Forum for Feb. 24, 2024: Running Lebanon School Board

Published: 02-23-2024 5:13 PM

Why I’m running for Lebanon School Board

My name is Richard Ford Burley and I’m running for the Lebanon School Board because I believe in supporting our children now and as they grow.

As an autistic person with ADHD, I know how important it is for neurodivergent kids to receive special educational support. As a child, I was blessed with an amazing education that helped me thrive where so many students don’t. My 2-year-old son is already receiving incredible educational support, and I want that to be available to all families.

Supporting children also means supporting underrepresented, LGBTQIA+ and racialized students. In my DEI Commission work and in my own life, I’ve seen the power of representation, so I categorically oppose political attempts to ban books from our libraries and conversations from our classrooms. I believe in the scientific consensus surrounding queer and neurodivergent children — which universally demands a supportive, flexible and nurturing environment for our kids.

Supporting our children also means recognizing that education isn’t “one size fits all.” My Planning Board work has shown me the many opportunities for students to benefit themselves and their communities by entering the trades, so I’m excited to support our collaboration with the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center — and the new Take Flight program at LHS — and to help students succeed as skilled workers and entrepreneurs.

Our children are precious, so it’s of the utmost importance that we do everything we can to help them succeed, to create a resilient, well-educated generation to take Lebanon into the future.

Richard Ford Burley


Vermont should ban
assault weapons

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I strongly urge Vermont lawmakers to ban assault weapons. House Bill 582 and Senate Bill 40 and 239 are awaiting consideration.

These weapons of war are mayhem machines that have no place in a civil society. It’s no surprise they’re the gun of choice for mass shooters: they inflict maximum damage in seconds. Sadly, our country suffered 656 mass shootings in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The carnage in Lewiston, Maine, should be a wake-up call to rural states like Vermont. Fortunately, the threat at Woodstock High School was nipped in the bud last week before any tragedy ensued, but we may not be so lucky the next time.

Parents send their children to school each day with the hope they will return home safely. We owe it to families to provide this reasonable safeguard and ban assault weapons.

Congress passed an assault weapons ban in 1994, and our nation was safer for it. Since that ban sunset in 2004, we’ve seen a disturbing uptick in mass shootings, especially with assault weapons (e.g., Sandy Hook; Pulse Night Club, Orlando, FL; Parkland, FL; Las Vegas; El Paso’s Walmart; Buffalo’s Tops Market; Uvalde; Lewiston). The list is long. And there are more than 20 million of these firearms in circulation now, within easy reach of the next bad actor.

Australia banned that type of firearm used in the Tasmanian mass shooting in 1996 (35 killed, 23 wounded), and they’ve had none since. New Zealand enacted a similar ban after a mass shooting in 2019 (51 killed, 50 wounded), and like Australia, they’ve had none since.

It took 13 years to get a safe storage law in Vermont. Lewiston shows us we don’t have 13 years to fix this lethal problem. Ban assault weapons. Tell your lawmakers and demand it of anyone running for office.

Bob Williamson

South Woodstock

Vermont has to slow its spending

Inflation, and a plethora of tax hikes, have devastated family budgets, and now Vermonters are feeling the effects of the Democrats’ insistence on a 20% across the board DMV fee increase as well. The chair of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Sara Coffey, (D-Guilford), recently attempted to justify the increase in a newspaper op-ed. She claims the increase was “fiscally responsible” and “needed” to get federal matching funds. Gov. Scott had already provided for Vermont’s matching funds from a general fund surplus. The problem was, the Democrats had already earmarked that money for one of their own pet projects and consequently had to get matching funds from a fee increase. WPTZ reported on April 7, 2023; “Democrats believe the nearly $20 million per year that comes with the increases, along with other tax increases, will benefit Vermonters in the long term. They also said it will create a sustainable revenue stream for programs such as universal child care and their paid family leave program.” Nothing about matching federal funds, only about more money to spend.

I find it extremely disingenuous that Coffey is lecturing anyone about fiscal responsibility when it has been the Democratic/Progressive supermajority that has overseen a state budget increase from $6 billion dollars to over $8.5 billion dollars in just the last few years. Democrats have made it more costly to work, to feed our families, to heat our homes, and now to drive a car. A slew of bills this session will again add to taxes, fees and legislative salaries, and make it more difficult to live in Vermont.

The reckless spending needs to stop before we are all financially buried, and the fastest way to make it stop is in the voting booth. Remember, come November!

Bill Huff


Huff is the Orange County Republican Party chairman.

Advance Transit needs
to reach farther

I am a frequent user of the Advance Transit (AT) public transportation system, and at first I was pleased that they were extending the hours and adding a set of runs on Saturday. It seemed like a good idea and helpful for everyone. However they neglected an important part of their system, especially for those out on the furthest end of their transportation lines. I live in Enfield, and the hours and Saturday runs have not extended for us out here. It’s like the people who run AT don’t care about, or think that people who live in Canaan and Enfield actually have jobs that end at or around 6 p.m. in Lebanon/West Lebanon/Hanover/WRJ. The people who run AT need to respect everyone who uses their system, not just those that live in the “metro” areas. We have to work and get home the same as everyone else.

Peter A. Parent


Trump will rise again

Americans have seen Democrats and their media allies promote lies Re: Donald Trump, for more than eight years now! We remember Trump building over 500 miles of wall, and a stay-in-Mexico policy, which kept immigrants from entering the country, until they could be “vetted,” to make sure they weren’t criminals. Biden on his first day in office, opened the border to everyone around the world, and Millions came across, as well as tons of illegal drugs.

Americans have watched Democrats claim that Trump colluded with Russians, and after a 22 month investigation, costing $40 million, the “Mueller report” determined there was “No evidence Trump colluded with Russians!”

Americans have seen the investigation and reports by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, in February 2019, followed by Special Prosecutor John Durham’s report, 2 years later, detailing how Democrats used a fabricated document paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and given to the F.B.I. to begin an investigation of Trump. Horowitz and Durham claimed the F.B.I. spied on the Trump campaign, then later on President Trump. The F.B.I. even hired Russian spy, Igor Danchenko to try to dig up dirt on Trump.

On March 30, 2022, the Washington Post wrote an article that the Federal Election Commission, fined Clinton $8,000, and the Democrat National Committee $100,000 for using campaign funds, to finance the bogus Steele Dossier, used by the FBI, to begin investigating Trump.

Americans remember when the FBI was a law enforcement agency, but now they have become Biden’s secret police! Elon Musk released emails that show the FBI paid millions to censor Trump supporters and the N.Y. Post, on the former Twitter. The FBI has also investigated Catholic dioceses, in three different parts of the country.

Americans remember how much better off they were three-plus years ago, under Trump and can’t wait to vote him in again! Trump 2024!

John Nelson


Trump is on the mat

Indeed, he is tying to sell golden sneakers for $399. Betcha they were not made in the USA.

Elaine Smith