Letter to the editor: Democrats have failed to fix health care, finances

There’s an elephant in the room! Let’s talk about it…the Democrats have had their opportunity to represent the best interests of Addison County for the last six years. During that time of one-party domination, state spending has grown by $779 million, property taxes have increased by $137.4 million, we have a catastrophically failed health care system, and the 2017 budget calls for $48 million dollars in new taxes and fees.
 In addition, the Democrats are putting forward the threat of a carbon tax which would result in an 88 cent per gallon tax on gasoline and $1.02 per gallon tax on diesel and home heating oil within the next 10 years! At the most recent candidate forum in Middlebury, the Democrats offered as a solution to energy consumption that they hope to “encourage” more people to move closer to their jobs, increase public transportation, promote the use of electric vehicles and build more wind and solar farms. We can only imagine the cost of all of this, as well as the oppression of more government control over where we live, what jobs we can take and what type of vehicle we can drive!
In contrast, the Republican candidates have outlined their opposition to the carbon tax, and suggested utilizing the renewable energy of Hydro Quebec available to us at .05 cents per kilowatt hour, supporting solar power, while scrutinizing the real costs of wind power to the environment and our people, as well as tapping into the potential renewable methane power generated by our farms.
Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to use the resources we already have in place, and give our farms a way to stabilize their incomes than to create more burdens of taxation and regulation for our citizens? The costs for the Democrats’ proposals would be enormous, and we haven’t even tackled their approach to solving the opiate crisis in Vermont! The Democrats’ solution for this challenge is to legalize recreational marijuana and funnel this money to fight opiate use. Their reasoning appears to be that if folks are already using cannabis illegally, why not legalize it so that the state can control the quality of it and reap the financial benefits like they do from the sale of alcohol.
Has anyone else noticed the number and types of Recovery Meetings that are listed weekly in our local newspapers? I counted 18 alcohol recovery notices in the public meetings section of the Independent this week. Clearly, alcohol consumption is not without its own risks and problems, so why should we legalize cannabis when we can already see how addictions can destroy peoples’ lives, health and relationships? Anyone who thinks marijuana is not harmful or addictive had best check out any number of medical resources to educate themselves. At WebMD, they report that “both tobacco and cannabis smoke contain the same cancer-causing carcinogens.
Depending on what part of the plant is smoked, marijuana can contain more of these harmful ingredients… Although the THC in cannabis may modify some of the cancerous effects, the use of marijuana can affect your body in many ways: memory loss, trouble learning and thinking, coordination, slow reaction time, judgment and mood, changes in brain structure, lung problems, increased heart rate, and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and psychosis. And for children and young adults under 25, there is a much higher risk, according to Prof. Kevin Hill, MD at Harvard Medical School. Among other things, marijuana use can lower IQ, change brain chemistry, cause anxiety and depression, and lead to dropping out of school.” 
Legalizing marijuana will also increase the prevalence of a black market for our teens who cannot buy it legally, and those who can’t or won’t pay the higher price for the dispensary cannabis. Pediatric doctors, counselors (including UVM director of Health and Wellbeing, Dr. John Kevin Porter) and The Vermont Police Association have all come out very strongly against the legalization and proliferation of recreational marijuana.
If anyone should doubt that marijuana use is safer than alcohol use on the highway, please refer to the BFP news article of 6/26/15 entitled, Fatal crash: Teen was on pot. The article states that the toxicology reports from the accident which killed a 17-year-old driver and took the life of a 47-year old bicyclist showed that the 17 year old had 36 nanograms of THC in his system, and noted that both Colorado and Washington (where recreational cannabis is legal) have set presumptive limits of THC for drivers at 5 nanograms. The estimated speed at the time of the crash was 83-88 miles per hour. How can we as a society encourage the acceptance and use of this destructive drug by legalizing its recreational use?
The local Republican candidates who are on the ballot are stepping up to the plate, not because they desire power and a political career, but because they see how that power is being abused to control and manipulate the working Vermonters who trust their legislators to work for the common good and protection of our citizens. Our Republican candidates have demonstrated the courage and desire to sacrifice their time and energy to work to preserve the values and goals of the people of Addison County and to restore, refresh, and revitalize our state without more taxes and government regulations.
The least we can do is make certain to get out and vote for Phil Scott for Governor, Randy Brock for Lt. Governor, Peter Briggs and Lynn Dike for Senate, and Warren Van Wyck, Monique Thurston, Fred Baser and Valerie Mullin, and Harvey Smith for House. We may not get another chance to stop these destructive policies once they are enacted into law. Please do whatever it takes to vote! Our future depends on it!
Bill and Donna Scott
North Ferrisburgh 

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