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Letter to the editor: Audet, Ralston are free of political party pressures

Since the time when Marie Audet and Paul Ralston announced their candidacy for the Vermont Senate I have been trying to figure out exactly what I should put into a letter of endorsement. Then a recent letter to the Addison Independent editor titled “Independents stand for what?” provided me with the answer that I was looking for and why I believe that Marie and Paul represent the best choice for Addison County.
Webster’s definition of “Independent” includes: not bound by or committed to a political party; not subject to control by others; not affiliated with a larger controlling unit and not contingent. That is what Independents stand for and it is why I proudly classify myself as a political Independent, without party affiliation. It is also why as the leaders of the major parties have been squabbling and refusing to work with each other, Independent voters have emerged as a significant voting bloc.
Independents were not always a part of my family’s political history. I am of a blue-collar, working class background where my family members included autoworkers, foundry workers, mechanics, clothing makers, railroaders, truckers and miners. Like the overwhelming majority of our population they quietly went about doing their jobs, sharing in the collective effort that makes our country function. They had differing political views and I remember some strong differences of opinion among them. They were proud to be Roosevelt Democrats and Eisenhower Republicans, supporting those great leaders who did not demonize opposing party views and compromised and worked with the “other side” because that knew it ultimately provided the best answer to complex issues. They despise the political absurdity that Washington has become, and unfortunately appears to be slipping into Montpelier. Their Democrats and Republicans are in short supply.
While I believe that each of the Addison County candidates has good intention, the reality is that those with party affiliations are unlikely to oppose their party leadership — even though the opposition may have better ideas — for fear that they will be ostracized. They can say that they will act independently but the reality is that they probably won’t. In Addison County we now have this opportunity to change the dialogue in Montpelier by electing true Independents and it may be possible that some Democratic and Republican members will find themselves free to challenge the status quo and work for the common good.
I have known Paul Ralston for several years and while we do not always concur with each other, I have always found him to be attentive and engaging, constructively challenging my opinions. And yes, there have been times when his input has helped me make better community related decisions. I have recently come to know Marie Audet and as has been stated, “she is the real deal.” She is a caring, equally engaging and thought provoking individual. They both understand what it is like to operate businesses in our region and know the responsibilities that come with maintaining the well being of their employees, customers, and community. I would have voted for them if they decided to affiliate with a party, but am very pleased that they decided to show leadership and serve independently.
Therefore I ask that you join me in voting for Marie Audet and Paul Ralston as our Addison County Senators. I am convinced that our county and state will be better served when they are sent to Montpelier.
Nick Artim
Middlebury

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