Think about serving in the National Guard

To the editor:

Starting in 1636, farmers, blacksmiths, and countless other people from all walks of life would put down their implements of work and pick up their muskets and powder to protect their communities, the liberty of their fellow citizens, and to lessen suffering where they found it.

The New Hampshire National Guard of today continues that 377-year journey of the original citizen-soldier by responding to help our fellow Granite Staters during times of need today.

This year was extraordinary, probably the most volatile in 100 years. The COVID crisis and all of its unknown elements changed the very way of life for nearly every citizen. Very tough decisions had to be made regarding gaining control of this invisible beast. Lockdowns, school closings and almost every phase of our day-to-day routines were changed.

While no one can imagine or understand the danger our doctors, nurses and first responders faced and overcame every day to get control of the silent killer, we also had a group of men and women who stepped up to the challenge and helped in every way possible to stop the spread and destruction of COVID.

The New Hampshire National Guard was everywhere they were needed. When most folks were hunkering down in the safety of their homes, the Guard was distributing personal protective equipment and all the therapeutics necessary for the doctors and nurses on the front line of defense.

They supplied telephone coverage to get people the funds to live, they operated mobile testing sites, and now they are helping deliver the vaccine and, in many cases, they are joining other volunteers to put the vaccine in the arms of our fellow Granite Staters.

They did all of this while continuing to deploy to areas of this country and around the world as part of the mission that started 377 years ago to protect their communities, liberty, and to ease suffering wherever they find it. The members of the State Veterans Council are honored to pen this salute to the men and women of the New Hampshire National Guard.

In closing, we would like to ask any of our young men and women of New Hampshire to think about serving in the New Hampshire National Guard. You can stay close to home and still get training and experience that will not only help your fellow citizens, but it will give life experiences that will make you an even better person and the pride of being a veteran.

And to that end, let’s all chat with the school leadership in our communities to allow the men and women of the Guard to address the young people in our schools and explain all of the opportunities the Guard has to offer. New Hampshire is indeed blessed to have these Guard members willing to serve this state and nation anytime anywhere.

Jim Adams, Brendan Finn, Roger Sevigny and Madeline Dreusicke

State Veterans Council members

 

Eversource is not the enemy

To the editor:

It’s irresponsible that some readers automatically assume our electric utilities like Eversource are the enemy.

A letter by Susan Richman falsely claims Eversource wrote HB 315 to consolidate its power and take away the “good” bipartisan bill signed into law last year.

This “good” law would give citizens the power to decide how they want their community power plan to work, auspiciously in the way of renewable energy projects.

If she had checked with the Science, Technology & Energy Committee members, she could have accurately reported that Eversource submitted HB 315 at the behest of critical stakeholders because there was an issue with the “good” law.

The Public Utilities Commission, unable to decipher the conditions of “Community Power” over “Aggregation” (which is what most towns really wanted), was delayed in writing rules.

Thus, the entire law was delayed from going into effect. Eversource submitted HB 315 to get Aggregation going quicker.

The bill is extremely complex. Its language needed massive work, but the Republicans, Democrats and major stakeholders dug in and created an acceptable amendment agreeable to all those concerned.

As a result, the amended bill was positively recommended 18-0 by the committee and hopefully will be approved by the House. This was a true bipartisan effort. The takeaway is when the facts are accurately reported and all parties work to correct an issue, good work can be done.

State Rep. Doug Thomas

Londonderry

 

When it comes to redistricting, follow the Constitution

To the editor:

I would like to thank Gov. Chris Sununu for accepting questions from citizens on NHPR’s “The Exchange.” I was pleased to hear him say that he would commit to a fair and transparent redistricting process this year.

The governor said the Executive Council District 2 map was one of only a very few examples of weird shapes in our state districting maps that he knew of. There is more to gerrymandering than odd-looking shapes on a map.

Our New Hampshire Constitution mandates that towns with a minimum number of citizens (3,290 in 2011) are entitled to their own House district. In 2011 this mandate was denied to 62 of the 152 towns constitutionally entitled to their own House Representative. As the governor stated in his Exchange interview, “with redistricting, it's got to pass the smell test.”

I would like to ask the governor to honor his commitment to follow the New Hampshire Constitution. Please speak up about the need to end gerrymandering by any political party in New Hampshire. He should not wait for a bill to arrive on his desk to let the legislators know he wants a fair and transparent redistricting process this year.

Beth Nelson

Derry

 

School vouchers are a bad idea

To the editor:

It’s very disheartening to read that the New Hampshire Senate has passed an initial draft allowing for school vouchers. This is the latest in a series of Republican-led efforts to defund and disenfranchise our public schools.

That those schools perform well is typically in spite of our state's efforts, rather than because of them. It took a series of lawsuits to force the state to live up to its obligations toward an adequate education. That issue is still a problem some 30 years later, still leaving most funding to local communities and resulting in still wide funding disparities.

The legislature defunded the university system by almost half just a few years ago, and Gov. Sununu appointed a state commissioner who home-schooled his own children.

Let’s make no mistake — homeschooling, charter schools, along with private and religious schools are fine and do well, but the taxpayer shouldn’t be paying for them.

State Sen. Regina Birdsell and other Senate Republicans are trying to portray this as a humanitarian effort. Really? Is that why Republicans in Congress fought so hard against the latest stimulus package as “bloated,” which provides needed support to public schools, while they didn't have a problem with tax code revisions in 2017, giving whopping tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations.

We already have school choice. It's just a question of who pays for it. Let's expose this voucher system for what it is — it's another attempted end-run around funding our schools, rather than fully supporting them.

Tom Walters

Londonderry

 

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