Op/Ed

Editorial: Join a community forum with Rep. Welch on Monday

In this era of misinformation of national news, it’s no small comfort to have representation in the nation’s capital whom Vermonters can trust and believe. Along with Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Vermont has been well served by Rep. Peter Welch in the House. The Addison Independent will host Rep. Welch next Monday, Sept. 16, from 5 to 6:15 p.m. in a community forum that will feature opening comments by the Congressman, followed by 30-45 minutes of questions from the audience.
The community forum will be held at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and is graciously co-hosted by them; parking will be in the nearby MUHS Doc Collins field parking lot.
Why come? Because if democracy is going to work, we all need to be informed and educated based on the most accurate information we can find. Getting the lay of the land in Congress directly from our congressman is a sure-fire way to help distinguish fact from fiction, and learn first-hand about the challenges of governing in today’s environment.
Rep. Welch will certainly have a partisan view of the issues, but Vermont has always been fortunate to have congressional representation from both parties who have leveled with Vermonters in a truthful manner, and always with an eye on what is in their best interests. We also want to issue a special invitation to high school and college students to attend — not only to be part of the discussion, but to understand how fortunate we are in Vermont to be so closely connected to our congressional delegation.
Of the issues we hope to cover, we’ll be sure to ask how Congress and the president will fund the budget. Will Trump try to pressure Congress to up spending of his southern border wall, and, if so, what’s the Democrat’s response? And what impact will Trump’s move to divert $400 million in military projects have on the issue? Is there any way to stop such a waste of money?
Knowing that huge tax cuts to the wealthy have caused the federal deficit to almost double in the past couple of years to an estimated trillion dollars by 2020, what’s the likelihood that Congress will go along with the president’s recent plan to pass another tax cut — this time that might actually help the middle class —in an effort to boost an economy hurt by Trump’s trade war with China? And just what is the truth about the trade war’s impact on American consumers? Should Americans believe Fox News parroting of Trump’s talking points, or the mainstream media’s reporting that American consumers are paying for Trump’s trade war, just as they will pay for the border wall to be built down south.
Questions abound on the nation’s immigration policy and how Trump’s policies are hurting farmers and business in Vermont; how an aggressive infrastructure plan would be good for the nation and Vermont; how Trump has set back efforts to fight the impacts of climate change; what can be done about the growing wealth gap; and why the Democrat Party leadership is so reluctant to pursue impeachment.
If you feel discouraged or frustrated about the state of political affairs in the country (and who isn’t), we encourage you to join us for this 75-minute community forum. But do us all a favor: Read up on the issues you wish to discuss, and frame any questions you might have of the Congressman not from a partisan perspective, but rather in an effort to learn more about the issue.
For example, rather than ask: Why are Democrats so lame they can’t even start the impeachment process, ask the congressman if he is sure Democrats have a legal case for impeachment and on what specific grounds. Another tip: Keep questions to the point and please don’t make speeches reflecting your own perspectives as a preamble to what you want to ask. This should be an opportunity to learn from our congressman, not a platform to espouse personal biases. To that point we’ll ask residents to keep their questions to 60-90 seconds so we’re sure to have enough time for all to weigh in.
Thanks for heeding those concerns, and hope to see you there.
Angelo Lynn

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