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Response to DCBob (Reply #44)

Sat Jan 30, 2016, 01:29 PM

62. My husband and I could have chosen any state to retire to -- we certainly did not consider Arkansas

- though we did visit the Ozark area in Missouri/Arkansas -- which incidentally was the ONLY state my extended family ever had our annual reunion in where the immediate (and long term) conclusion was not to ever even consider returning. (Not so, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, WA, OR, CA, NC, AZ, KY, MI ...) This was not one person -- but the unanimous view of the then about 20 adults.)

Vermont, on the other hand, was what we wanted. Not just the beauty and the many things we wanted to do, but the genuine decency and sense of community. I have never seen any place where as high a percent of the community actually engages in the political discourse and where so much that makes the town good is done by volunteers. I have always lived in smaller towns than Burlington - whether in Indiana or NJ -- but in none was it even remotely respected that people have access to elected officials. Burlington may have 42,000 people, but everyone knows they can get face time with the mayor. In our part of town, he regularly comes to a bagel place from 8 to 9 every Wednesday morning and anyone can ask him anything.

Of course, VT is not a typical state -- but, Thank God, neither is Arkansas. Where VT ranks very high on nearly every quality of life measurement, Arkansas is near the bottom. I remember when Bill Clinton ran in 1992 - he touted what they did on education - but Arkansas was in the bottom 10 (and I think bottom 5) states - and this was after all he and Hillary did - and they tried very very hard. Arkansas was among the worst on environmental issues - notably that they allowed a major chicken producer to contaminate the rivers in part of the state. Bill Clinton was NOT elected for what he accomplished in Arkansas, but his words and his charisma against at least some 2016 HRC like opponents who knew they had the better resume.

Bernie was mayor of Burlington at a key time - the fact is that starting when he was in office Burlington became a better place to live and work - not just for some - but for most of the community. Yes, VT is not that diverse, but mostly white Chittendon country (where Burlington is) applied to be a refugee resettlement area in the late 1980s - and that continues until today. The community has worked hard to absorb these people and help them create productive lives. That means that it is not unusual as you walk or bike around town that you see people from Somalia, wearing long dresses and veils .. or people from Nepal, many traditionally dressed etc.

My husband and I volunteered a couple of hours a week in a first grade class. About a fourth of the kids were either POC, mostly refugees. The teacher was incredible in handling the diversity and from our observation, the kids did not self segregate. (The school used volunteers to allow more one on one work with kids where needed, including many doing quite well but having no parent they could read to because they had the best English in the family.)

All I know is that Bernie could use photos of Burlington before he was mayor ... contrasted to photos as he left and argue that he wants to do for America what he did for Burlington. Note Bill Clinton did not even try that --- running instead on the hope that he and his personal story personified.

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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply My husband and I could have chosen any state to retire to -- we certainly did not consider Arkansas
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