In support of Lori Houghton
Sometime in 2009, I saw an ad in The Essex Reporter that said anyone could come to a meeting at the Brownell Library to discuss a revitalization of Downtown Essex Jct. Since I used to love Tip Top News and the barber shop and Phil’s Trading Post and had been sad to see how the area looked, I was excited to go to the meeting.

At 7:30 a.m., on a Tuesday, I met Lori Houghton. She and I were both at that first meeting of what later became known as Railroad Avenue Recess or Revitalizing Downtown Essex Junction. As our committee worked together to come up with ideas to get people to start using the downtown area, we had to present our ideas to the trustees.

The Train Hop and The Farmer’s Market were our first endeavors. Consider that those events still take place, today, nine years later. One of the strongest forces was Lori Houghton. Most especially for the farmer’s market.

Going to the trustee meetings, at that time, and asking for the space and the ability to make those things happen, was a lot of work. Work made easier because Lori Houghton was there, with us.

When it came time to elect new trustees and Lori Houghton decided to run, I could not stand at Five Corners, enough, with my signs. In the pouring rain, my hands aching from the cold, I knew that if Lori got elected, someone that had the best interests of our entire community at heart would be involved in local government and I could go about my life more lightly, knowing that those living within our community would be well cared for, at all times.

When Lori decided to run as our state representative, I was, once again, driven to stand with signs and show others how strongly I felt that if Lori is in Montpelier on our behalf, we are being well looked after.

Lori is out amongst our community, with such regularity that no matter what I’m doing, I see her. At a Martones lunch table with senior citizens, at Nest Coffee Shop with all ages of our community, at family events; Lori is everywhere. Wanting to know what we think, wanting to know how we feel and, most valuably ensuring we are well represented in Montpelier.

I think it’s important that you join me, Essex Jct., in voting for Lori Houghton to represent us, in the Statehouse, again, for another term.

Lori’s heart and soul are passionately invested in our village, in our community and in our families and our well-being. Get out and vote for Lori on November 6, and feel confident you are in good hands.

Annie Cooper
Essex Jct.

 

Dylan and Lori have my vote
Dylan brings his experience and expertise to his work as someone who has been involved in politics including working for Shap Smith and now on the House Education Committee. Some of you may know that he left high school at age 16 and went on to earn two degrees at the Community College of Vermont and Johnson State College. This is part of what makes Dylan an authentic and unique leader.

Lori has brought to light many of the issues that are impacting Essex as a member of the business community looking to keep jobs in the area. She has focused diligently on helping to further the technology world while making sure that our kids have the necessary resources at the schools in Essex and in Essex Jct. Lori gets tech. She gets the needs of the people.

We need to elect more leaders who are on the frontline working with our educators and employers to expand the skills of Vermont’s 21st century workforce.

Kip Steele
Essex Jct.


Reserving judgment
As I read the cover story from September 27 about the firing of a local special education teacher, I found myself forming an opinion … and then waffling on that opinion. The story seemed to mirror national news in that it left me with the question, “Who’s telling the truth?”

I do not know any of the parties involved, but out of respect for both families, I feel it’s important that I reserve judgment until the facts are known. As I read the article, I found myself resisting a knee-jerk reaction. I later re-read the article, this time more closely, thoughtfully, and critically, and noticed how things such as quotations taken out of context can play a huge role in swaying an opinion. I found myself going deeper into what I read—from both sides—asking questions as if I were investigating it myself.

I also put myself into the shoes of the accused, who asked the school board that he be “allowed the right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.” What if I were accused of such a crime, or what if my husband were, but we knew we were innocent?

If Mr. Zizis is in fact guilty, then may justice be served and may the healing begin. If Mr. Zizis is innocent, sadly, the damage is already done—to his reputation and to his family. And the students who may have benefitted from his role as a special educator over the past year and a half could be counted among the victims.

We, as readers and citizens, may never be privy to all the details of this or any case made public. But in the spirit of “do unto others,” it would seem only fair to hold off on the judging until the facts of the matter are known.

Beth Glaspie
Essex Jct.

