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Editorial: Leahy, Welch deserve re-election

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Posted on October 29, 2010 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



As Americans head to the polls angry at Washington politics and upset by high unemployment, home foreclosures, bank and auto industry bailouts, a rising deficit and a loss of global competitiveness, Vermonters have good reason to re-elect Sen. Patrick Leahy, D, for another six-year term, and Rep. Peter Welch, D, to his third two-year term. That reason? Both have served the state well with honesty, openness, hard work that has paid off, and political positions that put the common good ahead of special interests.

Sen. Leahy’s 36-year tenure in office may signal to some voters that it’s time for a change, but they couldn’t be more out of touch with political reality. The senator brings enormous political clout to the state at a time when Vermont could be well positioned to lead the country in important initiatives involving four of the state’s core and emerging economies: higher education, local agriculture, health care and environmental issues. With new leadership in Montpelier and renewed interest within the state’s colleges and university — as well as partnering with the business community — the economic development potential is significant, as is the potential for national and worldwide recognition. The senator’s experience in Washington will be crucial if the state is to capitalize on the opportunities available.

How crucial? Just glance at a recent list of projects that have been made possible with the senator’s support:

• Creation of a Passport Office in St. Albans that will bring an additional 17 employees to that area, as well as securing and developing the Citizen and Immigration Services offices in St. Albans over the past several years. The facility employs more than 1,000 Vermonters.

• Securing a $21 million federal contract recently with a Newport manufacturer for military helmets.

• Pushing the EB-5 program, which has sparked the redevelopment of Jay Peak — a $120 million construction project that is the largest in the state — that will eventually employ between 800-1,000 new, full-time jobs. Sugarbush Resort in Waitsfield is also using the EB-5 program to develop millions of dollars in new facilities with the senator’s help.

• Secured over $70 million in federal funds in recent years to help clean up Lake Champlain.
These few examples barely scratch the surface of the work the senator routinely does for Vermonters. These are real jobs and projects that are the direct result of the senator’s hard work and experience.

Then consider the invaluable role the senator has on the national stage. He is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and senior member of the Agriculture and Appropriations committees. He ranks second in seniority in the Senate. He is an ardent supporter of an individual’s civil rights, openness in government and the Freedom of Information Act. He’s a leader on environmental issues as well as agriculture.

Considering the lack of clear thinking on the political right — in terms of deficit spending, foreign affairs, environmental issues, economic progress or future military engagements — not only do Vermonters need Sen. Leahy’s experience and steady guidance to help deliver the promise of Vermont’s economic future, but the nation needs the senator as well for his reasoned guidance. Vote Leahy for U.S. Senator.

•••••••

Rep. Peter Welch has used his legislative experience in Montpelier, his legal background and his Vermont roots to become one of the most productive freshman legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In just his first two terms, he has worked to restore the middle class through tax policy; worked on renewable energy legislation and economic policies to rebuild the nation’s economy; worked on changes to the national health care system; worked to protect family farms, making college affordable for middle- and lower-income students and has worked to rein in credit card abuse for consumers and small businesses.

Welch, who was first elected in 2006, serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. He also serves on several important subcommittees, including: Energy and Environment; Communications, Technology, and the Internet; Oversight and Investigations; National Security and Foreign Affairs; and Domestic Policy. Within those committees he has proposed and worked on legislation and initiatives too numerous to detail, though voters can view some of those accomplishments at www.welch.house.gov.

Welch has risen quickly in the House because of his intellect, good judgment and rational explanation of proposed legislation that benefits the common cause for all Americans. Like Leahy, Rep. Welch not only serves Vermont well, but also is a steady force in a Congress about to be rocked with partisan ideologues. Rep. Welch will be a solid anchor of reason in those rough seas, and a tribute to the Green Mountain State. Re-elect Welch to the U.S. House.

Angelo S. Lynn

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