Letter to the editor: Ralston’s record misrepresented

Politics certainly brings out the worst in Americans, even Vermonters. It gets personal when your friends are maligned in print, and I would like to respond to some of the most recent accusations made in this paper against my friend and associate, Paul Ralston.
Most recently accused here of being a privileged opportunist, a Republican disguised as an Independent and a peer of Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump, I have to interrupt and ask, “Are you serious?”
I have known Paul for thirty years, and he is none of that, not even close.
I have watched him go from owning the Bristol Bakery (where he started roasting coffee beans) to working for Kevin Harper at Autumn Harp and on to founding the Vermont Coffee Company eighteen years ago, an enterprise which now employs 34 people in Middlebury.
He and his employees have worked with vision and ambition to grow the enterprise organically, inch by hard-won inch, in a field crowded by competitors and risk. None of Vermont Coffee’s success has been handed to either Paul or his employees.
In the spirit of Vermont’s long history of individual initiative, Paul is seeking a return to Vermont State government service as an Independent. Non-alignment frequently improves a solon’s ability to communicate with all the people’s representatives and can help convert good ideas into law. The lack of membership in the red or blue team is no drawback, but certainly seems to invite unfounded insults …
As far as his similarity to the sulking, inarticulate nastiness of Brett and Donald, Paul’s dignity and respect for the people around him are his trademarks. After countless conversations with him, I cannot remember a single personal insult or guttural remark authored by the man about anybody.
In short, I know Paul as a patient, polite, articulate and persuasive gentlemen dedicated to the health and enhancement of our precarious little State.
I am justly fond of the Addison County Independent, we are all fortunate to have her to rely upon.
So please, if you want to use this publication as a forum for the debate of various approaches to problem solving, I am all-in. Otherwise, please direct anymore claptrap of personal animosity and distortion to AM hate radio or cable television where it will find its more familiar surroundings.
Steve Harris

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