Buyers More Positive About Housing Market

first_img The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Previous: U.S. Homeowners’ Trillion-Dollar Quarter Next: Rising Prices and Rising Expectations Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Share Save The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Related Articles About Author: Aly J. Yalecenter_img Aly J. Yale is a longtime writer and editor from Texas. Her resume boasts positions with The Dallas Morning News, NBC, PBS, and various other regional and national publications. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more. Buyers More Positive About Housing Market Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Home / Daily Dose / Buyers More Positive About Housing Market  Print This Post Subscribe Fannie Mae Homebuyers housing market. hpsi sellers 2017-12-07 Aly J. Yale Homebuyers are becoming increasingly more positive about today’s housing market. According to Fannie Mae’s recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), the number of buyers who say now’s a good time to buy is up seven percentage points for the month—and is nearing its highest point on record.The HPSI for November weighed in at 87.8—up from just 85.2 in October and 82.2 last year. Currently, about 29 percent of consumers believe it’s a good time to buy a home.According to Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s Senior VP and Chief Economist, November’s HPSI indicates the market may be in for an upturn come 2018.“In November, the HPSI rebounded to near its all-time high, returning the index to its gradual upward trend and suggesting fairly stable consumer home-buying attitudes,” Duncan said. “These results are consistent with our expectation that the housing market will continue its modest expansion going forward. Next month’s survey should offer the public a first look at the influence that potential tax reform may have on consumers’ views toward housing and the broader economy.”The HPSI also showed that seller sentiment is up as well. The number of homeowners who believe now is a good time to sell jumped to 34 percent in November—up four percentage points over the month and 21 percentage points over the year.The number of consumers who believe home prices will rise in the next year also rose, increasing six percentage points for the month, as did the share of people who feel secure in their jobs, which jumped four percentage points in November. According to the HPSI, 46 percent say prices will rise in the next 12 months, while 74 percent say they are not concerned with losing their jobs.See the full results of the Home Purchase Sentiment Index at Tagged with: Fannie Mae Homebuyers housing market. hpsi sellers Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago December 7, 2017 1,624 Views last_img read more

Profile: Luther Frederick Hackett

first_imgby Joyce Marcel, Vermont Business Magazine If he were on basketball team, and he played for Vermont, he’d be the captain and the “go-to guy” when the game was on the line. Not a flashy player, but the player in whom all his teammates had confidence, who had confidence in himself and his abilities, to make the big shot. To lead the team to victory.But Vermont is a state, not a basketball team. And Luther Frederick Hackett, 70 and universally known as Fred, is a conservative, pro-business Republican insurance man and sixth-generation Vermonter who has been the ultimate inside player in Vermont’s political and business establishments – often the same thing – for more than 30 years.Hackett’s resume reads like a history of Vermont, and his influence shows no signs of waning. He is currently serving on Governor James Douglas’s Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, which makes Douglas the fourth governor Hackett has served in that capacity.And when Douglas recently picked a panel of what he called “the best minds from outside state government” for a new Vermont Commission on Government Efficiency, it came as no surprise that he put Hackett on the panel.“I organized this commission to give the taxpayers a bigger bang for their buck,” Douglas said. “Fred’s long experience in business and government service will be helpful there.”When Douglas was Vermont State Treasurer, he often sought out Hackett’s services.“I called upon Fred to meet with representatives of Wall Street rating firms a number of times,” Douglas said. “He’s a very articulate spokesperson for the state and gives a very credible presentation of our economic fiscal situation. He’s been successful in business and government. He’s been tireless in his commitment to the community. He cares deeply about Vermont and its future. I feel lucky he’s willing to sign on to several assignments that I’ve offered him. He’s completely dedicated to our state. He’s a great guy.”Chairing the new efficiency board will be Hackett’s long-time friend David Coats, a former partner in KPMG, a lead director of National Life, and currently the executive vice president and acting CEO of the New England Culinary Institute.Coats, a Democrat who served on the Governor’s Council with Hackett during the administration of former governor and current Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, calls Hackett “a brilliant man.”