Exeter community goes above and beyond to help others
To the Editor:
I want to take time to recognize the benevolence of our Exeter area community. Representing Society of St Vincent de Paul Exeter Food Pantry and Cleo Castonguay Community Assistance Center, we cannot exist without the continued kindness and generosity our community displays towards our mission of feeding the hungry and assisting our neighbors in need. SVdP Exeter is able to provide healthy fresh foods and emergency financial support to prevent crisis like evictions and utilities being shut off.
The demonstration of generosity for our charity is extraordinary during the holiday season. I desire to express the deep gratitude to the numerous local organizations such as; Boy Scouts, medical facilities, churches, civic groups, retirement communities, businesses, schools, retail outfits, organized neighborhoods, Rockingham County groups, athletic teams, professional organizations. Not to mention the donations we receive from individual households that have a major impact on our ability to keep our doors open and provide food for our hungry neighbors.
Please keep in mind, the needs critical we meet are not exclusive to the holiday months, we are open 52 weeks a calendar year. The urgency for our foods and services exists all year, every year.
For each $1 we receive, we can purchase approximately $50 worth food and supplies at the NH Food Bank.
Sincerely, thank you to all of you that are kindhearted by contributing to help our Exeter area neighbors in need.
Society of St Vincent de Paul Exeter
You can trust our voting process
To the Editor:
I was very dismayed to read a recent letter to the editor from Kensington resident Al Brandano, who claims there are serious problems with the town’s voting practices and security. His assertions are inflammatory, challenging the competence and integrity of town leaders who manage our elections.
On the Kensington town website, there is a link to Mr. Brandano’s complaint.
Fortunately, there is also a detailed response and rebuttal by assistant town moderator and election team leader Ben Cole, a political scientist whose extensive service to our town also includes selectman, school board member and chair, firefighter and EMT, deputy emergency management director, and church trustee.
Mr. Cole explains the meticulous professionalism and care with which voting is conducted, and point by point refutes Mr. Brandano’s allegations that the town’s use of voting machines compromises the accuracy and validity of results. If you want a thorough, reassuring description of how – and how well – Kensington’s voting process is designed, conducted, and supervised, I encourage you to read Mr. Cole’s response.
I have voted in almost every election over the 37 years we’ve lived in Kensington. Occasionally I have served as a volunteer vote counter. I am proud of and grateful for the highest standards set by town leaders and carried out by participants on election day.
As residents, we have a right to express our concerns constructively and respectfully. Our community depends on civic engagement. But it concerns me a lot that spreading what appear to be unfounded and inaccurate allegations can damage public trust, reputations, and goodwill. That hurts us all.
Act now: Codify Roe in NH with the Access to Abortion-care Act
To the Editor:
I remember the pre-Roe era as a time of repression for young women, a dark and dangerous time. On my college campus in the early 70s, we shared whispered stories of girls dying from botched abortions. The story that stayed with me was of the girl who drove to a New York City where an unskilled backroom butcher perforated her uterus. As she lay there hemorrhaging, the abortionist dragged her to the hotel elevator. She died alone in that elevator.
I also remember January 22, 1973, the day Roe vs. Wade was decided. With nothing but word of mouth, the news of the Supreme Court decision spread across my large urban campus. Something monumental for American women had just happened, and we knew it. We were respected in the eyes of the law. The U.S. Constitution guaranteed that we could make decisions about our own bodies and the trajectory of our lives. In the ensuing 50 years, I have witnessed the long-term and far-reaching consequences of Roe as women have taken their place in the world, contributing to our nation in ways our mothers could never have dreamt of.
Now as Roe hangs in the Supreme Court’s balance, we have a New Hampshire solution: The Access to Abortion-care Act (SB436). This bill will codify Roe, protecting the constitutional rights of Granite Staters to have access to safe, legal abortion no matter what the Supreme Court does.
Next Wednesday, January 19, the Senate will hear this bill. Even if you have never acted before, but support women’s constitutional right to an abortion under the law, please act now! Your voice matters. Please contact Senator William Gannon and urge him to support The Access to Abortion-care Act at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 603-271-3077
You can also remotely register your support for SB436 by visiting http://gencourt.state.nh.us/remotecommittee/senate.aspx
Click on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. Under the drop-down menu select the Senate Judiciary and SB 436 at 2 p.m. Continue with the drop-down menus stating that you support the bill.
We are the majority; let’s make our voices heard for our daughters’ and granddaughters’ sake.
Let’s embrace a future full of hope
To the Editor:
It is no secret that America has suffered many recent tragedies, but perhaps the greatest of these is far worse than any ailment or political blunder; that is to say, America’s lost belief in hope.
