On May 2, 2011, I started working for the Alzheimer's Association. Two days later, I lost my father to Alzheimer's. I came to the association with a personal connection, but continue to advocate for those currently battling the disease, and those yet to be affected.
Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. In addition, according to the Alzheimer's Association 2017 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer's deaths nearly doubled in the last 14 years.
The report also revealed that Alzheimers-related costs soared to $259 billion in 2017, $175 billion of which come in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid. That's why I am urging U.S. Representative Mark Walker to support a $414 million increase for federal Alzheimer's research funding for FY2018.
It is only through adequate funding and a strong implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease that we will meet its goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025.
To learn more about this disease and how you can help combat it, please visit alz.org.
Scott Herrick, STOKESDALE
Why we should know judges' party affiliations
Two letters appeared last week which required a response from someone on the opposite side: one regarding gerrymandering and one regarding providing the public with information about judges' political affiliations.
To the first, I find it interesting how, in a state where the Democrats overwhelmingly controlled state-level politics for nearly a century - largely through gerrymandering - the writer now opposes efforts of the other party to redraw voting district lines.
After loading the local courts with liberal judges and drawing lines to ensure continued political control, the call for a "non-partisan" redistricting process is disingenuous at best (sorry, when it comes to politically related issues there is no such thing as "non-partisan").
After looking at district lines from years past, how can you say gerrymandering wasn't widespread prior to the Republican takeover of the Senate? The difference is the Dems controlled everything - including the courts - so it was useless to protest.
The second letter begged not to show party affiliation when voting for judges, arguing that doing so leads to partisanship and gerrymandering and the system will then basically pick the judges without giving the people a chance to vote. Without providing voters information as to who the judge is and what their record is, what's the difference? Democracy is not served by limiting information to voters. As was said long ago, a "democracy" depends on a well-informed public!
Furthermore, if no political affiliation is shown, can the writer provide us with a way to understand who we are voting for, how they think, and what judgments they've made that would be easily/readily available to the public? Speaking for myself and my wife, we are sick of reading "bios" on judges that go no farther than listing the law school they went to and the fact that "Joe (or Mary) is a loving family man/woman with two kids and two dogs who lives in a house." Not helpful! And ads on TV, if they exist, are distortions from opponents.
So what info would you provide the voters? Or are you not worried about the voters knowing who they are putting in positions of power?