“Fred is one of these guys that likes to plant acorns,” Coats said. “Good things take time, and he knows that. The Vermont Technology Council, which is up and going right now? This was Fred’s idea many, many years ago. It’s all about technology transfer and using that in a positive economic way for the state. Fred can recruit me for anything just because I admire him so much.”Hackett had a more public career in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was first elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1965. By 1967 he was on the powerful Appropriations Committee, and by 1969 he was its chairman. By then he was also serving as Republican Majority Leader. But in 1972 he ran unsuccessfully for governor, splitting his party in a bitter primary fight, beating now-US Senator James Jeffords (I-VT) and then losing, along with a young Bernie Sanders, to Democrat Thomas Salmon. After that Hackett retired behind the scenes, where he has remained ever since.He began serving on the powerful Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors with Deane C Davis (1969-1973). After Salmon’s tenure, he came back to the council at the request of Richard Snelling (1977-1985; Hackett was chairman of the council from 1977 to 1984). He skipped over Madeline Kunin’s Democratic administration (1985-1991), joined again as chairman with Snelling in 1991, and, after the governor’s untimely death, served under Dean (1991-2000) and now Douglas.Hackett was chairman of Banknorth Group, Inc from 1989 to 1998 and only retired from the board last April. He was chairman of the Vermont Technology Council from 1992 to 1997. He has been on a host of other boards and won many awards, including, in 1979, an honorary law degree from his alma mater, the University of Vermont. He graduated from there in 1955, served it as trustee from 1986 to 1994, and was chairman of its board from 1991 to 1993.He remains chairman of the Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc, the Vermont Electric Transmission Company, Inc, and has been on the board of Central Vermont Public Service since 1979. He is also a director of the Catamount Energy Corp, a CVPS subsidiary dealing with wind power. Hackett’s business, however, is not electricity or government. It’s insurance.Until June 30, when he experienced what he calls “a change of status,” he was chairman and president of the extremely successful Burlington risk management and insurance company known as Hackett Valine & MacDonald, Inc. He was also chairman and CEO of Hackett & Co, an employee benefits and retirement planning firm, chairman and CEO of Yankee Captive Management, Inc, which specializes in the formation and management of Vermont-based captive insurance companies, and chairman and CEO of HVM Corp, the family holding company.On July 1, however, he turned over Hackett Valine & MacDonald to his son, Luther Stephen Hackett, and five other hand-picked successors.“My intention was not to retire, but turn over the responsibilities in the agency to the next generation,” Hackett said.He remains vice chairman of Hackett Valine & MacDonald, and continues to be in charge of Hackett and Co, HVM Corp, and Yankee Captive Management.These companies, which employ 70 people, are located in their own solid, rectangular, 24,000-square-foot brick building near the Burlington airport. Because they are privately owned, Hackett prefers not to reveal his yearly sales figures, but says, with some contentment, that they are “really quite large.”Although he has begun retiring from his various businesses, Hackett is adamant that his career has not yet run its course.“I really don’t intend to retire; I really like to work, and as long as I can find something useful to do…” he said, his words trailing off at the end.Physically, Hackett is a solid man with a full head of white hair and a very dignified manner. He chooses his words carefully, but every now and then he smiles and displays a fine sense of humor, especially about himself.His office is relatively modest. On the wall behind his desk is a large, blue-tinted print showing a storm overwhelming the country’s first commercial wind generation facility, which was located at Grandpa’s Knob, outside of Rutland, in 1939; the print was a gift to board members from CVPS. For someone so devoted to electricity and technology, it is interesting that he has no computer in his office; he has one at home, he says, that he uses “as little as possible.”Hackett’s most defining trait is his love of Vermont.