Archive - Oct 2010 - Editorial
As Americans head to the polls angry at Washington politics and upset by high unemployment, home foreclosures, bank and auto industry bailouts, a rising deficit and a loss of global competitiveness, Vermonters have good reason to re-elect Sen. Patrick Leahy, D, for another six-year term, and Rep. Peter Welch, D, to his third two-year term. That reason? Both have served the state well with honesty, openness, hard work that has paid off, and political positions that put the common good ahead of special interests.
On the question of whether to support an amendment to the state constitution to allow some 17-year-old residents to vote in state primaries, the critical question is this: Will it encourage more young Vermonters to vote or not?
The intent of the amendment is to get Vermont’s youth more involved in voting at a slightly earlier age — perhaps when some are in their senior year in high school. The amendment specifically allows for 17-year-old Vermont residents, who will turn 18 before the general election, to vote in the primary.
On the campaign trail, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, the Republican candidate, has recently run into problems trying to explain how he would cut $110 million in state spending by putting a cap of 2 percent on spending across the board — while not putting the state corrections budget, early education, Dr. Dinosaur, the state highway patrol and other ‘too-important-to-fail’ programs in jeopardy.
The reactions by the two leading candidates for governor on the latest news from Vermont Yankee speaks volumes about each candidate’s approach to leadership — and each has its pros and cons.
Democrat Peter Shumlin, a long-time proponent of Vermont Yankee until shortly after it was purchased by Entergy, came out swinging and is more convinced than ever that a tough approach needs to be taken by the state to avoid sticking Vermont taxpayers with unforeseen costs down the road as a consequence of the tritium leaks.
Local school board members and school officials are in the midst of finding out just how tough it is to cut 2 percent out of the budget. For the UD-3 board, which oversees the Middlebury Union Middle School and High School, that 2 percent amounts to $341,565 out of a $15,445,919 budget. But, as UD-3 Supt. Lee Sease said, the cuts really amount to closer to 4 percent because of the added cost of inflation.
That $341,565 reduction in expenses, therefore, becomes $661,000 — and that’s not small change.
Public anger against the federal bailout that rescued the nation’s financial system from collapse, prevented the bankruptcies of the nation’s auto companies and salvaged the insurance industry — preventing a second Great Depression, according to most economists — has turned the 2010 mid-term elections upside down. The lack of understanding from Tea Party supporters and like-minded conservatives is appalling, but so is the two-faced political response from both parties.
Calling community colleges the “unsung heroes of the America’s education system,” President Barack Obama challenged them to produce an additional 5 million graduates by 2020 to meet a growing demand for more educated workers. The White House put the nation’s two-year institutions in the spotlight because they are ideally suited to reinvent their educational and training programs to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.
If you’re over 40 and you think back to when you were in school, the idea that students would one day become excited about school lunches seems preposterous.
But change can bring good things and that’s certainly the case with the local food movement coming to Vermont schools. That Monkton Center School and Bristol Elementary are two of the latest of area schools to jump on the local foods in schools bandwagon is added evidence of the movement’s momentum, educational benefit and economic impact.