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Letters to the Editor (8/3/16)


Published August 3, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.
Updated August 5, 2016 at 10:11 a.m.

Time Out?

[Re Fair Game: "Cashing In," July 20]: Perhaps a step in the direction of fairer elections would be term limits at all levels of politics. We have it for the presidency; why not the U.S. Senate and House as well as our state legislatures? In my opinion, publicly financed elections are the ultimate way of opening up the process so that our elected bodies would better represent a cross-section of our society. But like term limits, public financing of all elections is opposed by a majority of serving legislators. Why? Because the first goal of most politicians is to win reelection. It is unhealthy for our state and democracy in general when Vermont's member of the U.S. House of Representatives has no opposition and a long-serving senator continues to run decade after decade after decade after... You get the picture. Yes, politicians and their states are "rewarded" by seniority. But it comes at a cost to democracy.

Carol Clauss


Frank Assessment

Barney Frank's complaints sound suspiciously like the "poor me" of a privileged insider who is upset that people clearly like Bernie better than they like Barney [Off Message: "Video: Barney Frank Still Feelin' Berned," July 28]! Sen. Bernie Sanders took the high road, hammering out his issues, while Hillary Clinton, her campaign and the Democratic National Convention torpedoed Bernie in ways that were personal attacks. What the party did to Bernie was inexcusable. Still, in spite of the party's flaws, I will vote for Hillary for the very reasons Bernie has voiced and for the social issues that Hillary has fought for her entire life.

Maureen Ryan


A Liberal for Lisman

Much of Terri Hallenbeck's article about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman focuses on his career at a time when voters may well be skeptical of successful businesspeople ["Taking Stock: Did Wall Street Prepare Lisman to Be Governor?" July 13]. The article presents no conclusion in this regard.

 I think Lisman fits the model of successful homegrown former businessman. That he comes from a business background and is fresh into politics with a fiscally conservative and socially liberal ethos reminds me of Deane Davis and Richard Snelling — two of the most engaging, practical and capable Vermont governors during my lifetime.

 I see Lisman as leader with a good chance of helping us help ourselves. I do not see this kind of possibility in the Democrats or Lisman's Republican opponent, Phil Scott.

 I am grateful to political parties and the role they play but have always been a person who thinks the person and the thought is more important than the party. I am a party switcher, mostly voting for Democrats and sometimes thinking well of Republicans. 

 In this case, though I am quite liberal myself, I feel that Bruce Lisman's thoughtful conservatism is well-founded and won't strain my principles. I will be voting for him in the Republican primary, and I encourage you to do the same.

Robert Bernstein


Behind Bruce

In Terri Hallenbeck's recent article about gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman, she quotes many people who knew Bruce from his career ["Taking Stock: Did Wall Street Prepare Lisman to Be Governor?" July 13]. The people she quoted had very good things to say about Lisman's abilities as a talented manager, a sound thinker and financial expert. People I know who have worked with Lisman on nonprofit boards, such as at the University of Vermont, have made similar observations. Important in the article: His experience in the financial world was not linked to the 2008 market meltdown, as his opponents have tried to assert.

While many people may have great experience and talents, Lisman stands out as a caring and generous person based on his record and my interactions with him. If he is given a chance to serve as our governor, I believe he will be independent and thoughtful. Of all the candidates for governor, he is best suited to get us out of the fiscal mess that has been left by Gov. Peter Shumlin and House Speaker Shap Smith.

Finally, Lisman has enjoyed a successful career and is not looking for a capstone or a stepping-stone. He will get the job done for the good of Vermont's citizens, which is what this state needs.

Wendy L. Wilton


Wilton is the treasurer of the City of Rutland.

Minter Stands Her Ground

Like many of us, I've been on the fence between Democratic gubernatorial candidates Sue Minter and Matt Dunne. Both are intelligent, creative-thinking and dynamic public servants.

Sue's strong support for sensible gun control has won me over [Off Message: "With Focus on Guns, Minter Seeks to Separate Herself From the Pack," July 21]. This is courageous leadership that is shamefully lacking among Vermont's elected officials — virtually every one of them.

Sue Minter deserves our support. She has earned mine.

John Kassel


Casting Kudos

If there were Tony Awards for Vermont theater performances, Nicole Ansari would win Best Actress, and the play Sinners (The English Teacher) — in its opening performance in Hardwick on July 30 — would sweep the other categories! Seven Days reviewer Jacqueline Lawler captured the essence without having seen the play ["Stone Bold," July 27].  

The setting of the play is a public square where two lovers are preparing for the woman to be stoned to death: she, half-buried; he, gathering stones for the mob which will demand he cast the first stone. The fact of her imminent death drives an astonishing transformation in the lovers' relationship.  

The woman, Layla, taunts his male power that can kill her but that isn't courageous enough to be honest, to act independently from his role or to love. This strong, perceptive, magical woman — using only her mind, her emotions and her words — seduces and manipulates the man into honesty, self-disclosure and caring for her. In front of our eyes, she creates an intimacy in the relationship that before seems to have been only sexual desire.

The male represents all unconscious men and all self-perpetuating patriarchal systems, whether in a Middle Eastern country or a Vermont family.  

This was the most powerful, thought-provoking script and interpretation of any play I remember seeing! And relevant: 100 percent of the proceeds went to the local domestic violence nonprofit AWARE, which pointed out that Vermont has a higher rate of domestic violence than almost any other state. Well worth the drive from Burlington! 

Dick Matheson


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