“I think Vermont is truly a special place, but not in the way that you see advertised in tourist publications,” Hackett said. “There are extraordinary folks here. It’s the greatest place to raise kids. My wife and I have traveled all over the world. We’ve lived in Texas, California and Hawaii as well as Japan. And Vermont is absolutely, and despiteall our craziness and dumb stuff we do, still an idyllic place. One of the greatest things you can do is drive the back roads of Vermont.”Hackett’s long-time friend, fishing partner and cribbage opponent, Angelo Pizzagalli, who is now “partially retired” from Pizzagalli Construction Co, also talks about Hackett’s devotion to Vermont.“First of all, the world is a better place because of Fred, there’s no question about that,” Pizzagalli said, “That he loves Vermont is an absolutely true statement. For example, we served on the board together of a company, I won’t tell you its name, but Fred decided he was going to retire. But he would not retire until he was sure that his replacement was a tried-and-true Vermonter. He wanted to make sure that all the concerns of Vermonters would be in place.”Hackett is a “very unselfish person,” Pizzagalli said.“I know of many causes he’s helped, and his name is never attached to it,” Pizzagalli said. “He’s quietly solved problems that were kind of left up in the air. He clearly has been an adviser to most anybody of any significance in Vermont and beyond. He’s been on many, many boards. Politically, educationally and in industry, people have sought out his advice. The sad thing is that more people should have followed it. Me, I follow his advice on everything except fishing and cribbage.”Hackett is notable for his determination, Pizzagalli said.“When Fred was in college, he was a collegiate ski jumper,” he said. “In his three years of ski jumping, there were three different techniques he had to learn. That’s three different ways to go off those incredibly high ski jumps. And he had to learn new ways three years in a row. That is a pretty amazing feat.”Pizzagalli scoffed at the idea that some people might fear Hackett because of his considerable behind-the-scenes influence.“That only comes from people who don’t know him,” Pizzagalli said. “There isn’t an ounce of vengeance in him. When UVM needed an interim president some years ago, and it became clear in a lot of minds that Tom Salmon would be the first choice, Fred Hackett worked hard to make sure he would be that interim president. And Tom Salmon was the winner of that gubernatorial election. That’s a pretty good example that Fred will do whatever is best for the state and mankind, and I don’t think that’s too strong a statement. He really cares about everybody.”Salmon acknowledges that he got the job as interim president of UVM because, “Fred was chairman of the board and a member of the search committee, and having a long-term, positive relationship with the chairman of the board didn’t hurt.”Salmon has the highest personal regard for Hackett.“Fred’s a remarkable person,” Salmon said. “I don’t know as if I’ve ever met anyone like him, who takes the tasks he assumes in life as seriously as he does. He does his homework. He is highly knowledgeable. He is also a person with a point of view, which I think is essential in leadership. His success is reflective of, in part, his slavish devotion to detail and to the mission or enterprise at hand.”Hackett is seen as a mentor to many of the state’s new generation of leaders. For example, Mary Alice McKenzie, now general counsel and vice president of Vermont State Colleges, tells how Hackett’s love of the state led her to sell her family’s meat processing company, McKenzie of Vermont, to a corporation which would keep some jobs in Vermont.“I had just started when Fred went out of his way to talk to me about doing business in Vermont,” McKenzie said. “He became one of my two mentors. He is a wonderful sounding board. He’s very thoughtful. He knows everybody in Vermont.”When it came time to sell, McKenzie turned to Hackett for his “wise advice.”“It wasn’t just to do the best financial deal,” McKenzie said. “It was how to create a good financial deal and preserve jobs. The economic health of the manufacturing sector of Vermont was the driver for us. Vermont is the number one thing in Fred’s mind. He doesn’t just talk it, he lives it.”Another person who regards Hackett as a mentor is Michael Smith, who was serving as Douglas’s assistant treasurer when Hackett recruited him to manage Yankee Captive Insurance. Smith was in line to become part of the company’s next generation of leaders when Douglas became governor and made him his Secretary of Administration. Although Smith had to resign from Hackett Valine & MacDonald, he is grateful for the opportunity that Hackett offered to him.“I can’t say enough about Fred Hackett,” Smith said. “With Fred, when he said something, it was solid. That’s something I think is sorely lacking in today’s business climate. Then there are his ethics, another thing I think has fallen by the wayside. Certainly, Fred Hackett held everybody, including himself, to the highest ethical standards. Then, he entertained a diversity of ideas, which I think makes a great leader. And he takes them seriously. I don’t think anyone could go wrong emulating Fred Hackett in terms of the qualities you want in business.”Hackett works to make Vermont prosperous, Smith said.