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April 4, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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April 4, 2018
 

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ADVOCATE A8 Wednesday, April 4, 2018 JOHN BLOOMQUIST "Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin, Can you tell me where he's gone? He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young But I just looked around and he's gone." - Song penned by Dick Holler in response to the April 4, 1968, assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and first recorded by Dion. It's also a tribute to the memory of two other assassinated Americans who pushed for social change, Abraham Lincoln and John E Kennedy I hear the song ing to explain to me why. I was 15. "Abraham, Martin My father, the late Rev. E.W. and John," by Dion, Bloomquist Jr was an American all-white, all-woman American Bap- tears come to my Baptist minister. Like King, he was a tist college in Upstate New York. eyes - especially today, the 50th an- graduate of Crozer Theological Sem- Dr. King was attending a confer- niversary of the death of the Rev. inary near Chester, Pa. My father ence at Keuka College in April of Martin Luther King Jr. was nine years older than King but that year. He had asked my dad if it I remember King sitting in our liv- the two had met and became friends, would be all right if he walked over ing room in Keuka Park, N.Y in the In 1963, my father was working in to our house on campus. So that af- spring of 1963.And I remember hear- Keuka Park, N.Y as the director of ternoon, looking out the kitchen ing he'd been shot and my father try- development at Keuka College, an window, my mom saw Dr. King, alone, walking up our driveway, up, I enjoyed helping my late moth- She met him at the door and invited er, Camilla Bloomquist, with our ef- him in. forts to provide food for the needy. I was 9 years old and had no (At age 95, she would be honored idea who Dr. King was, other than to accept The President's Volunteer a friend of my father. I remember Service Award from President Ba- he asked if he could have a cup of rack Obama.) tea. He just wanted some peace and I recall delivering food and pres- quiet, ents my senior year in high school That day would have been the and how at one family's home, the first time I heard him say words children all watched me as I brought that now are famous - "What are food and Christmas presents inside. you doing for others?" I can still remember their smiles. That June, Dr. King was back on In college, I worked at Roseland campus, this time as the baccalau- Park, a amusement park in Canan- reate speaker. Again, I heard the daigua, N.Y and one day asked - phrase, "What are you doing for the owner of the park how much he others?" and then that August, I re- would charge me to bring 50 kids member watching Dr. King deliver from Penn Yan in Yates County, his "I Have A Dream" speech dur- N.Y to the park for the day. ing the March on Washington. Through the years I was growing (See KING Page A9) Lawmaker: ALEC shares good ideas that work I notice a liberal Spirit of Jefferson columnist was upset over ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council [Neal Barkus's "No benign Republican mom" on March 14.] As state legislators we receive membership in two organizations dealing with state legislative issues for which the state pays our dues. The Conference of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures provide helpful information on what is happening in other states. They have publications and communications provided to all state legislators and also meetings held across the country that are paid for by. each state. There are also a number of other legislative orga- nizations, the most prominent being the broad-based American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC seems to drive the liberals crazy because it has a more con- sedative slant in the scope of issues they address. We legislators who want to join pay out of our own pocket the $100 for membership fee. It is not paid for by the state or with tax dollars. Of the 7,383 state legislators in the United States, thousands see the benefit of this group and join ALEC for the information, communica- tion and networking they provide. The great thing about this country is that we have 50, states each experimenting in their own way to best serve their voters. Laws and policies that work in one state can be copied, modified and adjusted in another state or even on a national level. There is no need to re- invent the wheel each time, just see what is working in other states and copy it. There is nothing to stop liberals from doing the same thing as ALEC with their own organization. The pro- grSssives have tried to create their own organization but progressive, big government policies take the de- cision-making away from the individual and generally don't