Letters to the Editor - 6-13-24

An open letter to Rep. Pat Ryan

Two things have been troubling me lately. You can help.

It is far past time that the Israelis cease their invasion of the Gaza Strip. We who view this bloody pummeling from TV and newspapers and other news sources can’t help but think of the Visigoths descending on farm villages, but armed by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics.

This is all about the Israeli military’s failure to anticipate the horrible Hamas incursion (even though Hamas had been building tunnels, training, and importing arms for years), Netanyahu’s desperate hunger to stay in power, and the rise of the Israeli settler ultra-right with the covert help of the Israeli military. The slaughter of innocent, subjugated (by Hamas) civilians, and the smashing of their homes and neighborhoods to rubble may surpass even the most stupefying conventional-arms atrocities of World War II. And we supplied the munitions.

There is a clear difference between support for Israel in a hostile region and providing carte blanche encouragement for its zealots and militarists to exercise unchecked Old Testament vengeance.

I’d also like you to take more risks to reduce the climate crisis. It’s a clear imperative that cuts across all class, race, ethnic, and political divisions in our society. This is a chance for leader-ship on an issue that most officials view with suspicion—even fear that it will cost them votes.

Leadership, as I believe you know, requires seeing what your public does not yet understand then persuading them that change is necessary, meanwhile anticipating and disarming attacks from the nuts, the self-absorbed, the grandstanders, the mindless shouters, and the truly insidious amoral calculators of political advantage.

If we don’t slow and stop global heating—well, the record of species extinction due to climate change is as solid as age-old rock, and far surpasses the record of species survival. But we can do it, with leaders like you. It’s simply a matter of popular will, which requires inspiration, and that’s what leaders can provide.

Here’s hoping you are reelected by a comfortable margin. I’ll be working for you, trusting that you are the leader in DC we need.

Tom Parrett

North East

Critical of article on Barrett

John Coston’s article, “Didi Barrett Faces Primary Battle in June 25 Election” is not news. The article does not mention any issues between the candidates; indeed the article doesn’t even mention the challenger’s name! Instead it simply recites all Ms. Barrett’s campaign talking points. Good for Ms. Barrett. For your readers not so much.

John Forelle

Pine Plains

A vote for Barrett’s re-election

I am writing in support of Didi Barrett’s re-election to the New York State Assembly.

I am in my third term as Supervisor of the Town of Stanford, and Assemblywoman Barrett has been actively involved in not only supporting our community, but in supporting her entire State Assembly District.

Didi has aided our town financially in many ways.

She secured $247,000 for the Stanford Fire District for an ATV and new firefighting equipment. She secured $125,000 for our Recreation Department to resurface our derelict tennis courts.

She helped the Town of Stanford secure a grant of $274,000 to renovate our extraordinary SPARC Park.

Equally if not more important, are the ways that Assemblywoman Barrett has advocated for our entire district.

A longtime environmentalist, she passed the nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), and led the fight to stop oil barges from docking on our beautiful Hudson River.

As a lifelong advocate for women and girls, and a former Planned Parenthood board member, Did passed the Reproductive Health Act to codify a woman’s right to choose in the New York State Constitution.

She passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which increased access to contraception and protections for providers and patients who receive reproductive healthcare.

A champion of local agriculture, she passed pioneering Regenerative Agriculture legislation and helped protect Hudson Valley farmland.

Didi has consistently voted to raise the minimum wage, and ensured its continued growth by tying it to inflation.

As former Chair of the Assembly’s Veterans Affairs Committee, she helped create the first executive level Department of Veterans Affairs in New York State.

For these and many other reasons, I voice my full support of re-electing Assemblywoman Didi Barrett to Assembly District 106.

Wendy Burton



Didi Barrett’s ‘admirable record’

Claire Cousin may have an admirable record as a community organizer and county official and her aspirations to higher elective office are understandable. However, I submit that someone truly concerned with the welfare of Assembly District 106’s constituents would not challenge Didi Barrett for her position. Didi is as hard-working, dedicated and effective a legislator as one can imagine.

Didi has focused on communities’ important day-to-day needs like road repairs, education on tick-borne illnesses, funding for non-profit organizations servicing people at risk, and veterans’ benefits. She has also supported important progressive legislation on issues such as women’s reproductive freedom, mental health services, and the environment.

Claire Cousin’s false accusation that Didi “pushes a dangerous polluter agenda” seems to be the result of ambition over integrity. Didi has a lifetime “A” rating and endorsement from the New York League of Conservation Voters, has pushed for effective implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and co-sponsored the Climate Change Superfund Act.

Didi has won numerous elections in a district with a large Republican voting population. Why would Democrats risk losing a seat in the Assembly, especially when Didi has filled that seat so effectively?

Amy Rothstein

Pine Plains

Is your vote for sale?

State primary elections are typically low-turnout events, but this year’s June 25 primary vote for New York’s 106th Assembly District is an important one for Democrats.

If you read last week’s letters to the editor, you saw that the Democratic machine is going all-in for the incumbent, Didi Barrett. When it came time to list reasons to vote for Didi, rather than challenger Clair Cousin, the only thing the North East/Millerton Democratic committee could think of was money.

Money is at the heart the battle for AD106. While Didi has made sure that every state grant to our area has her name on it, it’s also true that every state legislator receives a share of state discretionary money and every state legislator distributes this money in their district. No “fighting” required.

On the other hand, not mentioned in last week’s endorsements was important information about where the candidates have been raising their campaign funds. Claire has raised all of her campaign budget from small individual donations (average $60) , and she’s promised not to accept any money from lobbyists in this campaign or in the future. Didi has raised tens of thousands of dollars from corporate interests, particularly the fossil fuel industry (Average $600). Didi is on the record admitting that fossil fuel companies are supporting her campaign, and one of her first acts as chair of the Energy Committee was to introduce a bill that would undermine the NYS climate law that was prominently mentioned in last week’s profile.

If you want to maintain business-as-usual in Albany, by all means vote for Didi. But if you’re tired of duplicity and machine politics, please consider voting for Claire Cousin.

Bill Kish

North East


We know it is close

to something lofty.

Simply getting over being sick

or finding lost property

has in it the leap,

the purge, the quick humility

of witnessing a birth—

how love seeps up

and retakes the earth.

There is a dreamy

wading feeling to your walk

inside the current

of restored riches,

clocks set back,

disasters averted.

—Kay Ryan

From “The Best of It: New and Selected Poems.”

Copyright © 2010 by Kay Ryan.

Reprinted with the permission of Grove Press.

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