“He’s also committed to making sure that younger Vermonters have opportunity, and he’s a conservationist as well,” he said. “He loves the outdoors, and loves to see Vermont in a way that can be pristine, and at the same time economically thriving. I hope his qualities carry on to new generations of business leaders here in the state.”Early LifeHackett was born in Burlington in 1933, one of three children, and started working when he was 13 years old.“I got my social security record the other day, and I realized that since 1946, I’ve had regular social security income,” Hackett said. “My first job was mowing lawns, and then I had a paper route, and in 1946 I went to work for the Lake Champlain Transportation Company. I distributed their advertising. I went all over Chittenden County on a bicycle. I went to work on the ferries as soon as I was 16.”A born conservative, Hackett saved all the money he earned for his college education.“For an out of state student now it costs between $25,000 to $30,000 a year to go to UVM,” Hackett said. “My wife and I both came from working families, and we had to put ourselves through school. The important thing is that it was possible. I always worked in the summer, and vacations and so on, and it was never a hardship because that’s what you did. And it was possible, with a little scholarship help, for youngsters to put themselves through college. But it’s no longer possible. You can’t earn at a level that compares with the level of the cost of a higher education.”After graduating from Burlington High School, where his wife, Sally Smith Hackett, was one year behind him, Hackett just “walked up the hill” to UVM. He graduated in 1955 and got married the same year. This was just after the Korean War, and Hackett went directly into the Air Force. His goal was to be a pilot, but unfortunately, he failed the vision test.“I was a pilot when I was 18, and I tried everything I could to get to flight school,” Hackett said. “My vision was good enough for the FAA, but not for the Air Force. I decided that a career in the Air Force without being a pilot wasn’t ideal. Dad had a small business, so I thought, ‘Well, let’s go home.’ So that’s what I did.”In high school and in the service, Hackett was still called Luther by his friends and associates, but when he joined his father’s small insurance company in 1959, he had to change his name.“I’m the third Luther,” he said. “I made the same mistake with my son, Luther Stephen, so he’s the fourth Luther, or Steve, as we call him. When I came in to work for dad, it got a little complicated. So I was called Fred.”Hackett worked with his father in the Hackett Agency until 1973, when his father retired. Hackett’s father is now 92; his mother is 90.“I really owe my dad a lot, because he set a superb example,” Hackett said. “My dad was a Vermonter; he was born in Newport. He came to Burlington during high school. He was a very, very hard-working fellow with a strong sense of duty. He never got to college. He couldn’t afford that. But he had a great way with people and a great desire to take care of folks, and so he really was a great guy to work with and for, a real inspiration.”Expanding the BusinessWhen Hackett started working with his father there were only three employees: the two Hacketts and a secretary. Hackett attributes the success of the company since then to good fortune and “very, very good people.”Fred Hackett was often the chairman of the board of any organization in which he found himself. VBMfile photo.“In 1970 we acquired an agency called the Peterson Rolands Agency, but the two principles were Duane Valine and Don MacDonald,” Hackett said. “And so I had Duane and Don as partners for a number of years. In 1972 my brother Tom and I organized Hackett & Co, our retirement plan and investment advisory business. But in 1978, his family was having a lot of health problems. The doc said he should move to the desert, so he moved to Phoenix and has his own investment advisory firm out there. But I had Duane and Don and my dad, and then my brother, and then over the years just some outstanding people. My brother-in-law retired last year after working with me for 25 years.”Oddly enough, Hackett’s son Steve followed a career path similar to his father’s, going into the Army after college and then coming back to Vermont and the insurance business.“He figured it out after six years in the army, where he was an armored officer,” Hackett said. “He spent time overseas, married, and then when our first granddaughter was born, he and his wife decided the army wasn’t exactly the right place to raise a family. He said he’d like to come home and try the insurance business, and I said fine, come ahead, and try it, if you like it, that will be fine, and if you don’t, you’ll do something else. There’s a considerable repeat factor here.”TransitionsWhen Hackett’s father decided to retire, it was a simpler time. He told his son that he was going to work one more year, and when that year was done, Hackett bought him out. When Valine and McDonald decided to retire, Hackett bought them out, too. Since then, the transitions have become more complicated.