guest editorial


Voting in Lincoln in the August 2020 primary. Photo by Paul Forlenza
08/27/2020
This week’s writer is Lee Hamilton, a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar at the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice at the IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. I’ve lost track of the times over the years I’ve heard a politician say, “This is the most important election of my lifetime.” In fact, I’ve said it myself. And I’m sure we all believed it at the time. But in my case, at least, I...
07/23/2020
If government makes you wear a facemask to help ward off the spread of the coronavirus, has it trampled on your freedom, your personal liberty?  If government decides, instead, to forgo a legally enforceable mandate on mask wearing, has it trampled on your right or your neighbors’ to stay healthy, to keep a job, to benefit from the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? This is the paradox of personal liberty, which George Washington clearly understood when he transmitted the newly drafted Constitution to Congress more than two centuries ago.  Liberty, he and the other...
07/02/2020
As a grateful user of Vermont’s health care system (UVM hip replacement last year), an observer of its growth (the house I grew up in in Morrisville was next to a pasture in which the current Copley Hospital was built in 1958), and a participant in its growth (I chaired Fletcher Allen in 2003), I value and care deeply about health care in Vermont. And, full disclosure, I’m an advocate for universal health care coverage and hope to see it in my lifetime. Having said all this, it may come as a surprise that I believe we need fewer hospitals in Vermont. Our human services institutions should be...
02/10/2020
Editor’s note: Sen. Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, was the only Republican to break with his party and support removing President Trump from office. In doing so, he put his principles above party loyalty to a president whose actions he could not, in good faith, abide.  Such personal character among the people elected to Congress is what has made our democracy function throughout the past 225 years. When the personal character of so many falter in a party and they fall in line with actions that are so obviously corrupt, the systems of checks and balances put in place to rein in would-be...
01/20/2020
Sen. Ruth Hardy, D-Addison, has introduced a bill to create a Community College Scholarship Program that would provide tuition-free scholarships for Vermont residents attending CCV. It would, from the outset, require a $6 million appropriation. It’s a small amount of money that would yield profound benefits at a variety of levels, and it would be an investment whose returns would likely dwarf the upfront costs. It also checks a lot of boxes when it comes to the demographic challenges outlined in the governor’s State-of-the-State speech last week. The first thing to understand is that Vermont’...
01/16/2020
The start of the new year provides an opportunity to reflect and set out our intentions for the months ahead. This year, I am asking all legislators to join me in committing to protect and expand access for Vermonters who are seeking access to public records. The bottom line is: open government is good government. Vermonters shouldn’t have to pay for access to inspect public records their government creates in the course of agency business. Navigating who to ask, and how to request public records is enough of a hurdle for most Vermonters. They shouldn’t also be charged an arm and a leg to...
01/06/2020
The temptation with bad news, like that of the closing of Green Mountain College, is to sit on one’s hands, paralyzed by structural change beyond immediate local control. The alternative is to come together, line up strategies and do what is in your power to move your community forward. That is just what the community of Poultney has done and is doing. They deserve a great deal of credit and a lot of praise for their dedication, collaboration, leadership, and hard work. The closure of Green Mountain College is an enormous blow to a small town like Poultney. There are ideas in the works around...
01/02/2020
Editor’s note: As this country enters a new decade and tries to put the first two tumultuous decades of this new century behind us, Americans face a peril unknown in the country’s 220 year history: a president who would willingly trade our democratic form of government for that of an autocracy, and a Republican Party led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S.  Attorney General William Barr that would willingly go along. To that end, how the U.S. Senate handles President Trump’s impeachment trial and how American citizens wade through the flood of misinformation and misdirection...
12/23/2019
Editor’s note: An editorial about the credibility of Santa Claus appeared more than 100 years ago in The New York Sun. It was written by Francis Pharcellus Church, an assistant to the paper’s editor. A true Christmas classic, it has outlived its writer, the recipient, and the newspaper that gave it life. Its most famous phrases are often recalled and sometimes parodied. Here we reprint the famous letter and response, partly in the hopes that parents will take the time to read it aloud to children of appropriate ages and for all to reflect on the less commercial aspects of this holiday season...
12/16/2019
It’s the season of joy and light. And among the most heartening local developments this year has been the proposal for a greatly needed solar energy field off South Street Extension in Middlebury.  Yet a small, vocal group of people warn us that we should see solar energy as dark and foreboding — if we can even actually see the carefully screened solar panels in the distance. These doomsayers claim that clean, green, locally produced energy might in fact destroy our local landscape. Maybe it’s better that we get our energy from “some other place,” such as fracked gas that releases dangerous...

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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