Forum, Nov. 11: What Is the GOP Up To?

Friday, November 10, 2017
What Is the GOP Up To?

I worry about the Republican Party. It is hell bent on suicide. Take tax reform, specifically the House bill. This bizarre document calls for the elimination of the medical tax deduction and the tax exemption for affordable senior housing. By contrast, advanced countries elsewhere provide all of their citizens with low cost — or free — health care and housing subsidies for their elders.

Republicans, I fear, are following the path of the dinosaur and the woolly mammoth.

Robert Belenky


Thank a Veteran in November

Veterans Day is observed on the 11th day of the 11th month in honor of the World War I cease-fire. In a press release on Nov. 1, President Donald Trump, with VA Secretary David Shulkin by his side, announced that veterans and military families would be celebrated for the entire month of November. This is a welcome change and one that as a veteran and acting director of the White River Junction VA Medical Center I am passionate about. At the VA, we get to honor our nation’s heroes every day. At our White River Junction facility and our seven community-based outpatient clinics throughout Vermont and New Hampshire, every day is Veterans Day.

As a nation, it is important to take time to reflect upon and be grateful for the sacrifices made by our veterans, service members and families. As VA employees, many of whom are veterans themselves, we are privileged enough to have the chance to give back to our veterans each day in a positive, meaningful way as we provide health care and other services.

As November comes and goes, please remember to take the time to thank a veteran and a service member for their sacrifices and heroism. Our gratitude never fades and a grateful nation thanks each and every one of you.

Matthew Mulcahy

Acting Medical Center Director

White River Junction

Our ‘Blue Collar’ President?

I’m not sure what the Valley News was trying to say with the extra large photo of a Trump supporter on the front page of the Nov. 5 Sunday Valley News.

His claim that Donald Trump is “blue collar” is astonishing. I’ve been a welder for over 45 years and my definition of blue collar includes getting your hands dirty at some point. Maybe even a callous, or cracks in your fingertips during the winter. The only time Trump has gotten his hands dirty is in a figurative sense when he orders his teams of lawyers to deny payment and drive real blue collar contractors into bankruptcy. There’s a reason New York city banks and contractors will no longer do business with him.

I certainly mean no disrespect to Britain’s royal family, but Trump is about as blue collar as Queen Elizabeth.

Richard Klovdahl

Braintree, Vt.

Health Insurance I Can’t Afford

I appreciate the Valley News’ coverage recently on the annual enrollment for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (“Considering Their Options, Nov. 4.”) I especially appreciate Eric Bunge’s candor on how the significant premium increase this year for New Hampshire participants has created impossible challenges for his family. The decision to forego coverage is a reality for many of us who don’t qualify for federal subsidies and the risk associated with that could be, literally, a life or death choice. 

 For my family, the new premium, which includes a 59 percent increase, will effectively consume approximately one-half of my take home pay. Not to mention that the resulting coverage carries higher deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket costs. Yet I still have a mortgage payment, car payments, a daughter in college, utility payments, other insurances and let’s not forget, ever-increasing taxes to pay out of a paycheck that, if I pay the health insurance premium first, will leave me unable to meet the rest of my financial obligations. In fact, as Mr. Bunge stated in his case, it will bankrupt my family. 

Meanwhile, according to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Anthem CEO Joe Swedish told analysts that, “Anthem’s Obamacare business is improving, and will break even in 2017 and be slightly profitable in 2018.” This is despite a 70 percent decline in its Obamacare footprint anticipated for 2018. 

So, what do we do? I am desperate for an answer.  Sadly, I, nor anyone else who is mandated under the Affordable Care Act, can find one.  I find the choice to sacrifice my family’s health care or continue to live in my home — a despicable one to have to make. I find it reprehensible that I don’t have a right to affordable health care. I find it terrifying that, if anyone in my family gets sick, I won’t have access to a doctor because I may not be able to afford care.

Thank goodness Mr. Swedish will still be able to collect his $16.3 million salary next year.

Marlene Green


Work on Climate Strategies

The Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup invites the community to join us for a free forum on “Protecting Land and Wildlife in a Changing Climate: Strategies for the Upper Valley.” The forum will be held Tuesday at DHMC Auditorium E, with a light supper at 5 p.m. followed by presentations and discussion from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

 The event is free, but please register at uvaw.uvlsrpc.org — where you can view the agenda and list of speakers. (Walk-ins are welcome too; if you can’t attend, check our website afterward for the forum materials.)

Come learn about changes we are seeing in our wildlife and ecosystems in response to a changing climate, new strategies for providing wildlife passage and flood protections, hands-on actions that we can take as individuals and communities, and what’s already going on locally and regionally.

This workshop is designed for all Upper Valley residents including community volunteer boards, municipal staff and committee members, land trusts, forestry, wildlife and recreation groups, community organizations, business owners, public health professionals, educators and anyone interested in climate resilience.  

The Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup (UVAW) is a volunteer coalition of community leaders and stakeholders, working since 2012 to bring climate resilience information and actionable ideas to the public and foster collaboration. We hope you will join in the conversation.

Alex Jaccaci and Sherry GodlewskiCo-Chairs, Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup


Remembering a Potter’s Work

In Bruce Murray’s account to interviewers of his career as a potter (“The Oldest Medium,” Nov. 2) we missed any mention of Phyllis Eva Goss Murray (1942–1998). She was for more than 20 years Murray’s creative partner in the operation of South Road Pottery in Bradford, Vt. Many of her pots remain in the hands of patrons and friends in the Upper Valley and beyond, and her memory is held by the latter with deep affection.

Ken Rower


Virginia Barlow


Kathy Davidow


Time for a New Executive Councilor

I’m writing today as a constituent of Joseph Kenney, who is our Executive Councilor. Last year, Kenney voted against funding Planned Parenthood and Wednesday he did the same, along with two other women’s health clinics.

I personally know many people who emailed or called Kenney. So, while the good news is that all 10 clinics were funded Wednesday, Kenney did not vote as many of his constituents asked him to. This is not the first time this has happened. Please remember that he voted for Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. It is time for new Executive Councilor. Having sat in the meeting Wednesday, I’d really like a woman so that it’s not just men on the Executive Council.

Sue Donnelly

West Lebanon