“Three years ago we gave each of the next generation – six young folks, average age 40 – a chance to buy some stock,” Hackett said. “We put a plan in place that three years later they would actually be able to buy some more stock and the group would have a majority interestin Yankee Insurance Group. We had some other shareholders, and I redeemed their stock and gave them some special contracts so we could make it possible for the young folks to really have control of the business.”Steve Hackett is now chairman and CEO. His associate, Tod Austin, the son of Hackett’s long-time friend and former campaign manager, Ned Austin of Triad Designs, is president. Kevin Dwyer, who is on a six-month military leave in Afghanistan with the Vermont National Guard, is vice president of risk management. Tim Ford is the senior vice president and manager of the group and life departments. Deborah Balserus is vice president of the customer service organization, and Richard Bazluke is senior vice president and treasurer.HVM Corp, the family holding company, has given up its majority interest in Yankee Insurance Group, which is a subsidiary holding company which owns 100 percent of Hackett Valine & McDonald.“HVM also owns 100 percent of Hackett & Company,” Hackett said. “But it is at the Yankee Insurance Group level that now the six young partners own Hackett Valine MacDonald and Yankee Captive, 100 percent. But they own only a majority interest in Yankee Insurance, and I have the rest.”Hackett plans to slowly hand over the rest of the business as well.“I have younger leadership coming along in the other organizations, and I would hope and expect in the next year or two, I would be able to turn over the responsibilities to the younger folks,” Hackett said. “It’s just a matter of time.”The coming generation of Hacketts will, at the very least, not go through the name confusion of the previous ones. Hackett has five granddaughters. One is starting college, one is a teenager, and the three others are 6, 8, and 10.“Five females,” Hackett said with pride. “Terrific!”A Bitter CampaignHackett does not believe he has made any serious mistakes in business, but politics may be another story.“Some people would say that the biggest mistake I ever made was to run for governor in 1972,” Hackett said with a smile. “Looking back on it, I ran a very naive campaign. I’d had some success, been elected to the Legislature three times, been the majority leader, and Dick Mallary and I recruited Deane Davis to run for governor. I worked hard for Deane, and I was very interested in state policy. When Deane wasn’t going to run again, a lot of friends encouraged me that it was the time to run for governor. So I did. But I don’t blame it on my friends. It was a decision I made. But it was a very naive campaign.”The Republican primary was held against James Jeffords, now the US Senator from Vermont.“During the 1970s, Fred Hackett was seen as the new Deane Davis,” said Garrison Nelson, professor of political science at UVM. “The Republicans were trying to groom him as a way of thwarting Jim Jeffords’ desire to be governor. As attorney general of Vermont, Jeffords was seen as anti-business, with very strict enforcement of the anti-billboard legislation and a lawsuit against the International Paper Company, which he said was polluting Lake Champlain.”The Republicans were fearful of Jeffords, Nelson said, because he had cross-over support.“So in 1972, they convinced the Legislature to move the limits of spending in primaries from $6,000 to $40,000 to enable Fred Hackett to put together a real campaign organization,” Nelson said. “Jeffords went deeply into debt to campaign against Hackett and lost the race. It was a very bitter contest.”Salmon, who had lost to Jeffords two years earlier in a race for attorney general, got the Democratic nomination for governor “by default,” Nelson said.“No one wanted it,” Nelson said. “It was the Nixon-McGovern years. Nixon was going to run up a gigantic landslide, and everyone figured the Democratic candidate would be a sacrificial lamb. But the Republican establishment underestimated the bitterness that Jeffords supporters had towards them. Many prominent Jeffords’ loyalists openly switched their allegiance to Tom Salmon. There were Jeffords/Salmon bumper stickers, signaling to Jeffords supporters that it was OK to vote for Salmon in that contest. The consequence was that Nixon won the state in a landslide, but Salmon went on to an underdog victory. Since then Fred has remained above the fray, and he enjoys the respect of both parties.”The rancor of that election has never really subsided. In Jeffords’ 2003 book, “An Independent Man: Adventures of a Public Servant,” he admits that not having the support of his own party in the primary “sure hurt.”