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Am I running against Jonathan Smolin or (really) George Hurt?

To The Daily Sun,

This is an open letter to George Hurt, responding in part to his Aug. 10 letter to the editor:

Mr. Hurt, your accusation that I claim to be seeking "re-election" (as opposed to seeking election after serving in the county commissioner position following appointment by a vote of the county convention) is not fact as you claim.

The only place that I know of where the term re-election has appeared was in the headline of a Laconia Daily Sun article published on June 27 (which read "Belknap County Commissioner Taylor to run for re-election"). Believe it or not, Mr. Hurt, I do not write headlines for the paper, and if one reads the first two sentences of the article under the headline, which was based on the press release announcing my candidacy, the characterization of my campaign is clear: "Belknap County Commissioner Hunter Taylor has announced that he is seeking election to the position he now holds in the upcoming election cycle. Taylor was appointed by a unanimous vote of the county convention to fill the position of county commissioner for District 3...." Fact, not a smear, Mr. Hurt?

More importantly, however, do you really think that the citizens of Belknap County care for a second whether a sitting commissioner seeking election is aiming to be elected or re-elected? With all the issues facing our county, to try to find controversy in this semantic pettiness is ridiculous. Between this and the suggestion that I have advocated some kind of county sales tax (a complete fabrication), I do not get the impression you're interested in actually examining my record.

Speaking of which, at times it feels like you are the one opposing me in our primary election, rather than my actual opponent, Jonathan Smolin. I would invite him into the discourse and ask that we stop boring the public with this mind-numbing silliness, comport ourselves as adults and deal with the real issues facing our county. We owe that to the public.

Hunter Taylor

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I would like to challenge Heidi Lilley to be productive & help others

To The Daily Sun,

I am beyond sick and tired of hearing about free the nipple. I would like to challenge Heidi Lilley and her companions to stretch themselves a bit and maybe do something else with their time — like maybe helping others.

I don't know Heidi personally, so it would be difficult to attest to the kind of person she is. If what she primarily stands for is freeing the nipple, then I might have to think that she is self-centered, self-absorbed, narcissistic. I'd like her to consider redirecting some of her "energy" to where it could really make a difference.

Heidi, do you really believe that by having women exposing themselves, that you are helping to empower women? You really want to empower women? Look beyond yourself and what you want.

I could take days to make you aware of just a few of the struggles women here in this country and in other countries go through everyday of their lives. For women in poor countries, let's just take a random thought, water. (Yes, I am aware that there are water issues here in the U.S. that pose a problem for folks. Example: I've been to Appalachia where people have severe water needs. My husband sold his motorcycle to buy a portable well driller to drill wells there and left the unit for others to use when we had to leave. But for the sake of argument and time, let's concentrate on foreign countries.

Heidi, did you know the 663 million or one in 10 people in the world lack access to safe water, and 24 billion or one in three people lack access to a toilet? Every 90 seconds child dies from a water-related disease? Diarrhea is the third leading cause of child deaths, mostly water-related? In developing countries, as much as 80 percent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions? Half the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease? Women, and mainly girls spend, 125 million hours each day collecting water. And the water they painstakingly collect is usually not clean, but they don't have much of a choice.

Here, we get up each day and turn on the faucet. A cold drink whenever we want, hot water to wash with, a toilet to use, a bath or shower readily available whenever we choose, swimming pools to cool off in, Jacuzzis to relax in, etc. We have lots of choices. Most in the world do not.

Some of you who are reading this are probably thinking, "This sounds like when I was a kid and my parents would tell me to eat all my vegetables because there are starving kids in the world. How was not eating my carrots going to help someone across the globe?" Well, you may not be able to send your "carrots" Heidi, but you can be productive and help others.

How? Maybe you and your friends could have a yard sale, a bake sale, a car wash, etc. Use your imagination. The money raised could be sent to a reputable organization that actually does help empower women. Wells or water cisterns change people's lives. When women and girls have to spend eight to 10 hours a day just to get water (can we even possibly imagine that?), their choices for education are nil. If you give people clean water, no, not all of their problems will be solved, but it will change their lives for the better and then school becomes more than an impossible dream or idea. It becomes a possibility. Those eight to 10 hours a day can be used for working or school.

What about women here in the U.S. who need help and empowerment? Maybe you could avail yourself to help in a soup kitchen, a food pantry, the Salvation Army, volunteer at the hospital or nursing home, offer to make a meal for someone, take an elderly person out for a ride and an ice cream, etc. When you truly see the huge needs of women, freeing the nipple seems pretty insignificant, don't you think? Freeing their nipple is not going to help the women I have mentioned, but giving them water, or a life of dignity, respect, a helping hand — those are some things that can empower women.

When did something like freeing a nipple get to be so important to you? I assume that you, Heidi, are a reasonably intelligent person. Do you not think that maybe some of what I suggest you put your efforts into are just a bit more important than the cause you are passionate about? I challenge you to put that passion into tangibly helping and truly empowering women here and around the world who could use your help and caring.

Marie Ludwick
Center Harbor

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