work. However, conservative policies return the derision-making back to families, the local and state level and tend to lead to much better results. That is why ALEC is so successful and it seems to drive some liberals bonkers. There are also many organizations that focus on a more narrow scope of issues or single issues from le- galization of marijuana to expansion of gambling, to school choice to expanding big government. With the latter group we have our own union-funded West Vir- ginia Center on Budget and Policy that advocates high- er taxes and bigger government. In West Virginia there are a raft of smaller groups promoting liberal causes. Fortunately we are working to make sure these advo- cacy groups are not funded with tax dollars. I noticed that when our Judiciary Committee had public hearings on issues like abortion, welfare reform and environmental issues this network of liberal groups would be out in full force, often with many of the same people and often with inaccurate information. For ex- ample, on the welfare reform bill, HB 4091, which only covered able-bodied persons from18-49 without dependents, we heard testimonial after testimonials how it would hurt the children in the families, although the bill clearly stated those with children were exempt from the work requirement. As far as Article V Amendment Conventions if you like the way the Obama Administration doubled our national debt and Congress is unable to get two-thirds of its members to support a Balanced Budget Amend- ment, the states are turning to the tool our Founding Fathers gave us in the Constitution just to deal with this situation. They studied current and past govern- ments and saw a pattern of power being centralized to the national level. I think more people trust and know their state government representatives and find them more responsive than their national level members but up to this point amendments have only been done by our federal representatives. It is time to return more power back to the state level where it is more respon- sive and accountable. DELEGATE JOHN OVERINGTON - The Martinsburg Republican has represented Berkeley County in the Legislature since 1985 and serves as Speaker Pro Tempore Excited to back Scheinberg for Congress I am so excited and proud to sup- science and effort to combat our experience in Washington on for- port Democrat Aaron Scheinberg terrible opioid crisis, eign policy, defense and homeland for Congress from the Second Dis- Aaron has travelled widely and security. trict of West Virginia. learned much including in the uni- Aaron is our neighbor living in We in the Eastern Panhandle have form of the U.S. Army. He gradu- Hedgesville where he spent much a Wonderful chance to play a real ated from West Point and served as of his young life in the home that role to flip the House, return Con- a platoon leader in Iraq. his grandfather built. gress to sanity and begin to make Aaron's parents were public I am so proud to support Aaron our politics work for all of us in school educators which is just one Scheinberg who loves peace be- West Virginia. reason he was so loud and proud cause he knows the horror of war, Aaron stands strong to protect to support our great teachers and has fought and will fight for our Social Security and Medicare and stand and speak on the picket lines veterans, our seniors, our workers, Medicaid. He stands strong for and rallies, our kids and all of us. making the economy work for all Aaron Scheinberg will beat Alex of us and raising wages. And he Mooney. STEWART ACUFF stands strong to bring resources, Aaron can represent us with real Martinsburg Swearengin embodies spirit of Mother Jones This week we pause to remember the legacy of the ness people. This is her narrative, and this is why she Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was assassinated on is running. April 4, 1968, in Memphis where he was marching for Paula believes to her core that workers should have living wages for sanitation workers, a living wage, affordable health care and clean drink- I was so moved by that tragedy that I chose from that ing water. And she is not afraid to go after the corpo- point forward to devote the rest of my life to helping rate titans, the government bureaucrats and the politi- tbe poor and marginalized in our society, cal elites on behalf of the people of West Virginia who And that is why, without equivocation, I have chosen struggle every day just to survive. to enthusiastically support Paula Jean Swearengin to Paula Jean Swearengin embodies the spirit of wom- replace Joe Manchin in the United States Senate. en like Mother Jones, Erin Brockovich and Rachel I have been blessed to work with some of the most in- Carson. credible warriors for justice over the last 50 years, and So I urge you to throw off the weight of despair, the I know that Paula Jean Swearengin is one of them. burden of personal comfort,and the shackles of politi- Paula is a