“The thought was much with me that (election) day that I could have been elected governor but for that Republican primary,” Jeffords writes. “Now, after the Davis years, the GOP had lost the governorship again. Maybe it was just what the party deserved.”In a review of Jeffords’ book for The Herald of Randolph, Norman Runnion, former editor of the Brattleboro Reformer, suggests that “it’s hard to believe that the early animosity didn’t carry over to (Jeffords’) momentous decision to leave the Republican Party” many years later.Hackett, however, says that his running for governor had nothing to do with Jeffords.“I ran for governor because I felt at the time that I could provide a broad base of leadership for Vermont,” Hackett said. “It didn’t have anything to do with Jim or specific policies.”Hackett refuses to speculate on what made Jeffords jump his party.“I have no idea what he thought or what persuaded him,” Hackett said.In retrospect, Hackett said he should have made amends with Jeffords after the primary.“I should have handled it differently,” Hackett said. “Jim and I never really got along very well, even when he first came to the Senate and I was the majority leader in the House. There wasn’t a lot of rapport there. I thought, ‘There’s a young, good guy from Rutland.’ So I took him to lunch, but we never clicked. We had different views of things. So after I won the primary, I should have found a way to be much more solicitous of Jim, but I didn’t, so… “Hackett said he lost the gubernatorial election because he was unable to communicate with the voters.“I thought it was enough to really care about the state and know a lot about it,” Hackett said. “But people who listened to me on the campaign trail said, ‘You know the answers, but it doesn’t come across.’ Deane Davis, in his autobiography, said I couldn’t motivate the voters. It was quite a lesson, but it cured me. Some would say it was the best thing that happened to me, because it would have been a very bad time, frankly, to leave the business. My dad and my partners were very tolerant. They didn’t give me any static. But they certainly weren’t unhappy when I didn’t succeed.”Hackett takes full responsibility for losing to Salmon.“The Republican Party was badly divided, but I lost that election – nobody else,” he said. “I traveled all over the state – I thought it was important to visit every town in the state, and I did it twice – even the littlest town. But from a pragmatic standpoint, in terms of campaigning, it was not a good use of time. All of the towns are not equal in terms of the number of votes.”Hackett enjoyed campaigning across the state, but did not use the media wisely.“I didn’t focus on how to get the message across broadly,” he said. “You have to use the media. You have to use scheduled appearances that attract a lot of people. In the very end of the campaign, there was an ad Tom Salmon ran that I thought was not factually correct, and so I went down to WCAX and asked them for equal time. I sat on a stool and talked to a reporter who asked me a whole lot of questions about the ad, and I explained directly what I believed were the facts. My campaign people said that was the only effective piece of television I did on the whole campaign. To make a long story short, because it was so late in the campaign the station thought they owed it to Salmon to let him see the tape before they broadcast it. And it never got run, because Tom’s campaign manager said, ‘Take our ad off, but don’t run that’.”Dean Versus BushIn 1991, after Snelling died unexpectedly in office, Hackett had no qualms about serving as a Democrat’s economic adviser.“Howard (Dean) is a very able guy, and, particularly, an able politician,” Hackett said. “I disagree with him on lots and lots of policy issues. It’s no secret that I served on his council because he asked me to, and every time he was announcing for election I would give him my resignation and he would tell me that he wouldn’t accept it, and he understood that I wasn’t going to support him. I like him a lot and I have a lot of respect for him.”When Dean sounded out Hackett about his presidential run, “I told him I didn’t think he had much of a chance,” Hackett said. “He’s certainly making a splash with his campaign, but I don’t know how long or how sustainable that is in national politics,” Hackett said. “Am I surprised by how well he’s done? I guess the answer to that is yes.” When asked if Dean would make a good president, Hackett smiled and said, “I guess I have to say that he wouldn’t be my first choice.”Hackett is a strong supporter of President George W Bush.