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Dr. Tom Dawson has integrity, sense of fairness & compassion

To The Daily Sun,

This letter is to provide a wholehearted endorsement of Dr. Thomas "Tom" Dawson for state representative for the Laconia area. Although no longer a Laconia resident, I have been honored to have known Tom for 45 years and feel honored to have him as a friend.

I met Tom when he was my instructor as I worked toward my associate's degree in Fire Protection from the New Hampshire Vocational College. I was working as a fireman for the Laconia Fire Department at that time and raising my family in Laconia. That was 45 years ago. Since then Tom has served the residents of Laconia and the state of New Hampshire in several ways. First, not only was Tom our instructor in the Fire Protection Program, he was also key in the creation and implementation of this valuable program for the state.

Subsequently, I got to work closely with Tom in the 1980s when, as the fire marshal for the city of Concord, I worked with him as he served as the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal. His application of the state statutes addressing fire safety certainly helped make our residents safer.

Upon leaving the Fire Marshal's Office, Tom started a fire safety consulting firm again helping assure the safety of our residents. During this time Tom also ran for and was elected to the Laconia School Board where he served the city and its residents with integrity, even-handedness and compassion for many years.

It is Tom's demonstrated integrity, sense of fairness and compassion that prompts me to recommend that you vote for him as your state representative. He is a good man and will work diligently for the good of not only the people of Laconia but those in the entire state as well.

Jack Davis
Apopka, Fla.

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College may be free in Europe but a much smaller percentage go

To The Daily Sun,

In a recent letter, Scott Cracraft wondered how it is that some foreign countries provide free tuition for college students and why they do it for a lower cost than here in the U.S.

There are two main reasons: First, a much smaller percentage of the population heads to college, and of those, only the top students get free tuition. In the case of science or technology degrees, tuition is often paid in part or in full by corporations and utility companies who hire the students after graduation for a pre-contracted period — three years is typical. Additionally, college attendance in most European countries is like a full-time job. Students attend five to seven hours a day, seven days a week. If they fail exams, they get kicked out. There's no taking five or six years to get a Bachelor's degree.

In students' spare time and during breaks, they work. Only the well-to-do travel. These are no doubt the ones Mr. Cracraft has met, just as when I was a struggling college student in my native Great Britain, I encountered (and envied) American students who were traveling during their summer or winter breaks. Unlike Mr. Cracraft, I did not consider this the norm. (My own children worked while attending college here in the U.S.)

As far as the high cost of college in the U.S., that is mostly due to the "religion" that is college sports. Luxurious playing fields, arenas, pools, highly-paid coaches and the huge number of athletic scholarships given by U.S. colleges have to be paid for somehow. The rest of the world doesn't do this.

For myself, as a member of my college's swim/dive team I practiced at the municipal pool. The tennis and football (soccer) teams used the local park. Our coaches were mostly teachers who volunteered in their free time and were not paid for the effort.

Mr. Cracraft, in typical, muddled left-wing thinking, can only consider that levying huge taxes on people and businesses is the solution. It's not. The basic paradigm of college in the U.S. would have to change, and somehow I don't envisage that happening.

D.M. Williamson

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