State Headliners: U.S. House candidate slams Planned Parenthood, VT mass homicide suspect high on pot

By Guy Page

Congressman Peter Welch held a July 23 press conference at the Vermont State House in support of Planned Parenthood Title X funding, Roe V. Wade, and opposition to the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

To inform readers about candidates who may oppose Rep. Welch in the November general election, Headliners emailed the two Republican candidates for U.S. Congress, seeking their positions about Planned Parenthood and the Kavanaugh nomination. We received this response from Anya Tynio of West Charleston, an advertising sales representative for the daily Newport Daily Express:

Planned Parenthood at the very least needs to be reworked. Their failure to report sexual abuse, especially in the case of a minor, needs immediate investigation and I support the requirement to mandate that PP comply with state laws to report these abuse cases. Reproductive health is one thing, however publicly funded abortions goes against the religious beliefs of thousands of tax payers and thus needs to be changed. As for the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, I do not feel that he is biased against or holds any malice towards women. He has excellent qualifications for the job, including serving under Justice Kennedy, and I support his nomination. For any future questions or requests please contact me through my campaign email atynioforcongress.vt@gmail.com.

A Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Roe V. Wade decision would have little impact on the legal status of abortions in Vermont, Burlington Free Press editor Aki Soga reported July 9. The Vermont Supreme Court struck down the state’s abortion law in 1972 and Gov. Peter Shumlin erased the invalidated law from state statutes in 2014.

Mary Hahn Beerworth, executive director of the Vermont Right to Life Committee, agreed “it will have zero impact.” Due to the political power of organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the Vermont Legislature would be unlikely to enact abortion restrictions in the foreseeable future, she told the Free Press.

Liberty is the topic for middle-schoolers’ summer camp July 30 – Aug. 1

Back for a second year, the Ethan Allen Institute will be hosting a three morning summer camp in the St. Albans area for kids in sixth through eighth grades. The program provides a balance of instruction, entertainment, and activities about the Colonies’ breakaway from Great Britain, the ideological foundation of our country as laid out in the Declaration of Independence, and how the Constitution secures the inalienable rights of U.S. citizens. Space is limited! Contact Linda Kirker for more details and information: lkirker@myfairpoint.net.

Best Social Program Is a Wedding Ring

“If Americans [are] serious about interrupting the cycle of intergenerational poverty, they had to find ways to build more, and better functioning, two-parent families.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released an evaluation of the Administration for Children and Families’ Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) initiative. “HMRF gives $150 million to community-based organizations providing marriage, relationship, and fatherhood education services to thousands of low-income Americans. And the program’s positive outcomes should encourage additional investigation and continued investment…. Couples [who participated in the program] reported higher levels of commitment to their spouse, improved co-parenting behaviors, and higher levels of affection.

Importantly, these programs also reduced levels of destructive behavior: Reports of domestic violence were one-third lower in treatment group versus those in the control group.” (American Enterprise Group, 6/15/18) – Reprinted from July, 2018 Ethan Allen Club newsletter

Drug dealers can’t exploit “personal pot” law – for now

Minutes after the Vermont Attorney General Office’s ruled Monday, July 23 that it’s illegal for drug dealers to “gift” pot while also selling worthless items at exorbitant prices, Physicians, Families and Friends got a call from Associated Press reporter David Jordan looking for a response. Here’s what he wrote in his story:

Physicians, Families & Friends for a Better Vermont, an organization that opposes the sale of marijuana, urged criminal prosecution of those gifting marijuana last week. “All the supporters of this law said, ‘No, this is not about sales, this is just about personal use and cultivation,’” [executive director Guy] Page said. “After July 1, immediately it was exploited for aggressive commercial sales.”

Lou Varricchio, editor of the estimable Vermont Eagle, a weekly newspaper in Addison County, covered our press statement on the recent increase in marijuana and alcohol consumption among Vermont high school students:

“Page has also reported that, for first time since the 1990s, consumption of marijuana and alcohol by Vermont youth has increased. This indicates a real setback for the work that anti-drug and addiction program volunteers have been doing in our schools. ‘The number of Vermont high school students who currently use marijuana has increased from 22 percent in 2015 to 24 percent in 2017. Compared to 2015, more high school students report ever drinking alcohol (56 percent vs. 58 percent), as well as drinking in the last 30 days (30 percent vs. 33 percent),’ Page reports.”

Would-be ban plastic straw ban should consider disabled Vermonters

The Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) is calling for a ban on plastic straws. To the extent that non-plastic straws will be less available in public and more expensive to purchase, this could be a bad thing for many disabled Vermonters, David Flemming writes in the latest Vermont Eagle.

The VPIRG press release mentions the possibility of non-plastic straws, but makes no specific mention of the needs of disabled Americans who cannot drink unassisted without a straw.

Hamas bombs Israel with flaming swastika kites

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley July 24 warned Hamas to stop sending kite bombs into Israel, including this kite bomb bearing the image of a swastika launched on April 20 – Adolph Hitler’s birthday. “If it was happening to our countries, there’d be quite a lot of discussion about it,” she told the U.N. Security Council. The kite bombs have burned 7,500 acres of Israeli land, equal to about 10 times the land area of Paris, she said.

Alleged killer in “largest mass homicide case” in Vermont was high on pot

When Steven Bourgoin rammed his vehicle into a car holding five high school students on October 8, 2016, resulting in their deaths, he was driving impaired by marijuana at twice the legal limit permitted in the State of Colorado, state police say. As reported by VT Digger, his toxicology report showed 10 nanograms of THC (the psycho-active ingredient in marijuana), twice the accepted limit for driving in marijuana-legal Colorado. Vermont as yet has no accepted DUI-marijuana roadside test or impairment blood levels. Other drugs also were present in his system.

The death of the five high-school students, four of whom attended Harwood Union High School in Duxbury, was called the “largest mass homicide case charged criminally in Vermont” by veteran police reporter Mike Donoghue, who has covered the trial of Bourgoin.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan said Bourgoin showed a “wanton disregard for the value of human life,” intentionally driving the wrong way on I-89 at excessive speeds, Donoghue reported. Bourgoin’s trial probably won’t begin until November 2018, Donoghue wrote in May.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR
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