IndyStar letters to the editor


It’s often thought that prioritizing environmentally friendly policies comes at the expense of economic growth. But experts disagree — here’s why.

Indianapolis Star

Thanks to IndyStar reporter Sarah Bowman for her comprehensive overview of the state legislature’s 21st Century Energy Task Force. I was alarmed to read that, despite the task force’s recommendations being due Dec. 1, the committee has spent no time discussing climate change as a factor in Indiana’s energy future.

Climate change and energy are inextricably linked. Fossil fuel emissions continue to exacerbate global warming, and we also need to create an energy system that can withstand the more frequent and severe storms, floods and fires that result from climate change.

Renewable-energy methods have the ability to provide reliable, resilient power while creating thousands of good-paying jobs. A new study from E2 finds that clean energy jobs in the U.S. have wages that are are 25% higher than the national median. Indiana can benefit from these jobs and create a more resilient, sustainable energy system at the same time.

Ignoring a problem does not make it go away. I urge Indiana’s federal representatives such as U.S. Rep. Andre Carson and incoming U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz to set an example for our state legislators by co-sponsoring the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

This bill will drive much-needed innovation in renewable energy, enabling Hoosiers and all Americans to tackle climate change head-on rather than sticking our heads in the sand.

Julia Spangler


Dr. Frank Lloyd Sr.’s impact on Indianapolis went far beyond medicine 

I read with great interest Russ Pulliam’s piece on Dr. Frank Lloyd Sr.  The column certainly captured many of the outstanding things that Dr. Lloyd contributed, both to the medical community and the community at large.

I had the honor of working for and with Dr. Lloyd in the department of medical research at Methodist Hospital in the 1970s. I learned early on that great leaders are known for the big things that they are able to do, but oftentimes it is the small things that tell you the true worth of a person.

Dr. Lloyd was part of a consortium that bought the radio station WTLC-FM. This was the first African-American radio station in Indianapolis. One of his early projects was to distribute 1,500 radios to inner-city residents. Interestingly, the radios would only be able to tune to WTLC.  As part of the radio project, he also used WTLC to actively promote childhood inoculations as part of his public health initiative that had broad implications.

William M. Dugan, Jr., M.D.


Prescription-drug technology can keep patients safe during pandemic

The pandemic has changed the way we do so many things. Fortunately, in some cases, technology has allowed us pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs) to quickly adjust and make changes that allow us to social distance yet still receive necessary services.

For our prescription drug needs, telemedicine, electronic prescriptions and home delivery have been essential services that help keep us safe and healthy.

Electronic prescription tools are used by prescribers, pharmacists and payers (such as health insurance providers, unions and governments), allowing people at all points within the prescribing process to monitor these prescriptions and to see problems, such as dangerous drug combinations.

Each new drug added to a patient’s regimen increases the likelihood of a medical error like adverse reactions or complications, especially when prescriptions are coming from more than one doctor.

These systems ensure that all patient information is error-free, up-to-date and easily shared between patient, provider and pharmacist. This also improves pharmacists’ workflows by automatically preparing labels and paperwork, and by better tracking quantity limits and formulary alternatives.

As an added benefit, these e-prescribing tools can lead to better patient adherence and lower drug costs as a result of better drug utilization.

As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we must examine what has changed for the better and then embrace and enhance these solutions going forward.

Ryan Claxton


Susan Brooks has quietly been modernizing Congress

It’s no secret that a lot of Americans think Congress is broken. U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks actually did something to fix it.

For the last two years, Rep. Brooks has served on a little-known committee in Washington, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. I know most of the people she represents will find this hard to believe, but the committee was one of the only groups in Congress I’ve witnessed in my years as president & CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation that functioned the way our Founding Fathers intended.

They weren’t out to score political points. Rather, their mission was to work together to actually fix some of the broken elements of Congress. Their proposals, if implemented by the House of Representatives, will tangibly improve the House’s public policy process and enhance services to Americans.

Their recommendations would strengthen Congress, allow constituents to have a greater voice in government spending, and help restore the proper balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of government.

In our four decades of working with Congress, the Congressional Management Foundation has rarely seen a group of legislators so astutely assess a public policy need, analyze the implications and chart a course that benefits both the institution and the constituents it serves.

Rep. Brooks is to be congratulated on her great service to Congress, her constituents, and the nation.

She will be missed.

Bradford Fitch, president and CEO, Congressional Management Foundation

Washington, D.C.

Briggs says mask order vindicated Holcomb. I’m not sure data agrees.

In response to James Briggs piece on Gov. Eric Holcomb being vindicated for his mask mandate: Show me the proof.

Are we better off now than before the mandate? No. Are we better off than states that did not have a mandate? No.

The fact that other states are joining Indiana with a mask mandate is not evidence the mandate worked, which should be the only basis for which the mandate is judged.

Science is not about showing one person cares more than another. It is about empirical evidence that something works or does not work.

All we had in the beginning were models of questionable value. Now we have real data. The data shows lockdowns and mask mandates failed.

Michael Poore


To help save lives, Indiana should raise cigarette tax by $2

The American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is about making a plan to quit. As anyone who has ever used tobacco will tell you, quitting isn’t easy. But tobacco users are not alone in this battle. Our community has the power to help Hoosiers quit and help protect our kids from tobacco products.

How do we do that? Well, increasing the price of tobacco is proven to help people who use tobacco quit for good and to prevent our young people from ever becoming addicted to tobacco products.

Next year, our lawmakers will hopefully seriously consider increasing the state’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack or more. Join me in calling on our state’s leaders to support this lifesaving measure.

Smoking is the most preventable cause of disease and death in Indiana and nationwide. But we can help change that. By increasing the cigarette tax by $2 per pack, we can prevent an estimated 39,000 young people from smoking, help over 65,000 adults quit and save 28,300 individuals from premature, smoking-related death — while generating significant tax revenue and health care savings for Indiana.

As we continue to face COVID-19, we must do everything in our power to keep our communities healthy and safe.

Beverley Stafford

Avon, Indiana

In welcoming IPL’s new CEO, let’s urge her to retire Petersburg

I’m writing to welcome Indianapolis Power & Light’s new CEO, Kristina Lund, to our city. My family and friends are excited to have a new leader at IPL, especially one with your credentials.

Our hometown utility has been through a turbulent few months, and a seeming revolving door of leadership, so we hope that your tenure here is long enough for you to come to know and love this city that we call home, and hopefully your work will benefit not only IPL but also its relationships with its customers for the better.

As I’m sure you know, Indianapolis is growing quickly while trying to position itself as a global city and host for national conventions and sporting events, and its demands for power are growing as well.

Simultaneously, the cost of renewables has reached an all-time low nationwide. So despite the fact that IPL has already committed to retire parts of the Petersburg Coal Plant, which powers most of our city, it remains one of the most environmentally damaging power generation facilities in the country, and has been the subject of many costly Environmental Protection Agency fines, which we customers are then forced to pay.

Additionally, in this strange and dangerous era of COVID-19, it’s critical that we reduce airborne pollutants in our city in order to reduce respiratory stress on our fellow Hoosiers and improve public health.

The science and economics align to show that clean, affordable power from wind and solar are the best and healthiest way to move our city forward. As IPL’s new leader, I urge you to retire Petersburg. The time is now.

Matthew Sheffield


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