Star Is Reborn
It was my honor and privilege to introduce Star Parker at a recent Vermont Republican Party event on April 5, which also happened to be the 163rd anniversary of Booker T. Washington's birth.
John Walters, in his April 10 Fair Game column, labeled Star Parker as "ultra-conservative." Really?
As founder and president of CURE (the Center for Urban Renewal and Education), Star Parker is the real deal.
Her autobiography Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats: From Welfare Cheat to Conservative Messenger tells her story. For seven years, she was a welfare cheat using "every trick in the book" to beat the system, undergoing several abortions along the way. She finally turned her life around after a long, hard look — brought on by her conversion to Christianity — at how she had been wasting her life and destroying others', as well.
As a black woman, she writes authoritatively and extensively on politics, policy and racial polarization in a sincere effort to offer sensible solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing our nation today.
Star Parker desires to help "save America from itself" with an approach grounded in respect for faith, family and individual freedom.
However, Mr. Walters pejoratively deems this view as "ultra-conservative."
Using his terminology, then, I respectfully invite Mr. Walters to take a long, hard look at where the current "ultra-left," so-called "progressive" socialist policies — as history has repeatedly and consistently proven — will inevitably take us.
Court is the founder and president of the Booker T. Washington Society.
End Sex Trafficking
Kate O'Neill's story ["Trafficked: How the Opioid Epidemic Drives Sexual Exploitation in Vermont," April 10] is horrifying and heartbreaking. Thank you for bringing a hidden problem into the light. I'd like to see the court system pursue the customers involved in sex trafficking; without their business, sex trafficking would come to a screeching halt.
The article and Kate's sister's story testify to how important it is to reach opiate-addicted women as early as possible, when intervention programs would be most successful and the consequences of their drug use would be less grave. Even better, why not try to prevent drug abuse from starting in the first place? Imagine if the women Kate profiled could meet with troubled young girls to share their stories before they tried opiates or other drugs for the first time.
I would love to see a follow-up story with former sex-trafficking victims who have had an opportunity to take advantage of the residential program Kate mentioned in her story. It would help show those still struggling with addiction that there is hope for recovery with an adequate support system.
[Re The Parmelee Post: "Local Recyclables Take to the Streets to Demand Covered Bins," April 5]: I'm grateful for Bryan Parmelee's humorous twist on a serious issue: preserving our recycling efforts so they don't go to waste. Along with landlords, city officials and public safety, we ordinary waste-producing and recycling folk on the Champlain Islands are exploring steps to preserve our drinking water, wetlands, streams, fields, forests, beaches, tributaries, wildlife and children affected by the thoughtless discard of trash so that Lake Champlain, if she could speak, would sigh a big old "thank you."
Stay or Go?
[Re "Are the Rich Really Running From Vermont's 'Death Tax'?" April 3]: I am thrilled that we are having this discussion. Our state's attributes come at a high price. We need money to clean our lake, provide for our aging population, lead in the elimination of carbon consumption, and educate both our youth and those of us struggling to develop skills in an ever-changing job market.
Many Vermonters are choosing to move their residences elsewhere. There is a reason Florida is the biggest destination out of Burlington International Airport: Those who lived here and love it now reside there — and avoid our high taxes.
Those who say there are no data showing this remind me of the Hans Christian Andersen tale of The Emperor's New Clothes. All I can say to them is, "Do you not see how many people own property in Florida?!" Warm weather is not the only motivator; a tax accountant I know said it would be professionally irresponsible of him not to advise the wealthy to move their residences out of Vermont.
Let us not only repatriate our brethren, but attract even more of the wealthy. Let us not tax the few who are left more, but come up with a better tax strategy to widen the revenue base.
Much as we have developed a favorable tax and regulatory environment for captive insurance companies, we should do the same for our friends and neighbors who have prospered in life. Let us do so for all Vermonters.
No Place for Plastic
It is time that Vermont got up to speed on the issue of single-use plastic pollution [Off Message: "Vermont Senate Backs Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags, Foam Containers," March 29].
The world is awash in plastic. A whale starved, full of 88 pounds of plastic bags. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Plastic beach wastelands in Singapore, Wales and Hawaii. Microplastics in our food, soil and waters. Toxins in our wells. Plastics in the Coventry landfill.
Plastic pollution is a moral issue charging us with the responsibility to take care of our own mess. If we enact laws guiding us to thoughtful plastic consumption and disposal, plus sensible oversight of the waste stream within our borders, we can decrease pollution in our state waters, soils and landfill. S.113 is one such bill banning single-use plastics, introduced and passed in the Vermont Senate.
The Senate passed S.113 unanimously. Gov. Phil Scott said he would support the bill. The House is busy with lots of legislation, but we can and must get this done. We must tell House members that this legislation is that important.
Email and phone your representatives, as well as the speaker of the House, Mitzi Johnson. Also contact the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Amy Sheldon, and other committee members. Please do this now!