 

Support for Marybeth Redmond
Essex is an extraordinary community and deserves extraordinary voices at the Statehouse. This is why I support Marybeth Redmond’s campaign for state representative in Chittenden District 8-1 and encourage those in the district to support her on Election Day.

My first introduction to Marybeth was when we were colleagues at Vermont Works for Women, a statewide non-profit located in Winooski. I was a program coordinator implementing work readiness programs at the women’s correctional facility, and Marybeth was brought on as the organization’s development director. I remember being immediately impressed by Marybeth’s ability to connect with the variety of stakeholders involved with our work. Marybeth’s genuine curiosity and commitment to fully understanding each program brought new energy and support for the work. Numbers, outcome data and report requirements were expertly transformed by Marybeth into powerful and inspirational stories that immediately connected the reader/listener to the essence of the initiatives. Through this dedicated approach and her passion for effective communication, Marybeth opened many doors for the organization and ultimately the hundreds of women and girls in Vermont served by the programs. It’s exciting that these same strengths and approaches will benefit Essex with Marybeth in the Statehouse. Our community has many important stories to share and Marybeth will provide a strong voice for those stories.

Although I am a District 8-2 voter, I am wholly invested in all candidates that serve the Essex community. We are town that is navigating conversations of collaboration, connection, and communication on a daily basis. We need legislators that are committed to these same values at the Statehouse. Marybeth Redmond has my support. I have known her for many years and I’m confident she will be a vibrant voice for our town. I encourage you to learn more about her values, priorities, and background on her website.

Karen Dolan
Essex


In support of Dylan Giambatista
The November election is fast approaching, and village voters will have the opportunity to pick two state representatives to represent us in Montpelier. I am excited to cast one of my votes for Rep. Dylan Giambatista.

Dylan is an energetic and active member of our community. He is a justice of the peace and a volunteer on local and statewide boards, including the board of civil authority, the Essex Community Historical Society Board of Trustees and the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees. When I run into him on a weekend morning, it seems that I’m just getting out of bed by the time that Dylan has already come home from an early morning hike, shared an update on social media about recent happenings in the legislative session and responded to numerous constituent emails. He has boundless energy, and we are incredibly lucky that he channels that energy into representing us Montpelier.

Dylan is finishing his first term as a representative, serving on the House Education Committee. You may have seen stories earlier this year about how Vermont lagged behind the other New England states in providing college tuition assistance for members of our National Guard. Our district has one of the largest number of Guard recruitments in the state, so Dylan made this issue a priority. He was one of the key lawmakers who worked across the aisle to fully fund a new program that will help Vermont National Guard members access college and other postsecondary learning. This is just one of Dylan’s legislative successes, but it is a perfect example of why he is such an important and effective representative – he recognizes issues that directly impact our community, and brings those issues to Montpelier to enact change that will bring positive results back to us.

Dylan is accessible and responsive to us as his constituents. He makes a point of returning every phone call and email that he receives. He and our fellow Rep. Lori Houghton hold regular community meetings to hear feedback from community members – they have held more than 15 community forums since winning election in 2016! He also provides regular updates in The Essex Reporter, on Front Porch Forum and on social media.

I hope that you’ll join me in voting to reelect Dylan Giambatista as our state representative on November 6.

Adrienne Shea
Essex Jct.

 

Support for Redmond
I am writing to express my strong support for Marybeth Redmond as a Vermont State Representative for Essex (Chittenden 8-1). I met Marybeth when we were both settling into this community, 15 years ago. We attended the same church and became friends at a community-based playgroup at Maple Street Park, where our children played and we chatted. I learned then of Marybeth’s strong values, genuine nature and desire to improve people’s daily lives.

I witnessed those traits as Marybeth and her husband hosted a Somali-Bantu family – a single mother and her five children – through the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program in 2004. At the time, I was struck by Marybeth’s commitment to helping this New American family find their place in our community. She balanced the responsibilities of caring for her own young family with the very intense work of helping another young family succeed. Marybeth continues to foster a long-term friendship with and mentor the children to this day.

