President Karen opened the meeting with song, prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Posting for Potential New Members:

Julie Ann Graves from the Vermont Food Bank
Louise O'Connor from Spaulding Vocational Center
Chris Pelkey from Valsangiacomo, Detora, and McQuesten
Robert Silvestri from TD Bank

Elizabeth announced that she and Karen had interviewed Andy Duhame Garcia and Jordan Quayle for the RYLA.  The club would like to send two students to RYLA.  One of the interviewees was a bit reluctant, but Elizabeth will continue working with the counselor at Spaulding and will report back later.

Roy announced that we had received $320.00 in the first week of Helicopters and Golf Balls dropping from the clear blue sky. Something like that.

President Karen was happy that the club's banner appeared from the clear blue sky, or the black hole it has been in for months.

Tom Babic fined all Rotarians who will not be celebrating their birthday on the last day of tax season (April 17), or who didn't;t bring an Easter bunny to the meeting.  Tom met both criteria and was exempt from the fine.  (For the moment- more on this later, as Carol would write if she were writing this)  The fine passed.

Jim Catone announced that the district assembly will be at the Hanover High School on April 21, with registration at 8:00 a.m. and the assembly starts at 9:00 a.m.  There will be training for many of Rotary's officers, and a program on the Foundation. 

Secretary Susan gave her report, asking Roy to introduce his guest.  Roy introduced Chris Pelkey, an attorney interested in joining Rotary.  Chris is considering joining the club in June.  He will be marrying the daughter of Mike and Agnes Aylward in May.  Mike and Agnes are former Rotarians and continue to be friends of Rotary.

She also reported on birthdays and anniversaries:

Tom Babic, Butch Churchill, Ron Parnigoni, and Tess Taylor all have April birthdays.

Carol Dawes has been a member for 15 years.
John Gardner has been a member for 3 years.
Michael Knight has been a member for 10 years.
Amber Vecchiarelli has been a member for 2 years.

Bob Pope stood to challenge Tom Babic (this the later that is being reported now).  Stating that this may be his last chance to be the authority on Roberts Rules of Order ( with an attorney joining the club), he fined tom Babic for talking about his business by mentioning tax season in his fine.  No defense from tom and the fine passed.

Joe introduced Congressman Peter Welch.

Peter said that since his visit one year ago when the crisis was the debt ceiling, things have gone from bad to worse with big issues facing the country, including health care reform, national debt, and the deficit.

He said one of the things congress did right was  it response to Hurricane Irene.  Congress came together to provide assistance to 55 congressional districts affected by Irene.  He called a coalition committee together and their focus was narrow, and they were able to help flood victims, calling in FEMA, and agreeing on the help needed.

Bob Pope asked Peter federal benefits, retirement benefits for social security and medicare recipients and the ability of the government to sustain the final obligations it has made.  What is to prevent us all from waking up one day in the future to discover we are all broke?

Welch agreed that the government has not included unfunded future liabilities on the balance sheet. 

Bob talked about the growth of federal jobs that add a burden to the budget.  Peter said that Federal and State jobs have actually decreased in the last few years.  He agreed that sustainable funding is needed.  Jack Barnes wanted Bob to know that his "entitlement " benefits were partially funded with deductions from his pay checks as a government employee.

Claire asked Peter to explain about lifetime benefits for congressmen, even if they only held one term.  Peter said that it is not true.  The internet has spread the rumor to where it is believed to be truth, but congressmen  and women, receive the same benefits as postal or treasury workers. 

Jim Catone asked about the Republican budget that has been rolled out.  Peter says it does not balance the budget.  It raises Pentagon spending, raises taxes on 95% of americans, and takes away the deductions for mortgage interest and health expenses paid out of pocket.  It also cuts descretionary spending on social programs.

He said that "economic growth comes from broadening and strengthening the middle class".   He stated that government needs to invest in education and infrastructure for the future.

Karen asked him about author Bill McKiven and the future of the planet.  Peter said that congress has not given global warming serious attention and needs an energy policy to address these very real issues.

Susan asked him about medical benefits for congressmen,  Again, he said they get that same as any federal employee.

Judy Peterson asked him for his thoughts on health care and the Supreme court.  He is concerned about the court legislating and gave Bush vs. Gore as an example.

President Karen thanked him for coming to our meeting.

Joe Preddy had the winning raffle ticket.

Meeting adjourned.