In the News

Letters to the Editor- The Other Paper

October 13, 2016

In Support of Sam Handy

I am writing in enthusiastic support of Sam Handy’s campaign to represent District 7-2 in the Vermont House of Representatives. I believe in Sam as a person, and as a young, active and positive member of our community who will work hard on our behalf, and whose fresh perspective will help bring about change in Montpelier.

Sam’s platform around making Vermont more business-friendly, finding ways to reduce the tax burden on young families, and focusing on education are shared by many, and will help improve our wonderful community. But, as much as I believe in the political goals that are central to Sam’s candidacy, what is more important to me is my belief in his character, values, work ethic, and his love for our community and our state.

I hired Sam as the JV boys basketball coach at South Burlington High School, where his positive impact as a leader and advocate for students was profound. I see in his coaching, qualities that make me confident in Sam as our representative. Sam has a passion for coaching, he communicates effectively, he is humble yet self-assured, he has a tireless work ethic, a desire to learn and improve, and he brings infectious enthusiasm and joy to his coaching every day. He cares about his players, and is an important role model for impressionable young student-athletes. This is the type of young leader we need in our community.

I have known Sam Handy since our paths crossed years ago through baseball and I believe his background as a competitive athlete will also serve him well as he fights for us in the legislature. As a young business owner he is aware of the economic challenges faced by many, and as a lifelong South Burlington resident, he knows our community very well. Sam is running for office because he cares, and because he believes he can make a difference. He is a newcomer on the political scene but he is passionate, motivated and qualified, and I am pleased to support his candidacy.

Ed Hockenbury, South Burlington

Support for Sam Handy

I’m writing today to express my support for Sam Handy’s run for the Vermont House of Representatives for Chittenden district 7-2. I’m not here to labor the issues. I’m here to talk about the kind of person we need watching out for us in Montpelier, and I strongly believe that person is Sam Handy.

Sam has been a constant in my life since we were young. He has always been there for me and I am proud to be there for him as he takes on this new challenge in his life. Sam takes his relationships, both personal and professional, very seriously. He is a man of good morals, someone who is sincere and transparent when it comes to his intentions. That is something I have always admired about Sam and something that I think would be of incredible value in our legislature.

Sam is a businessman at heart. He is good with money and knows how to prioritize things that need to be done in order to keep things moving forward. But, even more than that, Sam is good with people. He knows that Vermont residents, both individuals and businesses, are struggling to make ends meet in our community. He can see where things have gone astray in the current administration and I know that with support he can make positive changes.

I know he will have my support on election day, and I hope you will consider giving him yours as well.

Don Johnson, South Burlington

September 29, 2016

Why My Son is Right for South Burlington

I am incredibly proud of Sam and everything he has accomplished in his life thus far. He is a college graduate, local business owner, and maybe most importantly, a supportive husband and father. That is why I am honored to be able to write this letter in support of him, as he makes his run for the Vermont House of Representatives.

Sam and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye when it comes to public policy, among other things, but we do agree that the financial health of our state and our residents should be at the top of Montpelier’s priority list, which does not currently seem to be the case. It is clear that our economic climate is in trouble, young people continue to leave the state to seek better job opportunities, even if it means leaving their families.

My husband and I are lucky to have Sam and his younger brother here in Vermont with us, but we desperately miss our daughter, Jacklyn, who has moved out of state because of a job opportunity that she couldn’t find here. Jacklyn spent 20 plus years in Vermont before pursuing a Bachelors of Social Work degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She returned home and hoped to find a job serving those in our community, but unfortunately was unable to find work that matched her education and would also allow her to live comfortably. She decided to return to get her Masters, but after graduating, realized that if she wanted to stay in that line of work, the cost of living in Vermont would be too great.

Social work is not for the faint of heart. Though very rewarding, the stress of the job can be high, and as her mother, I agreed that adding unnecessary financial stress could have long-term negative effects on her health and wellbeing. For that reason, she took a job in North Carolina. Young people should have the choice to stay here if they want to. Leaving should not be the only option. It should be a choice and right now it is not.

Pamela Handy, South Burlington

September 22, 2016

Undecided in a Pivotal Race

When I moved to South Burlington, the lack of candidates for state representative was quickly apparent. Through three election cycles (2012-present) we have seen one challenger in 2012, none in 2014, and now in 2016 we have only one contested race. I am one of the lucky citizens who gets to make a decision on November 8 which really matters: reelect a 22-year incumbent in Ann Pugh or let Sam Handy earn my vote.

