t travel exclusively in Tucker Carlson’s circle, you may know this as the very normal and humdrum undertaking of “diversity training” and “American history.” To label a critical review of America’s racial and, yes, racist history as un-American is unconscionable and, frankly, dangerous.

The letter goes on to attack “the Squad” and call into question the factual circumstances of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s defense of herself from a vitriolic and misogynistic attack — an attack that was overheard by a reporter from The Hill.

Freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas are the cornerstone of our democracy. However, debates in the public square must necessarily be made in good faith and based on facts and reason. William A. Wittik’s submission was neither. The editor of the Forum is the gatekeeper of this public square and has a responsibility to the community to moderate in such a way that allows for free and honest debate. In this case, the editor failed.



Carl Demrow gives our towns a needed voice

Carl Demrow is completing his first term as representative for the towns of Williamstown, Chelsea, Orange, Washington, Vershire and Corinth, and he has earned my vote for a second term.

His quick acclamation to the workings of the Statehouse has made him an influential member of the Legislature, giving our rural towns a needed voice. He brings to the job an ability to see the big picture and at the same time sweat out the details. He knows what fiscal responsibility means and cares about how state decisions affect all of his constituents

We are lucky to have him as our representative and I ask that you join me in reelecting Carl Demrow in November.



Larry Satcowitz will be effective in the House

Please consider joining me in supporting Larry Satcowitz, who will be outstanding as our representative in the Statehouse. He is running for one of the two seats representing Braintree, Brookfield, Granville, Randolph and Roxbury.

As a Randolph Selectboard member, he has demonstrated common sense and improved the quality of communication between his constituents and the Selectboard. He is a good listener and adept at navigating the sometimes-conflicting interests of citizens and efficient governance. I have known him from many spheres of Randolph life — neighbor, friend, fellow Selectboard member, town committees, the old Co-op board. In each of these, he exudes genuine character and gentle demeanor, but strong values. Don’t be deceived by his quiet public manner. He can be counted on for coming to thoughtful, reasonable opinions and decisions after due diligence. He also seems to thrive on hearing from different viewpoints and encourages contact from anyone who wants to meet him.

Admirably, he is not seeking office with an agenda, other than the common good. That trait, coupled with his demonstrated ability to dig deeply on diverse issues, is why I think Larry Satcowitz will be effective in the House.


Randolph Center

Please don’t vote for me

It has become clear to me that I can’t be elected to serve as representative for our district of Cavendish and Weathersfield. I wish I could, but I can’t take my name off the ballot, so I want to urge folks not to vote for me. This election means a lot to us, doesn’t it? We want every vote to count — and a vote for me would only take away from someone who is worthy to serve. I have been lifted up by the support of my extended family and friends. Thank you. I am praying for our candidates, and for the best.



Senate should override Scott climate bill veto

As has long been the case but is now alarmingly apparent, concerns about global climate change and ecological collapse are not hypothetical. We can see the West Coast burning, ice shelves collapsing and record temperatures ratcheting up each year. Now is the time for decisive action to protect our planet for future generations.

Being a resident of her district, I want to express my gratitude to Vermont state Sen. Alice Nitka for her support of the Global Warming Solutions Act, and to encourage her to follow in the House’s footsteps in overriding Gov. Phil Scott’s inexcusable veto of this vital legislation.



Trump has nothing to offer America but fear

I was saddened by the revelations by journalist Bob Woodward that President Donald Trump fully understood the dangers posed by the global pandemic but failed to act because he did not want to panic the American people. I am skeptical about this claim.

President Trump has not shied away from fanning the flames of fear and panic in response to mostly peaceful demonstrations associated with Black Lives Matter. He has not shied away from painting a collective nightmare that supposedly awaits Americans if they elect former Vice President Joe Biden. This is the same Joe Biden who has been in politics for 50 years, who counts among his friends a range of politicians from Lindsay Graham to Bernie Sanders. In his statements, Trump has nothing to offer but fear itself, a fear that engenders panic.

