Letter: Greg Valker, Bluemont

Editor: In America, our capitalist system gives investors the freedom to invest wherever they want. Mavis Taintor, candidate for 33rdDistrict Delegate, puts forward her experience as a mutual fund manager to support what she considers to be her qualifications for a leadership role in government.

A recent Winchester Star Open Forum article revealed Taintor’s stock holdings in excess of $500,000 in certainoil and pipeline companies with records of massive fines and penalties levied for polluting the environment. This contradicts her published claims to be a champion of the environmental movement.

Mavis Taintor is the antithesis of a socially responsible investor. Socially responsible investing causes some to make investment choices that have a positive impact on the world while avoiding investments in bad companies. A socially responsible investor, forexample, would avoid tobacco, an industry whose products sicken or kill millions of people a year and disgust almost everyone else. Mavis Taintor recently declared owning $136,000 worth ofstock inAltria, the parent company of Phillip Morris,one of the world’s largest producers and marketers oftobacco, cigarettes and related products.

The opioid crisis has brought human losses and cost to the community that are unimaginable; family members deceased and families destroyed, addicted newborn babies and drug-related crime. 70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017 according to Center for Disease Control. The Oct. 10, 2019, Winchester Star article, “Opioid crisis: Winchester may seek damages from pharmaceutical firms,”draws attention to the fact that the opioid crisis which plagues our community is fueled by profit-seeking drug companies and their stockholders.

Teva Pharmaceutical and Allergen Pharmaceuticals are two companies that profit from, as the Winchester Star article puts it, “…facilitating the over-prescription of pain medications, leading people to become addicted….”According to the Wall Street Journal, Teva Pharmaceuticals,“… just days before the drugmaker was set to face trial for its alleged role in helping to fuel the epidemic…” admitted its role and paid $85 million to compensate for the damage.Another problematic drug company isAllergan.According to the Wall Street Journal headline, “Allergan to Pay $5 Million to Settle Ohio Opioid Suit.”This year,Mavis Taintor declared owning $116,000 worth of stock inAllerganand Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Taintor’s stock choices make it abundantly clear her goal is to generate the highest possible investment returns, while ignoring the consequences of investing in companies that profit from death and destruction. As we approach Election Day, Mavis Taintor is asking us to trust her to champion good health, fight the opioid crisis, and save the environment. I hope others will agree, Mavis Taintor’s informed decisions to profit from companies who specialize in harmful products, fuel the opioid crisis, and pollute the planet makes her unfit to lead.

Greg Valker, Bluemont

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