September 16, 2014

Letters to the Editor

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ELECTION LETTERS POLICY

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Please note the Observer will not run any Letters to the Editor pertaining to the vote on Oct. 28, the edition prior to the election.

All Letters to the Editor written in regards to the election were to be received by Oct. 18.

‘Boys of Autumn’

A hearty thank you to Paul Angstman and Tom Parent for the tremendous coaching, leadership and mentoring they provided to the players of Williston’s “Fall Ball” Little League baseball team. Posting an undefeated regular season is typically testimony enough to the clarity, sportsmanship and love of the game that these two talented coaches imparted onto the “Boys of Autumn.” In this instance, all the players, parents, family and friends that watched this team develop and mature as ballplayers and members of our community learned lessons that will be applied today and in the future. Those lessons were about both baseball AND life.

The sacrifice of time and selfless dedication of these two coaches, and their families, is to be commended. On behalf of an entire very grateful team, I say, “Thank You” and bravo!

Springtime is RIGHT around the corner!!!

Cole Casale and family, Williston

School Board hosting budget forum

The Williston School Board would like to remind you that we will be holding a Community Budget Forum on Oct. 26, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The board will be making important decisions regarding the future of our educational system in Williston and would like your input on what our schools should look like given these targets. This forum will be held in the Williston Central School dining room.

Under the Challenges for Change law, the Department of Education was required to establish new spending targets for the 2011 school year for every school district in the state. On average, the reductions amount to a 2 percent cut for most districts to create a statewide cut of $23 million. Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca notes that last year, most local school budgets were level funded. He says imposing a 2 percent cut next year, on top of inflation, means that local budgets will face a roughly 5 percent cut.

Although these cuts are considered voluntary, the Supervisory Union must report back to the commissioner of education by Dec. 15 whether they will meet their target. At the community forum, the School Board will present first pass budget numbers and more information about the law, and solicit suggestions from the community for meeting the challenge. We hope that you can join us for this important work this Tuesday evening.

Chairwoman Holly Rouelle, Vice Chairwoman Deb Baker-Moody, Laura Gigliotti, Kevin Mara, Darlene Worth, Williston School Board

Vote Benevento for ‘positive change’

I am writing to you as a non-resident of your state, but a concerned citizen of our country. I am concerned about the apathy I see this time of year from the voting public toward the political machine. We have become very conditioned to view candidates, just by virtue of being a candidate, as just another “politician.” It is a shame that that word has become a negative connotation. What a risk new politicians are taking by throwing their hats in the ring to bring about change.

I would like to express my thanks to all people willing to subject themselves to the daily grind of a campaign, to try and bring about positive change. One such candidate, who is running in Williston, is Mike Benevento.

I have known Mike for over 20 years and have seen him get involved just for the sake of getting involved. I wish more candidates around our country were like Mike. He seeks no personal gain from his endeavor to hold political office but he does seek positive change. He wants what was given to him from earlier generations: a chance at prosperity for his family, for all Vermonters. Please consider him when you cast your ballots in November. He is self admittedly not a politician, just someone concerned enough to come off the sidelines and say, “We can’t continue down this path any longer!”

Daniel Johnson, Barnstable, Mass.

Macaig gets results

With all of the hoopla surrounding this fall’s elections nationally and statewide, here in Williston we are lucky to have such a clear choice in who will represent us in Montpelier — Terry Macaig.

As a 45-year resident of Williston, Terry really knows our town. Terry doesn’t just sit on the sidelines and enjoy the benefits of living here; Terry has been actively involved as a Justice of the Peace, has served eight years on the Selectboard and was a member of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. In his spare time he has been on the board of the Williston Historical Society and is active in Scouting and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

But being elected as a state representative isn’t a prize for serving your community well. We need representatives who get things done. Last term Terry was instrumental in shaping one of the few truly breakthrough agreements required to get our state through this financial crisis. Terry spent his “off season” last year as a member of the committee tasked to solve the retirement benefits shortfall for state employees and teachers. The committee was able to work with these valuable employees to reach a compromise that saved the state millions of dollars in future pension costs. These are the kind of results we need from our elected officials.

We are fortunate in Williston to have so many ready to serve in the Legislature, but Terry Macaig has earned our support.

Jeanne Jensen, Williston

Michaud has experience

If we’re really serious about wanting to fix Vermont’s economy and create jobs for our people, doesn’t it make sense to elect legislators who have actually run businesses and managed payrolls?

