Everything is a partisan issue in today’s world

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Todd Haymore’s op-ed column, “USMCA is essential for Virginia’s farms and economy” lists many reasons why the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is good for Virginia and the U.S. He gives compelling reasons why it should be ratified soon. His credentials are good and he makes a good case.

He also believes that agricultural trade should not be a partisan issue. However, since the 2016 election, everything is bitterly partisan. One party says “Make America Great Again.” The losing party says “Resist, resist, resist.” Let that sink in.

Even something that is good for the U.S. must not be approved during this presidential term or it would be credited to the president and his party.

Haymore, ever the optimistic bipartisan, says President Trump and Congress must act to ensure our hardworking farmers can remain competitive in the world markets. Saying “Trump and Congress” must act implies a compromise that would require revising the agreement and reauthorization by the other nations. Such a delay is exactly what the Democrats want. In their lust to return to total power they could care less about the farmers or the U.S. trade balance.

No, Trump and the Senate are ready to sign. The Democrats control Congress and should quickly approve the agreement as is.

S. P. Gauntt.

Chesterfield.

It’s hard to be happy if you’re unhealthy

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I wish to thank Paula Anderson for her letter “Health care a service, not a right, privilege” in response to my earlier letter on Medicaid expansion and for her lesson on our beloved Constitution. I agree that health care is not enumerated as a “right” in that document. We recently celebrated Independence Day on July 4. On that day, the Founders drafted the Declaration of Independence that includes this famous statement: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Life is a right and to protect it, good health is important. Liberty can be interpreted as freedom from oppression and tyranny and also freedom from suffering. Bad health certainly can cause suffering. The pursuit of happiness cannot be done without having good health. As a retired physician, I can assure you that the people at that Wise clinic were often sick and they certainly were not happy.

Anderson’s final argument is that Medicaid expansion has caused her insurance rates to increase. There is a disconnect in that statement. Medicaid expansion is funded 90% by federal funds (it was 100% in the beginning for those states that adopted it early) and 10% by the states. The cost of Medicaid does not affect middle class families’ insurance rates. It was Mahatma Gandhi who said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” I hope Anderson and all the readers of this letter would like us to achieve this greatness.

Ike Koziol, M.D.

Manakin-Sabot.

Richmond not obligated to pay Agelasto’s fees

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The city of Richmond has no obligation to pay Parker Agelasto’s legal fees. As a city taxpayer, I certainly don’t want my contributions to the city spent on those fees.

Given that Chuck Richardson and Sa’ed El-Amin filed the two challenges to remove Agelasto, he should ask for reimbursement of his legal fees from those two gentlemen should he prevail in court.

Cynthia Blanton.

Richmond.

Everyone in Hanover must speak out against racism

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As chairman of the Black Caucus of the Hanover Democratic Committee, I am concerned about the Board of Supervisors’ very anemic response to the KKK’s recent appearance and protest in Hanover. With the exception of Supervisor Faye Prichard, those who responded didn’t seem too concerned that Hanover was the place the Ku Klux Klan picked to demonstrate and ask for membership support. And those who didn’t respond — their silence was deafening.

Bigotry and disdain for any human being is like a cancer and it eats at the core of our inalienable and God-given rights as defined by the Constitution’s Ninth Amendment. The KKK’s ideas represent a deadly venom spewed on blacks and people of color and there is no place in Hanover or America for this deep-rooted hatred just because of the color of anyone’s skin. Our nation thrived on diversification and it will continue to do so. We fought that war and won it — it ended May 9, 1865. This is 2019. We, as Americans, have too many issues to deal with these immoral and hateful acts and we will continue to stand and fight against such vile forms of oppression.

We support the Hanover NAACP’s call on the Hanover Board of Supervisors to speak out against racism and inequality and replace its cavalier message with one of dignity, moral character and support for all of the people they serve, all people of Hanover County.

Sandra R. Howard.

Ashland.

Natural gas power station represents progress

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Riley Varner’s letter offered no evidence that the proposed Chickahominy natural gas power station would “endanger the lives of many.” Where is the scientific data that proves this statement?

The truth is that, when used in electricity generation, natural gas is about 50 percent cleaner than coal. That number is significant to me. It represents progress. Natural gas also provides a more affordable and reliable resource than solar and wind.

And affordability matters. According to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a nonprofit research firm, “lower heating prices reduce mortality in winter months.” Specifically, the “drop in natural gas prices in the late 2000s, induced largely by the boom in shale gas production, averted 11,000 winter deaths per year” in the United States. That number also is significant. It certainly represents progress.

If we want to save money, and save lives, local residents and regulators should support the construction of this plant.

David Adams.

Chesterfield.

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