Op/Eds

I wish I could vote for both Esther Thomas, who I helped recruit, and Andy Hooper, my good neighbor, on Middlebury selectboard for the one-year seat for which they are competing. I will have to choose. It is healthy to have such a robust choice. Esther brings a fresh, encouraging and open voice to our diversity efforts in this critical time of this focus. Andy brings local government experience serving on Montpelier’s selectboard and now on Middlebury committees, especially on our library board, working to sustain this essential town asset. You’ll need to decide on Middlebury’s priority for...
Andy Hooper for Middlebury selectboard! Andy is an all-around great guy. He is intelligent, erudite, compassionate, and even-tempered. I have known him as my neighbor and friend ever since he moved in next door to our farm on South Munger Street. My first impression of him was that he was willing to talk to anyone at any time, which is a great quality for an elected official. As I grew to know him I found him to be a quintessential Vermonter — a love of Cabot cheese and maple syrup, from multiple generations living in this state, wily, the whole nine yards. Andy taught me a lot about...
I would like to share my perspective on Ripton’s withdrawal from the ACSD District. I have been actively following the ACSD school consolidation discussion and have attended every ACSD Board and facilities master plan committee meeting since late 2019. I will be voting “yes” to ratify Ripton’s town vote. From firsthand knowledge, I know that Ripton is not making this decision lightheartedly. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to personally meet several Ripton families and I can attest to the fact that their decision to withdraw from this district is what they believe will be best...
The Democrats are the party of values. Remember when the Republicans caste themselves around “Family Values”? Well, these days, the situation is 180 degrees different. The Dems have stepped forward for these values: decency, integrity, honesty, the truth, respect for science and factual evidence. They support human kindness, compassion, empathy, respect for all, respect for the land and the environment. They are attempting to help the largest numbers of Americans and they are inclusive in their definitions of Americans. They are for the public good and the want to fight injustice and racism....
Peter Conlon is the right person for ACSD School Board. Throughout the 25 years I have known Peter, he has served our community with thoughtful, diligent concern for all residents. Peter does not pretend that there are simple answers to the difficult situation Vermont schools are in. He has what we need, including a depth of knowledge and experience to understand the state and federal laws that relate to education, and an understanding of local fears and concerns that run through all communities in the district. Peter is a clear communicator; he is very highly respected by his colleagues on...
Middlebury’s $50,000 appropriation to boost the downtown is a needed step in the right direction. The money will seed “Kick Start Middlebury,” an effort to fill downtown storefronts with viable businesses by way of offering $10,000 incentive packages for interested entrepreneurs. It’s a bit of a gimmick, and the timing’s not perfect being as we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, but the hope is that the $10,000 will jumpstart conversations about what types of potential businesses would not only succeed in the downtown, but contribute to its vitality. The hurdles are high. Retailers, as well...
A reporter called me this week to ask me about the history of the border. He wanted to know if I thought that there was any chance that President Biden would tear down any part of the border fence, since it seems that in his first week in office, Biden moved quickly to undo many of the previous administration’s policies. He also asked if there was ever a point in history where any U.S. government entity had removed any part of the border control apparatus. I could not think of any. I am a historian of the U.S.-Mexico border. I write about how and why the border transformed from an open range...
Gov. Phil Scott was asked at his Jan. 15 press conference whether the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 had made him question his allegiance to the Republican Party. Scott responded that the Republican Party needed to decide whether, going forward, it would be a party defined by loyalty to Donald Trump as a person, or by support of traditional Republican principles such as small government and economic opportunity. A few days after the events of Jan. 6, the Vermont Legislature adopted a resolution condemning the storming of the Capitol Building as an attack on democracy. The...
As the nation watches the second impeachment trial of ex-president Donald Trump unfold, it is clear that what hangs in the balance is the integrity, and perhaps viability, of the Republican Party. Of the party’s integrity, Trumpism has taken its toll these past four years. It’s not only that Trump’s big lie about the election being stolen was adopted and spread by party leaders for far too long — even as most knew it was not true — but that, over the past four years, the party’s platform has been supplanted by lies, conspiracy theories, and self-serving policies that Trump imposed. Today, the...
13th in a series The Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787. It consisted of delegates from 12 of the 13 states. Its first action was to elect George Washington President of the Convention. Its chief business was to draft a constitution for the United States of America. On September 17, 1787, after unanimously approving a draft of the Constitution, which it forwarded to the states for ratification, the convention was adjourned. Twelve of the 13 states sent delegates. Rhode Island chose not to attend, but it would subsequently ratify the Constitution. Because the...

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Addison County Independent