Archive - Nov 2006
Vote for a change
As the nation prepares to vote tomorrow, Nov. 7, voters should consider the state of affairs in Washington, D.C., and to do their part to ensure a change in direction.
Such a change would press for an end to a federal tax policy that favors the wealthiest individuals over the middle class, more favorable environmental policies that require industry to limit further harm to the environment, federal regulations that prevent media consolidation in the hands of a few mega-corporations, deficit reduction measures so our children and grandchildren arenâ€™t paying for todayâ€™s excess spending, a health care system that delivers appropriate care to American citizens, and an educational funding system that is flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of todayâ€™s global economy. For the past six years under President George W. Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress the nation has witnessed a steady deterioration on each of those fronts.
In the race between Democrat Peter Welch and Republican Martha Rainville for Vermontâ€™s lone seat in Congress, one issue is paramount: Do Vermonters want to enable President George Bush to maintain control of both the House and Senate, or will they cast a vote to place an appropriate check on this presidentâ€™s radical and disastrous agenda? If voters want Bush to â€œstay the courseâ€? on domestic issues and foreign affairs, then a vote for Rainville will help assure that path. If voters want a change in the nationâ€™s direction and a check on the president, then a vote for Peter Welch is critical.
Control of the U.S. House is so central to this election that it outweighs all other considerations.
This newspaperâ€™s concerns with the Bush administrationâ€™s mismanagement of our national resources and damage done to our international prestige over the past five years are well known to our readers (and those long-standing concerns, we might add, have largely been validated), so we wonâ€™t belabor the mounting perils that would face the nation if Bush is allowed to reign two more years with a rubber-stamp Congress.
Thatâ€™s the question to ask in governorâ€™s race
In the race for governor, Republican James Douglas has the advantage of incumbency and a record of compromise and modest achievement, while Democrat Scudder Parker offers a candidacy of vision and bold leadership. In choosing the stateâ€™s next leader, Vermonters must ask if maintaining the status quo is sufficient or if the times demand a bolder course of action?
There is no pat answer. The course the state has maintained for the past four years under Gov. Douglas has been steady, if not visionary.
But problems remain unresolved. Dairy farms continue to fail at an alarming rate; the stateâ€™s energy supply hangs in a precarious balance and yet the state has no comprehensive energy policy; the stateâ€™s teacher/pupil ratio is low and drives expenses resulting in high property taxes; while the Catamount Health Care plan is a step forward, many say it does too little to cut costs leaving a heavy burden on businesses; the stateâ€™s Medicaid bill will put an increasing burden on the budget in future years; and while the stateâ€™s population has been increasing modestly, the number of school-age children has been on the decline, thus creating a future shortage in the labor pool.
In the race for lieutenant governor, Vermonters have the opportunity to choose a candidate who would bring an extraordinary amount of energy, intelligence and enthusiasm to the stateâ€™s number two job. That candidate is Democrat Matt Dunne.
Dunneâ€™s background as a public servant is stellar. First elected to the Vermont Legislature as a representative of Hartland and West Windsor at the age of 22, Dunne spent the next four terms in the House and was elected Assistant Majority Leader in 1998, making him the youngest whip in the nation at the time. Along with other leadership roles in the House, he served as vice-chair of the Transportation Committee. During his time in the House, Dunne was a marketing executive in various capacities, including as the marketing director for Logic Associates, a top 500 software company based in Wilder that served the commercial printing industry worldwide.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
ADDISON COUNTY — The Vermont Principals’ Association on Thursday decided to hold Saturday’s Division I football playoff game between Middlebury Union High School and Hartford at the Mount Abraham Union High School field in Bristol because the MUHS field was too badly torn up by play during the wet weather.
The Tigers, who are 9-0 overall, earned D-I’s No. 1 seed with a 6-0 league record. They will host No. 4 Hartford (5-4, 3-3) at 1 p.m. The game will be a rematch of this past Friday’s match between the two squads, won by the host Tigers, 27-20, on a late touchdown.
No. 2 Rutland (5-4, 5-1 league) will host No. 3 Brattleboro (7-2, 4-2) at 7 p.m. on Friday in the other D-I semifinal.
Editor’s note: During the current political season some lawmakers have proposed repealing the current law for funding schools and creating some new funding system with the goal, proponents say, of providing property tax relief. We took a look at the impact of Act 68 in one Addison County school district to provide some data that would be useful in debate over that proposal.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — In 2002, the last year before the passage of Act 68, the Vermont school financing law that raised the state sales tax to provide property tax relief, Addison Northwest Supervisory Union residents sent almost $10.4 million to Montpelier in school tax payments.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Ana Solis desperately wants you to know who she is.
But she can’t tell you.
As one of the estimated 500 migrant workers now toiling on farms throughout Addison County, Ana Solis (not her real name) must be content to work in the shadows of a milk stall, or risk running afoul of loosely-interpreted federal immigration laws that would require her and her family’s deportation to Mexico.
“I like this country and the economic opportunity available here,” said Solis, who with her husband has worked on the same Addison County farm for the past three years.
“But there are times when we feel like prisoners,” she added, as she bounced her American-born, 16-month-old daughter on her knee. “We have the right to work, and nothing more.”
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County voters will go to the polls this Tuesday, Nov. 7, to decide five local House races, a slew of contests for statewide offices, and various local referenda — including a $10.3 million bond proposal for major renovations to Otter Valley Union High School.
The following is an election overview for each of the legislative districts in Addison County, along with a rundown of other initiatives that many area voters will field on election day:
State Senate, Addison County and Brandon
For the first time in recent memory, both of the Senate seats representing Addison County and Brandon are uncontested. Incumbent Sens. Claire Ayer of Weybridge and Harold Giard of Bridport, both Democrats, appear assured of additional two-year terms, barring an epic write-in campaign by an eleventh-hour candidate.