Hope is the attribute of desiring in expectation and believing it attainable in reality. Every generation expected their children to surpass them and hoped for a better future always on the horizon.
The lion’s share of Americans no longer trusts in hope. Instead, they despair because of the tragedies of the last decade. Corporate media and social media seldom assist in this situation. They fan the flames of despair and cook a mix of horrible news with dreadful insights to bake a sorrowful cake that Americans consume daily.
To break this depression, we must throw out this nasty plate set by those profiting from despair and reorient ourselves through the Christmas spirit. Many Americans enjoy Christmas regardless of their personal or global situations by remembering the tenants that make the season magical: peace, love, and joy, which all contribute to goodwill and genuine relationships. Despite our issues, we are blessed in this land, and through this spirit, Americans can shake off the shackles of depression and despair in the season of hope.
I wish my fellow citizens here in our Granite State or wherever this is read a Merry Christmas. Let us remember the spirit of this season of goodwill and renewed in peace, love, and joy; we can embrace a future full of hope.
Ethan M. Bald
Sen. Hassan seeking to protect elections
To the Editor:
I commend New Hampshire's U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan for deciding to stand up for nonpartisan administration of elections.
President Biden has recognized voting rights as our nation's number one issue (even back-burnering his Build Back Better legislation), and on December 17, Senator Hassan announced that she has come to the conclusion that it is essential to carve out an exception to the filibuster rule for voting rights laws. In the past, she had opposed modifying the filibuster.
“If we can’t protect elections," she observes, "we are faced with a slide toward authoritarianism, where people who are put into office by partisans ... are increasingly divorced from the will of the people.”
Election bills currently before the Senate include the Freedom to Vote Act, a scaled-back version of the For the People Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. These would establish rules for the administration of federal elections and restore protections provided by the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were removed by the Supreme Court in 2013.
Senator Hassan notes that state legislatures have been taking action to impose partisan controls that would ignore properly cast votes. She cited a Georgia law that would allow the majority party to “seize control” of the state election board, and an Arizona bill that would give the state legislature power to overturn the certification of presidential electors. And such bills are pending in numerous other states.
"And," she stated, "arcane Senate rules are being used as an excuse not to act. This cannot stand. We must change the rules, to allow a simple majority of this body, as our Founders intended, to pass laws that will protect the right to vote and protect American democracy.”
“The idea that our elections are fair, free, and impartially run is foundational to our democracy," Senator Hassan said. "It’s the bedrock for everything else. ... I would love it if our Republican colleagues would join with us to protect our critical democratic systems, but if they’re not, I think it appropriate to make an exception to the filibuster... so that we could allow straight majority votes on protecting essential voting rights that are essential for people in New Hampshire, essential for people around the country and essential to our standing in the world -- because our adversaries… would love nothing more than to see us fail.”
She noted that her father fought in World War II and understood what happens when people don’t take a stand to protect democracy. “That’s why I think it is important that we come together in the United States Senate to find a way to protect elections that are the very core of who we are," she said. Senator Hassan was exactly right in pointing out that free and fair elections protect individual liberties and make civil society and a strong economy possible.
There is already precedent for “carve-out” filibuster exceptions, such as the recent raising of the debt ceiling and Mitch McConnell's 2017 action to allow judicial appointments.
Governor Chris Sununu has criticized Senator Hassan strongly for taking this pro-democracy stance.
Voucher law guts our schools and raises taxes
To the Editor:
As parents and grandparents, we strongly support our public school system. Public schools are the bedrock of our communities and our democracy, serving 90% of N.H.’s youth.
Our public schools require and deserve our fullest support - not the intentionally disruptive, poorly designed, inequitable, and financially irresponsible educational voucher plan in the Legislature’s House Bill 607.
HB 607’s educational voucher program diverts funds from public schools and directs them toward private schools and homeschooling. Private schools and homeschooling are helpful alternatives for some families, but not at the expense of the large majority of N.H. families and tax-paying residents.
Vouchers mean public schools will lose critical funding, compromising the quality education our children require and deserve. Pulling state and local resources from the public school system to pay for vouchers will further stress and fragment our communities. Your property taxes will increase to fund these additional, mandated expenses. Do you want to pay more for a program that undermines our schools?
The educational voucher law is profoundly wrong for N.H. We still have a chance to mitigate its damage in our upcoming town meetings. Show up and urge your town to not participate in this program. And vote in the next elections for representatives who care about our public schools, N.H. values, and fiscal responsibility.
Susan and Jim Varn
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Exeter NH community goes above and beyond to help others: Exeter Letters