I read about Doug Racine’s departure as Secretary of the Agency of Human Services with deep sadness and a growing sense that an injustice has been done. I have known Doug since the late ‘70s, before he entered electoral politics. We have stayed in touch even as our lives took different turns. I have followed his political career and have always been proud of his accomplishments.

When I worked as an outreach director at an anti-poverty agency, and Doug was in the Vermont Senate, I saw how much he stood with people whose incomes left them unable to afford even the necessities of life. He was often asked to speak at meetings of the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council and was the recipient of several awards as an ally of economically struggling Vermonters. He also received commendation from the state’s environmental groups as a strong advocate for protection of Vermont’s natural resources and its rural way of life. Doug loves his home state and has deep affection and respect for its people and how we live.

Whenever our conversation turned to politics, I was always struck by the clarity of Doug’s purpose: To serve his state. It was not easy for him to put himself forward -- he has a natural and endearing humility -- but he sought public office because he saw it as the best way to help Vermont live up to its highest ideals and become a place where all people are able to live with dignity and hope for a better future.


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People responded to Doug’s sincerity, obvious honesty, commitment and willingness to work hard by electing him many times to the Senate and then to be lieutenant governor.

Because of his honesty and willingness to face the facts, Doug is able to see the many shades of gray in every issue and policy formulation; he will listen to every argument. Some people have perceived this as a weakness. Our take-no-prisoners politics requires that office seekers and office holders project certitude and act decisively, even if they have not thought through the ramifications of their decisions.

We continue to get in trouble with politicians who will jump at an opportunity of the moment without careful deliberation. When your goal is, as it is for Doug, service and not self aggrandizement, getting it right is preferable to getting it fast. Doug’s natural tendency is to collaborate, and this he did to great effect in the Senate, working with people like Sally Conrad and Peter Welch.

At AHS Doug sought to strengthen those programs which best served Vermonters, at the same time seeing to it that our tax dollars were wisely spent. This is not glamorous, grandstanding work, it is public service as we hope it will be: Effective and efficient.

To my knowledge, Doug never took his eye off the prize: To give every Vermonter who needed it a helping hand in a manner that acknowledged their dignity and worth. This he has had to do with very limited resources relative to the need, with no prospect that the governor will seek to increase those resources by asking the wealthiest Vermonters to pay their fair share. The prerogatives of power enables blame to be shifted to others.

The loss of Doug Racine as a public servant is a loss for all Vermonters. He deserves our respect and gratitude.

JOSEPH GAINZA
Vermont Action for Peace

Marshfield

Fun Fest Thanks

The Fun Fest sponsored by the Catholic Daughters in Arlington was a success thanks to the merchants who so generously made donations to our silent auction, those who donated white elephant items and baked goods, and volunteers who worked so hard.

Your help and support are greatly appreciated.

Congratulations to Joe Voto, the winner of our 50/50 raffle.

SALLY McMANUS

Arlington Food for thought on single payer

Some thoughts on the cost of single payer health care: Let’s assume there is a new tax to pay for it. So then, our taxes go up. However, we no longer pay any health insurance premiums so our cost of living go down.

Any state or town employer no longer pays a health insurance premium for their employes so, as in the case of our school system, our property taxes go down.

Also, insurance companies are for profit organizations and with a single payer system there is no profit. That means we keep more of our money and our cost of living goes down again.

On the con side of the single payer system, what happens to all those people pushing around those insurance papers, forms, etc.

Are they now collecting unemployment which makes my cost of living go up again. I don’t know how all this balances out but it is food for thought.

RONALD VAN ORDEN

Bennington