If we assume that Trump really did not want to panic the American people about COVID-19, that would not explain why he did not quietly begin to gather adequate surgical gowns and masks for first responders. It does not explain why he told governors that the federal government should not be the source of these materials and that the states were on their own. It would not explain why he re-tweeted the most baseless conspiracy theories. It does not explain why he held rallies without adequate social distancing and masks to safeguard the health of his loyal followers. It does not explain why he belittled the wearing of masks, why he tried to force schools to reopen even if it was not safe, or why he tried to muzzle scientists.

Donald Trump found the COVID-19 crisis threatened his presidency. Rather than worrying about the American people, he worried about his political future. Had he risen to the occasion and dealt effectively with the virus, he would have been seen by many in heroic terms. Our president panicked.



The collective failure of the American people

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a treasure, now lost forever to the Supreme Court, to her family and to all of us. There will be little time spent mourning. While I hope we get a real chance to reflect on her legacy, in the meantime there is sure to be a lot of hand-wringing — some in frustration, some in morbid anticipation. But rest assured, the Senate will likely seat a justice in her stead before the next president is inaugurated.

Scream all you want, in joy or sorrow. But remember this: However you feel, it is primarily because we cannot collectively make the laws necessary to bring certain important issues out of the hands of the judiciary.

Women are second-class citizens because we cannot pass an Equal Rights Amendment. Corporations run rampant over our lives, politically and otherwise, because we cannot pass laws preventing them. It is the collective failure of our legislatures that have elevated the Supreme Court to the position it currently holds in all our lives. It is a shame we all bear.

We are so disinterested in our fate and our nation that we struggle even to find enough people to count what few votes we cast. It is we, the American people, who have for too long sat on our hands and blamed others. It is we, the American people, who have stepped aside and chosen comfort over involvement. So when you mourn Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, remember, you mourn her mostly because of what she did.

She set a magnificent example. Will we now try to live up to it, even a little? Please vote, and work the polls if you can.



Exercise your rights before they disappear

For those born after 1973, many rights, especially reproductive rights, have been basic tenets of their lives. Voting rights, though hardly fully formed and disenfranchisement remains a real concern, were likewise a given in their lives.

For these people, it may seem incredible that these rights and many more might be completely obliterated should President Donald Trump be allowed to push through a Supreme Court nomination and a vote in the Senate. President Barack Obama’s nominee was not granted even a hearing because the next presidential election was — wait for it —11 months away. Now we have just 42 days before the election, and we face further mendacity and chicanery by this administration and the Republican Senate.

For those born after 1973, for those who cherish our just rights, I urge you to write your leadership at all levels demanding the same standard set forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before Trump was elected, and I urge you to make a plan to vote in November.

Do whatever you must to exercise your right to vote — or you may find that your right to vote, and other rights, have disappeared.



E-bikes are no kind of improvement

To that list of “new and improved” things that aren’t, please add electric bikes.

The original bicycle, a glory of human civilization, democratized transport and enabled the poor to access two essential means of potentially achieving a middle-class life — better employment and reaching schools beyond a reasonable walking distance.

On a human-powered two-wheeled bike, a 15-year-old Indian girl recently transported her injured father 700 miles to their home because their entire nation was in a coronavirus lockdown. She went a bit farther than one might ordinarily expect, but I’ve seen, in the brutality of a typical Pakistani summer, men transporting their wives and children — sometimes five or more individuals — on an ordinary dinosaur of a bicycle. A bike is often the only ambulance service villagers can hope to access in time to save a life. I knew a guy who brought his wife to the hospital on one.

Why the heck would we allow motorized vehicles on walking and hiking trails? Snowmobile folks, I’m looking at you, too. But then, I’ve recently heard some contempt for walkers from an unexpected quarter, so there’s that.

Unfortunately, we’re too cheap and lazy to create enough bike lanes on our paved roads, and enough sidewalks linking all the disparate areas that together form what we call our neighborhoods, to make this a truly welcoming and fully-accessible community.

There’s no harm-free power source. Even solar requires the plundering of the Earth for rare minerals from which we make those panels. And the manufacture of anything — even a regular old bicycle — engenders pollution and waste. But we must try, as best we can, to do the least damage and provide the most value for every expenditure of energy.

If our bicycling community feels itself unequal — wonderfully nourished and athletic as it is — to match even a fraction of the exertions of underfed economically fragile people everywhere, and thinks the use of e-bikes is any sort of good, it should be ashamed.



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