I think it does; that’s one of many reasons I plan to vote for Jay Michaud of Williston for the Vermont House.

Jay has been a successful businessman and entrepreneur for the past 20 years, so he has developed skill sets that will be invaluable in addressing legislative issues like creating new job opportunities, eliminating state deficits, reducing taxes and controlling government spending.

We need Jay in the Statehouse to protect Williston’s interests and make our voices heard loud and clear. Please cast your ballot on Nov. 2 for Jay Michaud for the Vermont House of Representatives from Chittenden District 2.

Anne Dickerson, Williston

Reelect Jim McCullough

We are writing this letter of endorsement in the hopes that we can help return Jim McCullough to the Vermont House of Representatives.

As residents of Williston for over 25 years, we have witnessed firsthand Jim McCullough’s commitment to our community. Jim is truly a steward of our environment, keeping open space and responsible land use as a constant priority even as we witness what sometimes seems to be the almost inevitable residential and commercial development happening in our town. Jim seemed to have a voice if not a true presence in virtually every challenging issue that Williston has faced over these many years.

In addition, our family has spent years participating in the many activities provided at the Catamount Outdoor Family Center and we have all tucked away memories of Jim as a man of integrity and vision. Jim is a man who quite simply publicly advocates for what he believes in his heart to be in the best interests of all Vermonters. Please join us in re-electing Jim McCullough.

Art and Jennie Cernosia, Williston

Vote for Macaig

I have worked with Terry and have known him for a long time and consider him a friend. He is quiet yet very efficient and gets things done without a lot of fanfare, so many of you may not know him well.

Because of his involvement in so many areas of town and state government he has a background of experience to weigh the issues and will do what is best for most Vermonters. We need Terry in Montpelier.

Ginger Isham, Williston

Benevento believes in families, small government

On Nov. 2, Williston residents will cast votes for the state Legislature.

Mike Benevento is one of the candidates. I have known Mike for years through Williston Little League as a parent volunteer, coach, fellow board member and friend.

Mike is not a political insider; in fact, this is the first time Mike has run for political office. He is a fiscal conservative. Mike believes in promoting jobs by reducing taxes, supporting tax credits and permit reforms. That is exactly what Vermont needs in this turbulent time of out of control spending without checks and balances in Montpelier.

Our current representatives, I fear, have forgotten that the middle class is shrinking and so is our buying power, while our state debt spins continuously out of control.

Families that are the bedrock of Williston are suffering and all our representatives do is spend our children’s inheritance on stimulus programs. As the Chamber of Commerce indicated, our representatives get less than a stellar report card on fiscal responsibility.

Mike Benevento believes in strong family values. It is no longer a viable option to survive on one income and live the middle class ideals while maintaining family values to support our children. The family unit is suffering, as two parents have to bring in a double income and spend less and less time with their children.

The repercussions can be seen in everything from NECAP test scores to our shrinking bottom lines.

Mike is a strong proponent of smaller government that does not extend its tentacles into local affairs and school systems, while protecting essential services to help the needy and elderly. Mike Benevento is a man of integrity that is not afraid to do the hard work to serve all Willistonians fairly. Elect Mike Benevento as our state representative.

Chris Geffken, Williston

McCullough shares our values

What is it that prompts one to support a candidate for public office? The briefest answer is that support is given when the candidate’s values and legislative record reflect one’s own values and vision.

We are not new to the community, neither are we lifelong Vermonters. We have lived in this grand state, after living in many other places, nearly a quarter of our lives. What we have come to understand, and Vermont has played a role in that understanding, is that government is a process, the struggle to find balance between what citizens want, need, on one hand, and creation and maintenance of peace and orderliness on the other, enabling everyone, the community, to enjoy what has been achieved in a safe and peaceful manner. Some would also add in surroundings that bring beauty and serenity into lives.

We support Jim McCullough’s candidacy to continue as our state representative in Vermont’s House of Representatives, an office he has held for eight years. We do so because of Jim’s public service and voting record over many years on various Williston committees, boards and in the state Legislature. They reflect his values and vision, shaped by lifelong experiences as a small business owner and entrepreneur, his concern for the elderly and a passionate commitment to the environment.

Jim has contributed to shaping a government that is reflective of the values held by most of his constituents. They also reflect, we believe, what is so good and decent about Vermont, and why we are proud to live here.