coal miner's daughter, and granddaugh- cal mediocrity. Keep the Dream alive in the hills of Ap- ter, and niece. Most of the men in her family have died palachia. from the ravages of coal dust. The water in her com- Vote for Paula Jean Swearengin on May 8. munity runs orange and black. And her community -. has been abandoned by the. politicians and the busi- TONY RUSSO Shepherdstown I 'Wholeheartedly' for Paula Jean 8wearengin I met Paula Jean Swearengin in November when she came to Jefferson County for the first time. While giving a speech, she spoke about her friends and family - how she's witnessing them get sick and die from cancer, black lung and opi- oids, and how politicians don't seem to care. Her political views are all based around the fact that she genuinely cares about people and communities across West Virginia. She doesn't take cor- porate money, she's entirely funded by people. After her speech, I introduced myself and told her that I'm running for Jefferson County Board of Education. I told her about my grandfather, who was born and raised in West Virginia, worked on railroads, served in the Navy, and taught 10th grade biology for over 30 years. Typically, when you tell your story to politicians, they essentially say, "That's great" and that's the end of it. That's not the case with Paula. After hearing my story, she told me that she wanted to endorse me, and she did. Now, she's even including me to be a co-host for her own meet and greet Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. in Shepherdstown. I wholeheartedly believe in Paula Jean Swearengin and I can't tell you how excited I am to be a part of this. AARON HACKETT Charles Town Library director grateful to JCC for building donation An open letter to the Jeffer- we are hopeful the county com- son County Commissioners Josh missioners will be able to join us Compton, Caleb Hudson, Patsy as guest artists as we colorfully cel- Noland, Peter Onoszko and Jane ebrate the one-year anniversary of Tabb: taking our campaign public. On behaff of Jefferson County res- On behalf of the directors of the idents and all library patrons, cur- Jefferson County libraries - Boli- rent and future, we would like to ex- var-Harpers Ferry, Charles Town, tend our deepest gratitude to you for Shepherdstown and South Jeffer- having the vision to allocate such a son, thank you for maintaining our significant percentage of available current level of funding for day-to- county capital funds to the new li- day operations. With this essential brary project in Shepherdstown. allocation of county funding, we With this critical funding, you are can continue to provide quality ser- acknowledging in the best way pos- vices to our patrons who rely on lo- sible just how much this project will cal libraries for free and unhindered contribute to the quality of life for access to books, computers, safe our citizens and the sustained eco- after-school environments, job re- nomic strength of our county, one of sources and literacy programs. We the fastest growing and most pros- will also now be able to retain our perous in the state, existing hours of operation. In this The County Commission's gen- time of economic reform and dif- erosity brings the total raised to ficult budgetary decision making, date for the new library project to we are grateful that you recognize $2.8 million in gifts and pledges, the importance of public libraries leaving only $150,000 needed to as community strongholds. reach the $2.95 million construc- tion goal. In April, we plan to paint HALI TAYLOR . all but five of the remaining spines Shepherdstown Public " on our outdoor book-o-meter, and Library director Spirit has a fan in Philly My partner and I were stuck in Charles Town recently, trying to inch along U.S. ll after being stuck on Interstate 81. We bought snacks and a Spirit of Jefferson and continued our slow drive. My partner read out loud as we drove through beautiful Charles Town and a desolate stretch of U.S. 11 with strip joints and broken cars. What a surprise to enjoy the very fine writing of Robert Snyder ("The Tabb tab"). We laughed and laughed when we read of Mr. Tabb and his i outrageous court cases, especially: "In 2013, Tabb filed suit against [then-prosecutor Ralph] Lorenzetti for falling to file criminal charges against the then-editor of the Spirit of Jef- ferson after Tabb was described as a 'gadfly' in a news article and in a subsequent editor's note that explained that the Greek philosopher So- crates was referred to as a gadfly in the dialogues of Plato. Tabb alleged that the reference suggested the Spirit's editor was calling for Tabb to be put to death, as Socrates was in Athens in 399 BC." You have an excellent paper and I will be sure to buy one whenever I pass through West Virginia. My compliments and thank you for the enter- mining and educational read. How many small town newspapers refer to ancient Greek philosophers? MARGARET DARBY Philadelphia