As the incumbent, Ann has represented our district commendably by making it a point to tackle and resolve social issues in our state. A letter in the September 15, 2016 issue of The Other Paper endorsed Ann, and frankly the reasoning baffled me. Had the reasons been a social agenda, there would be no argument, but the writer discussed the “declining population, revenue shortfalls, … and our youngest-best educated residents leaving after graduation” as reasons to keep reelecting her. These epidemics have all existed while she has been in office, and they are getting worse rather than better.

The revenue troubles are widely driven by the new taxes that are needed to drive the social agenda; taxes which drive the wealthy from our state. Representative Pugh has not actively opposed these tax increases, and in many cases she voted in favor of them.

This year will bring fresh faces and ideas to Vermont’s governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general offices. It is really exciting to see a fresh face in District 7-2 as well in Sam Handy. Sam is a long-time South Burlington resident and a fellow business owner. He would definitely bring a fresh perspective and breathe new life into our state’s fiscal policies if he is elected. I guess I have seven more weeks before I have to choose one over the other, but I am really glad that this year I finally have a choice!

James Mount, South Burlington

Thoughts from a Senior Citizen

I would like to share a few thoughts on this year’s state election from a native Vermonter and a senior citizen. I believe this election is crucial to Vermont’s future and here is why.

First, there has been very little job growth in Vermont, resulting in little increase in state revenue. This has caused Vermont to fall behind in many areas, including building and repairing the infrastructure of our roads, waterways, and water treatment facilities; in meeting the financial needs of our social programs; and in the ability to adequately fund our schools. Lack of job growth also affects the ability for our youth to find quality jobs, forcing them to seek jobs outside Vermont. I speak from experience, as two of my three sons left the state to seek better job opportunities.

Second, the Legislature continues to budget expenditures over state revenue, resulting in a constant need to increase taxes and fees to offset added expenditures. The Legislature is causing Vermont to live beyond its means, this is not what we as individual Vermonters have an option to do.

Third, the high cost of living in Vermont has caused many residents to change their residency to another state. And many more, including myself, are considering such a move.

For these reasons, and many more, Vermont needs a new direction and that includes a change in the current administration and Legislature. I am supporting Sam Handy to be our State Representative from the Chittenden 7-2 district. Sam is a native Vermonter and has been a resident in South Burlington for almost his entire life. Sam is a local business owner and knows what it takes to open and run a business, and to meet the financial needs of a weekly payroll. And, possibly the most important, he knows what it takes and to support and raise a family in South Burlington.

I think Sam will help set Vermont on a new path, one that encourages and enables job growth, assuring Vermont lives within its means and enables our youth and senior citizens to remain living in Vermont.

September 15, 2016

We Need Change Now

It is truly remarkable to watch young people who have passed through my football program go on to succeed both on and off the field. I’ve been a coach for almost 50 years and I’d like to think that I have played a small part in their successes. Sam Handy is one of my boys. Sam was a standout when he played for me, and now more than 20 years later, he continues to impress me with his work ethic and sheer determination to make something of himself.

An exemplary athlete from the start, Sam was always eager to learn, wanted to get better, and determined to thrive. He took constructive criticism and advice with ease and immediately put them into action. These are the qualities we need in our state’s leadership.

With a focus on our state’s economic prosperity, Sam practices what he preaches on a daily basis. As a local business owner, Sam knows firsthand what it’s like to have people’s livelihood dependent on him. He is on the front lines of job creation and is well versed in the demands and pressure that come with working within a tight budget, dealing with burdensome taxes, and the stress of having to make payroll.

Rising costs and lower incomes have made it hard for middle-class families to make ends meet. More than 50 percent of the children who play for me are unable to pay their entrance fee. Our young people are leaving Vermont to find jobs, and once they do, they rarely return.

Montpelier is in desperate need of someone who knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the swinging pendulum. I have great faith that Sam will be the balance that our legislature needs. We need someone who has built a business, maintained payroll, and most of all developed a budget and balanced it! We are at a point where Vermonters are being driven away by the insatiable appetite for increasing taxes. Enough is enough. We need change now.

Rene LaBerge, South Burlington