Please vote to return Jim to our state’s Legislature.

Andrew and Bonnie Tangalos, Williston

Jay Michaud’s tireless dedication

Less than two weeks ago, Jay Michaud’s father unexpectedly passed away. Despite losing his Dad, my state representative running mate continued to tirelessly campaign door-to-door in an effort to introduce himself to, and get to know, Williston residents. His tireless dedication is impressive and will go far in serving our state should you elect him representative on Nov. 2.

Mike Benevento, Republican candidate for state representative, Chittenden 2 District, Williston

Support Macaig and McCullough for Vermont House

In these trying times, we need experienced leadership representing the residents of Williston at the Vermont Statehouse. So, I urge your support in reelecting Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough to the Vermont House of Representatives.

Both our representatives have a proven record of leadership in promoting economic growth and helping working Vermonters. Yet, at the same time, they both understand that protecting the environment sustains the quality of life necessary to entice businesses and entrepreneurs to settle here in Vermont and create good jobs.

Jim McCullough and Terry Macaig have a distinguished record of public service to the town of Williston and the state of Vermont through their participation on numerous town boards and charitable organizations. Let’s return Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough to the Vermont House of Representatives.

Joshua Diamond, Williston

Williston needs change in representation

I almost choked reading last week’s candidate profile where Jim McCullough asserts that he has been falsely labeled anti-business. No Jim, your continual 25 percent rating in the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Report Card, your eight-year lock-step voting record with the Democratic super-majority and your incredibly naïve comments that only 345 good paying Vermont jobs will be lost with the closing of Vermont Yankee proves that you are indeed anti-business.

Does Jim have any idea how hard it is to create 345 new jobs in Vermont? Does he realize he disregarded that out-of-state workers pay a significant amount of payroll tax into Vermont’s tax base? Does he have any comprehension of the unknown negative effect that a drastically increased utility rate will have on Vermont’s current and future employers? In 2010, let’s send some new representation to Montpelier and give Jim more time to ride his bicycle around whatever fantasy world he is living in: “Waters … are the foundations of life and business.” Really?

I urge Williston voters to elect Mike Benevento and Jay Michaud on Nov. 2. Williston and Vermont need a drastic change from the Democratic majority currently controlling the Legislature and these two candidates will work to change the climate in Montpelier. We need representatives who truly understand that Vermont’s other important environment is our business environment and who will work to lower taxes and promote job growth making Vermont a better place to start, move or expand a business.

I also support Brian Dubie for governor. He will continue to counter-balance the left and provide the check and balance we have enjoyed over the past eight years with continued common sense and fiscal conservancy.

Brennan Duffy, Williston

Vote for Charlie Smith

I would like to encourage Vermonters to place your vote for Charlie Smith for state Senate.

I first met Charlie when we both served on the Lake Champlain Workforce Investment Board. One thing I noticed and continue to admire about Charlie is his ability to think through complicated issues and to help others reach consensus and decisions … a rare talent. Charlie’s experience combines leadership and achievement in business, state government and community affairs. He will bring his legislative colleagues together around pragmatic, long-term solutions to contain the cost of government and support the creation of new jobs for Vermonters.

Because Charlie is a common sense thinker and an accomplished business leader, a vote cast in his direction will be a worthwhile investment in our collective future.

James T. Rude, Williston

Elect Fox to the Senate

I am writing to strongly urge voters to choose Sally Fox to be one of their new state senators. I met Sally nearly 25 years ago when we were both elected to our first terms in the Vermont House. During her 14 years as a state representative from Essex, she was a tireless advocate and a strong voice for children, families, seniors and people with disabilities. At the same time, she was also responsible for leading the way on strengthening our criminal and civil laws.

Sally’s leadership skills are demonstrated by having been elected assistant majority leader and appointed chairwoman of the Judiciary and the Appropriations Committees. In all of these roles she was incredibly well respected for her in-depth knowledge of the law and for her understanding of the budgeting process. She is an approachable, personable consensus builder and always found ways to balance the competing interests of constituents, advocates and her fellow legislators. No easy task!

