Letters to the editor on McGovern and Dole, transgender rights, Newton, Kochs, Romney math

10/30/2012 12:00 AM

10/29/2012 5:20 PM

McGovern, Dole set the standard

When former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern passed away last week, I could not help but remember back to my days as a staffer for then-Sen. Bob Dole on Capitol Hill. I was privileged to witness their relationship, which set the standard I have held for how government – and politics – should work in America.

These two great men worked together to combat hunger, not just in the United States but around the world.

I typed many a speech and attended hearings in the Senate hunger committee back in the 1970s, watching these men forge the federal food-stamp program, the school-lunch program and the program to assist low-income pregnant women, mothers and their babies. Every day in America more than 45 million people are guaranteed a source of food because of McGovern and Dole.

McGovern went on to serve as ambassador of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, asking Dole to join him in setting up school-based food programs in Asia, Africa, Latin America and many parts of Europe. In 2002, Congress approved the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, with both men receiving the 2008 World Food Prize.

If only our current elected representatives worked together like this. Imagine where we as a nation and world could be today.



Need protections

The Oct. 21 Eagle article about the anti-discrimination ballot initiatives in Hutchinson and Salina was remarkably fair in its treatment – at least in most cases. The article was clear as to the adverse impact of housing and workplace discrimination for lesbian, gay and bisexual communities. It also handled the initiatives’ opponents compassionately, describing their frustration at the hateful attitudes often attributed to them by virtue of their faith.

Where the article failed was in addressing transgender inclusion and exclusion, and what is at stake for transgender Kansans. Its reference to trans issues was a reduction of transgender civil rights to a pastor’s fear that another person in a restroom might be a “cross dresser.”

This minimizes and sensationalizes the real goals of transgender inclusion in public life. Do I, as a transgender man, believe that the ability to safely drink water and use a restroom is the most basic sort of right? Of course I do. But I also want to know that I can vote, fly on a plane, attend school, apply for a job, drive my car, appear in court, call the police or EMS, and seek treatment in a hospital – without harassment, without verbal or physical abuse, and without fearing that I will go hungry or homeless or go without medical care because of the body I was born into.

Until transgender-inclusive protections are enacted, I cannot trust that any of these propositions will be true for me or others in my community.



Buying a judge?

The article “Ga.-based PAC runs ad slamming Ballinger” (Oct. 25 Local & State) was disturbing. An independent judiciary is an important constitutional cornerstone to our democracy.

A Georgia political action committee named Safe Nation recently started buying ads in Wichita to attack Sedgwick County District Judge Richard Ballinger and support his opponent, Zoe Newton, a lawyer who works for businessman Wink Hartman. A quarterly report filed Oct. 11 with the Federal Election Commission showed that Safe Nation had $100 in contributions, with no money having been spent. Just a few days later, the super PAC began buying thousands of dollars in advertising time in Wichita for Newton.

How would a Georgia-based super PAC know what’s going on in a local judge’s race in Sedgwick County? Who are the money people from the Wichita community? Why are they hiding their support from the public? What do the money people expect to get in return for electing Newton?



Regain freedoms

Corporations like Koch Industries help to build the American society and allow the completion of the dreams of others. They begin with the freedom to develop an idea in a free society. The idea develops into products we enjoy and the factories that produce them. Factories and other businesses employ thousands of employees who pay taxes to build roads and bridges and support state and federal governments’ other services. These corporations also pay taxes, support foundations, give large donations to educational institutions, and provide scholarships and leadership in charitable giving.

Overregulation must not destroy the job creators who make such benefits possible. The Koch brothers and many other Americans want to regain numerous freedoms whose loss is eroding a nation built on a solid constitutional foundation.



Romney math

If you’re a working-class person and intend to vote for Mitt Romney, please explain to everyone where you think he will get tax revenue to pay for $4.8 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional defense spending. Are people really dumb enough to think elimination of tax deductions for only the top 1 percent (the wealthy) will make up for these two items? If Romney wins the election, we will have our answer.



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