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Chattanooga lost a great leader and servant last week with the passing of James Kennedy Jr. During his mourning, many stories will be told highlighting his impact. We would be remiss if we didn't add our own.

Every week, about 1,500 kids walk under the Kennedy name and past a picture of his daughter, Molly, as they receive care at the pediatric outpatient center bearing the family name. Although many generous people made this facility possible, the Kennedy family contributed the largest gift in the history of Erlanger to push our campaign goal over the finish line.

We will always remember his story about Molly's birth in 1958 as the smallest baby born in Tennessee, and how doctors here helped her survive and thrive. Mr. Kennedy compared Molly to "the little engine that could," referencing her tough start but ability to overcome.

We are humbled to be a small part of his legacy but deeply appreciate what he saw in our vision for children and families throughout this region and are grateful for his investment in what could be and now is — because of him and his family.

Don J. Mueller, CEO, Children's Hospital at Erlanger

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Impeachment now new word for coup?

Have we become a banana republic, where the opposing political party doesn't like the president-elect and has a coup to overthrow him? The difference between a so-called banana republic and the United States is we don't use guns in the coup; we use a word, "impeachment."

The Democrats have set the threshold for impeachment so low that the potential is there for this to happen in the future every time there is a different party controlling the House of Representatives and the presidency.

In this case, the United States is lucky the majority of the Senate is the same party as the president. If it wasn't, our president would be removed from office.

Like many, I do not like everything the president says or does, but I felt the same about other presidents and probably will about a future president. However, that does not call for him or her to be impeached.

The United States must become one again, and recognize that when a president is duly elected, "we the people" must become one nation and live with the new president, no matter who he or she may be, for the president's full term.

John J. Horn Jr., Hixson

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We now know how our democracy fails

A few weeks ago, I sent an email to U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischman and Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander asking, "If, during the Benghazi investigation, President Obama had refused to allow any present or former member of his administration to testify and blocked the release of requested documents, would you have considered this obstruction of congress?"

I eventually received two form letters from the senators (neither of which answered my question) and nothing from Rep. Fleischman.

It seems our elected officials have forgotten that they don't work for the Republican Party or Donald Trump. They work for the people they represent — including me. Let's face it, Donald Trump has become their David Koresh.

When our representatives in Washington do not answer our questions and no one is allowed to testify in a trial against the president, our democracy is failing.

Al Ezzell

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Women in Congress set back movement

Ask yourself why the Democrats hate Trump with so much vitriol, and the answer is two things. First, he beat their anointed candidate, Hillary Clinton. Second and most important, is he is a threat to their power.

They claim that his SOTU speech was all lies. Compared to the Democrat talking points, that is true. But if instead you read the financial and business news, you find what he said about the economy is absolutely true.

The behavior of the women of Congress during the speech was sophomoric and embarrassing. They complain that Trump disrespects the office because he is not statesmanlike.

While women have fought long and hard for equality with men in the workforce and in government, these women set that effort back decades. Instead of behaving like statesmen in the Congress of the United States, they behaved like a bunch of teenage sorority girls. So much for women's suffrage.

Taylor E. Cavin, Hixson

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Sheriffs' officers' quick work praised

I woke up Monday morning to find that our car had been stolen overnight.

The dispatcher at the sheriff's department sent Deputy Young, who responded promptly. He was courteous, professional and reassuring during the investigation. Through the prompt action of the Hamilton County and Sequatchie County sheriff's offices, the car was quickly recovered with no apparent damage.

Thanks for the work you do to protect our citizens. We are fortunate to have these dedicated people. Keep up the good work.

Charlie Rowland

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Evaluate merit of all HCDE staff

Reviewing 2018-2019 school salaries, many county school employees are well compensated, and some are absurdly over compensated.

At issue is the echo from county school employees and supporters that "teacher pay is too low." Dr. Bryan Johnson (superintendent) on a recent WGOW talk radio program, opined that a teacher's starting salary should be about $40,000 per year. Teacher pay based on 190 calendar workdays, compared to the private sector's average 241 calendar workdays, seems generous.

The absence of money is not the problem. Therefore "more money" is not the solution. The solution (in addition substantial parental involvement), is the proper allocation of worth (PAW), of the person educated and trained to fill relevant and significant teacher positions (physics vs. art; history vs. chemistry), and contrast those to nonteaching positions. County school positions: superintendent $202,437; chief equity officer $128,122; education & leadership $125,327; middle school principal, $103,380; director Title One $101,449; assistant principal $95,871 (health insurance and pension costs not included).

Hopefully, our county commissioners and school board members will pour worth, relevance, significance and compensation onto the distinctive positions respective to the school system mission which is to educate the student.

So please, let's get the paws off the Hamilton County taxpayer, and implant the PAW inside the school system.

Joe Brown, Signal Mountain

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Suggested teacher raise gets plaudits

I applaud the Hamilton County Schools superintendent for proposing that teachers get a decent (5%) raise. Although that amount, averaging around $200 a month, will not change their socioeconomic status, the improvement from the usual 0%-to-2% pittance provides a morale-boosting validation of their worth.

If only our state and county politicians had the courage to properly fund education so that these salary increases were the norm and not the exception.

Gary Furman, Rossville

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Who would portray Founding Fathers?

All of us have enjoyed time-travel movies such as "Back to the Future." Could below be an outline for the next one?

What if the current White House politicians were transposed with the delegates from 1774, about to draw up articles of independence from England? What if Washington and his minions were switched to 2020 America? Can you imagine what differences — if any — this could have made with our history?

I would bet dollars to doughnuts that instead of a democracy formed, an autocracy would be envisioned and installed. As for today, how do you think the early American leaders — Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, et al. — would vote at an impeachment trial where the president was accused of the same things Trump recently was? Lockstep with the Senate majority leader? Would they authorize the president's control to be carte blanche? Makes one wonder, but I've got an idea ...

Tom Hanks would be a good fit for the juxtaposed early American president, while Robert Redford could be a superb Washington. Oprah would do a good job as director. Can't wait for the Oscars.

Tom Baker, Hixson

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