I was so pleased when I learned that Sally sought to return to the Legislature in the hope of replacing retiring Sen. Doug Racine, who we all know was the finest champion of maintaining the social safety net for those Vermonters who are most in need. I believe Sally will be just as effective, creative and persuasive as he was, and I personally can vouch for her being one of the hardest working legislators ever to have served in the Statehouse. Chittenden County and all Vermonters will be incredibly well served if Sally Fox is elected state senator on Nov. 2. Please vote!

Linda Almy, Former state representative for Bolton, Jericho and Underhill, Underhill Center

Ashe asks for votes

I’ve been honored to represent Williston residents in the Senate. Since my election two years ago I’ve made it a priority to stay in touch with what’s going on in Williston, and to keep you informed of what’s happening in Montpelier in the pages of the Observer, by attending local meetings and through phone calls and e-mails with hundreds of residents.

I also hope I’ve served you well in the Senate. I played a central role on issues including broadband deployment, unemployment insurance, tax policy, agricultural development, farm and forest conservation, and more. Visit my website, www.timashe.com, for more details about my accomplishments in Montpelier.

My efforts to prevent cost-shifts onto the middle class and to improve the lives of Vermont’s senior citizens are two reasons why Bernie Sanders once again supports my election.

Finally, I want to thank Williston voters for the privilege of serving you in the Senate, and I ask for your support on Election Day.

Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, Burlington

Shumlin supports education

Peter Shumlin has my vote for governor because he is the better choice to address education needs in Vermont. As a professional in education, I appreciate that Shumlin’s plan is thoughtful and forward-looking, ranging from changes in universal pre-kindergarten to helping graduates pay down college debt.

The skills needed for the new economy are very different than the skills needed for jobs in previous generations. Education and training at the post-secondary level will be essential for 62 percent of all jobs by 2018, yet only about 40 percent of Vermonters currently hold an associate’s degree or higher. In order for Vermonters both young and old to succeed in an evolving job market and fast-paced economy, we must bridge this gap. I believe one answer lies in making critical investments in workforce training for our students from elementary school through college as well as our adult workforce. Peter Shumlin understands this. He has pledged to strengthen career awareness education in our public school systems beginning in elementary school and increase career exposure for our middle and high school students through a renewed focus on technical education, dual enrollment, school-to-work initiatives and internships.

We must find ways to keep our educated young adults in Vermont once they graduate. Quality is a priority, and so is cost containment for students. I’m most enthusiastic about Shumlin’s plan to help college graduates pay for their education while launching their careers in Vermont. Shumlin is proposing that Vermont high school students who finish their college degree at a Vermont college or university and secure a job in state will receive an income tax credit to help pay their college debt. This plan will go a long way toward ensuring that when students graduate, they do so without crippling debt.

Dee Steffan, Williston

Shumlin provides leadership

I would like to respond to the letter “Frightened by Shumlin” in the Oct. 14 edition of the Williston Observer. It is difficult to find the right spot to begin here as the letter gives so many openings, but overall Shumlin’s plans actually try to do something for more Vermonters rather than simply cut and gut for the most vulnerable and the middle class like Dubie’s plan would under cover of the recession.

Until Vermont tackles the exploding corrections budget and health care costs ($5 billion a year now, with thousands still uninsured, and rising $1 million a day), we will never make it out of this hole that Republican economics sank us into. And it costs an average of $50,000 a year per offender. Our prisons are now so full that we send some of our offenders to out-of-state prisons, costing taxpayers millions of dollars on top of what corrections already costs.

The author despairs of a “Democratic governor and Legislature with no chance to check their power to tax, spend and regulate.” De-regulation produced the great recession of 2008. Cutting taxes for the wealthiest has produced longer unemployment lines and a disappearing middle class; non-spending has produced a deteriorating infrastructure; a divided and antagonistic Legislature and administration has only produced gridlock.

Vermont needs a united front with a governor of Shumlin’s caliber and energy to haul us out of this hole.

Walter Carpenter, Montpelier

Vote for life

There are good, conservative candidates to vote for this year and they need our support — from the governor’s race to the local races.

I am thankful that Brian Dubie is pro-life. The fact that he is being attacked for his belief in the sanctity of life is shameless. Paul Beaudry is also pro-life and I know that there are other great Republican candidates.

Abortion is not the right answer, even in the most difficult situation. There is someone who would love that child, no matter what.

The Bible talks about how God sees the unborn child (please read Psalm 139:14-18). They are beautiful and precious.

It is honorable to defend the unborn children and we should support those candidates who do.

Christine Parker, Starksboro
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