The room was a bit crazy as we were more people than there were places set.  President Claire rang the bell, we sang and Roy offered a pithy grace.  Then it was minor bedlam as more tables and place settings were added.  We finally settled down to lunch (ham – leftovers from Easter, perhaps?)


Roy gave a report on last week’s Expo:

Category                              This Year                             Last Year

# of booths                         96                                           118

# of vendors                      78                                           97

$$ from booth sales        $24,655                                 $28,427

Attendance                        1036                                     2000

Total expenses                 $18,508                                 $16,000


There were 16 new business vendors this year, and 15 who didn’t return from last year.  There were 3 new sports & recreation vendors this year, and 20 who didn’t return.  There were 25 total non-profits this year, and 28 last year.


Roy said a few years ago the Club set a goal of $20,000 net, and we aren’t reaching the goal.  He said this is an opportunity to discuss what we want to do/where we want to go with our fund raising and community service.  A Presidential Development Committee is being formed, which will include President Claire, Roy, Bertil, Karen, Jim & any past president interested in serving.  The Committee will develop ideas for Club discussion.


Representative Welch (our guest speaker) drew the winning tickets for the Expo Raffle:

  • 3 months membership at First in Fitness was won by Rachel Barnes of Chatham, MA (I wonder if she’ll commute).
  • $500 cash was won by Patty Shedd of Williamstown.


The Club recognized Roy and all the hard work he did for this year’s Expo.


President Claire said she was going to introduce her guests, then turn it over to Sue for the Secretary’s report.  P. Claire then introduced July Peterson with Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice.  She also introduced Jon Copans, who is Congressman Welch’s handler.  As she turned the introductions over to Sue, there were several calls for a fine on PC for missing one of her guests – her long suffering husband, David.  No formal action was taken, she just pulled a dollar out of her pocket.


Other guests included:

  • Laura Moore, candidate for Barre Town selectboard
  • Kathleen Barnes, Jack’s little woman
  • Margaret Cheney, representative from Norwich (and Mrs. Peter Welch)


Karen announced the Primo Maggio celebrations scheduled for this weekend at the Labor Hall.


El Presidente pulled names of people who had “agreed” to be part of the program next week.  Each person will have 5 minutes to talk about whatever they want.  The names drawn included Kevin, Dan, Carol (I don’t remember agreeing to anything!), George & Bob.


Karl rose to introduce our speaker.  He said he researched Representative Peter Welch’s curriculum vitae, preparing to report on our guest’s life from inception.  However, with the limited timeframe, Karl skipped that part, and just gave floor to Peter.


President Claire started by asking Rep. Welch how it feels to work somewhere (Congress) with a 16% approval rating.  Peter took it in stride, and said the current budget deficit is unsustainable.  Between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy and the bailouts, we have turned a $5.6 million dollar surplus (January 2001) into a $14 trillion (yes, that’s with a “T”) deficit.


Peter said there are different points of view on how to address the issue; 1)  Cuts, or: 2) Do everything.  Peter ascribes to the “do everything” approach that would involve both cuts and revisions of the tax code to close loopholes and ensure everyone is paying their fair share.  he said the current budget draft being considered by Congress (The Ryan Budget) contemplates major cuts in domestic programs, which represent only 12% of the budget.  Peter said revisions shouldn’t be limited to such a small portion of the budget.  He said the proposed budget supports cutting taxes to the very rich in the belief that it will create jobs.  The plan also calls for cutting Medicare to those under 55, and those over 55 will receive a voucher with which they will purchase health coverage, though the vouchers won’t provide enough money to cover the cost of insurance.


Peter said we should be looking at the deficit as a practical issues that needs to be solved, not an ideological issue that needs to be won.  He said Congress should be set up like Vermont – where you get to know your neighbor and even if there are differences, you find common ground.


He offered some good news/bad news, starting with the bad.  He said there is gridlock, and the public is entitled to Congress working for them, but there is too little talking together.  For good news, he said these are solvable problems, and we need to look for progress.  His goal is to bring the way Vermont does things to Washington.


There were questions about the debt ceiling, businesses that don’t pay taxes, lobbying, and raising the cap on Social Security.  Peter’s answers were yes, no, no and yes.


Our guest Margaret Cheney held the winning raffle ticket and also pulled the clear marble!  Congrats!