Also during that time, Marybeth was doing work to help incarcerated people find dignity, education and hope in their daily lives. Her passion and deep sense of responsibility to those most of us never see or hear from, was palpable and changed the way I think about how we should treat those who are in prison. Marybeth also co-founded a writing program for Vermont’s incarcerated women called Writing Inside Vermont. For the past eight years, I have welcomed weekly emails containing the poems and stories written by the participants of this program. The writing is powerful, stunning and courageous. The program has not only given a voice to and empowered incarcerated women, it has enriched my life with a profound understanding of and connection to their lives.

Recently, Marybeth was in my neighborhood, knocking on doors and introducing herself to neighbors. When she stopped to say hello to my 16-year-old daughter and I, Marybeth engaged my daughter in the conversation and educated both of us about the complexities of several new laws that have impacted our community. In her busy campaign, Marybeth took time to connect with my daughter, listen to our opinions and offer her fresh voice and ideas. Marybeth is authentic, focused and lives true to her values. I strongly support Marybeth Redmond and I urge you to do the same. She is a fresh (and strong) voice for our Essex community!

Annie Davis
Essex

 

Linda Myers has my vote
I have already cast my vote for Linda Myers, representative for the Town of Essex. I have known Linda for over 30 years beginning when she worked for The Essex Reporter. I was fortunate to spend several years on the selectboard with her and have contacted her numerous times since she has been our representative in the Legislature to discuss various bills.

Unlike a number of her compatriots, she is and has always put the community of Essex first when deciding how to vote on legislation rather than just following political lines. Her voting record clearly shows she is concerned about the cost of the growth of state government and how it affects our taxes.

Linda is a hard working, easy to talk to and dedicated representative for our town. Please cast your vote for Linda Myers for state representative for Chittenden District 8-1.

Alan L. Nye
Essex

 

The hidden cost of marijuana legalization
The Democrat-controlled Vermont Legislature legalized the possession of marijuana for recreational use, and it became law in July 2018. Their eyes were blinded by the report of new businesses that will be formed, reduction in no-victim crime and the siren call of large inflows of tax money from the regulated sale of this mind altering drug. The unintended consequences of their action will be felt by Vermonters in higher taxes to compensate for increased costs of regulation, increased crime, black market sales, the gateway to stronger drugs and the damage to developing children. Yes, children will get their hands on it – just as they can get hold of tobacco and alcohol.

Vote for Houghton

Now that early voting is available, I want to encourage you to use one of your votes to re-elect Lori Houghton. Lori is a good listener and is great to make herself available in private and public forums to keep this community informed.

For the past two years, at the end of the legislative session, Lori has come to the senior group at First Congregationalist to bring us up to date on legislative actions as well as the state of the village.

Lori has a compassion and dedication to this community that I find to be without equal. Give Lori a big thank you and show her how grateful we are to have her represent us by giving her your support.

Tom Helmstutler
Essex Jct.

 

Support for Turner
Vermont is at a crossroads in this year with elections. I am writing to support Don Turner for lieutenant governor. Let me explain why I am supporting Mr. Turner for the second highest position in the state government. Mr. Turner has served the people of Milton for 14 years as fire & rescue chief, truly a job that demands someone with leadership skills. When I asked former members of the Underhill-Jericho Fire Department about Mr. Turner, they all praised him and say you couldn’t support anyone better. We certainly need leadership in the Vermont Senate. Mr. Turner served as well as a legislature for 13 years as the representative from Milton and currently serves as Town Manager. Don Turner lead a caucus in the Vermont House with many different views, but the one thing he did was always respected their opinions and encouraged members to vote their conscience. A true leader does that.

One thing I can tell you upon looking at Mr. Turner’s voting record is that he remembers the business owners and homeowners in Vermont. He believes that rising taxes are not helping Vermonters or increasing business regulations helps our state economy.

We need someone in the second in command position who will work across the aisle to make Vermont a better Vermont. Since voting has started, I urge voters to support Donald Turner Jr.

Bill Lawrence
Underhill