“President Bush is surprisingly strong as a president,” Hackett said. “It’s pretty clear to me that he and Mrs Bush are very, very conscientious people about the public interest, and about the youth of the nation particularly. They’re genuinely charitable people in the sense of their concern and caring for people. On the other hand, I think he’s very, very pragmatic about international policy and doing what’s necessary, and he’s also strong. Those are qualities we really need. I think he’s doing a very, very good job as president. “I don’t agree with everything that he does, but I agree with about 95 percent of it. I think he’s an excellent president and has a very, very strong chance of being elected, happily.”At least one of Bush’s policies has a direct effect on Hackett’s businesses. Although Hackett said he would not have advised Bush to eliminate the inheritance tax, he does feel that it was a hindrance.“It needed to have much, much higher base limits,” Hackett said. “It has become a real threat to the continuation of significant middle size businesses like our business, and many in the farming business, and many in family businesses. I believe it’s critical to have a great diversity in business. Competition is critical. And the ability to maintain family-type businesses or close control of personal businesses was really being threatened.“Corporate America was overwhelming it, and it became a real challenge for every family which has a family business and needs to pass it on to other generations. Many businesses were forced to sell to large organizations in order to deal with the necessity of paying estate taxes.”Policy AdviceSince Hackett’s advice is so frequently sought by those in power, it helps to know his position on some of the important issues:• For example, as a Banknorth director for so many years, does he think that community banks are a thing of the past?“No, local banks are not an anachronism,” Hackett said. “I think around the country, bank mergers are a reality. But I also believe that when the merger process takes place, as it has in Vermont, small community banks thrive. Today they are growing. You only have to look around. There’ll always be a lot of competition in banking, and I think that’s good. I think the small banks will prosper as some of the larger units grow larger. But I think it will be very hard for outside large banks to succeed here.”• Does he support the recent sales tax hike?“Yes,” Hackett said. “It’s the lesser of evils. I understood when we passed the sales tax originally that it would affect the eastern part of the state negatively, and the original view was to keep it as broad as possible and keep the rate as low as possible. We’ve long since abandoned that.”• Would he support a state-wide income tax to fund education or anything else?“I believe we already have a relatively high income tax, and what I’m seeing is lots of folks who have options of leaving the state,” he said. “I have no intention of leaving the state, but a lot of people are. And I think our income tax is the reason. If we let this income tax continue to be among the highest in the nation, it’s very hard to attract the kind of large-scale businesses that I think could succeed in Vermont.• How does he feel about Act 250 and the permitting process?“I was a conservationist before anyone talked about the environmental movement,” said Hackett, who worked with Davis to pass the original Act 250.“It was the Republicans that got Act 250 passed in the state,” he said. Hackett still believes that communities should have a say in how they are developed, but he believes Act 250 has been “grossly distorted by process.”“It’s the whole appeal process, the ability to let folks stand in the way of projects as long as they can hire an attorney,” Hackett said. “In my view, we’ve had a gross distortion of good ideas by folks who just don’t understand the necessity to have a strong economy in the state. Intervention occurs without getting a broad spectrum of views. How does a community represent itself? We’ve empowered anybody who has an attorney to appeal ad nauseam. It’s a substantial barrier to appropriate economic development.”• Why has it been so difficult to recruit a strong UVM president?“I think the process of recruiting really outstanding talent is a very imperfect one,” Hackett said. “We have been reluctant to make changes as soon as we might have when we make a mistake. We’re not alone among public bodies. Tenure for presidents, particularly of higher education institutions in this country, averages somewhere around three or three-and-a-half years. So we’re not alone. We have to have the right leadership. Fletcher Allen is going through the same kind of thing right now. It’s really critical that they recruit a strong, experienced leader. I don’t have any quick fix for that one. Hire the best is the only thing I know to do.”• What about the property tax and education spending?“The property tax is out of control,” Hackett said. “I do believe we’ve got more steps to take to get education spending under control, and I think everybody in the state probably will agree on that, regardless of party. The governor’s committed to a program of reducing expenses in government, and that’s the absolute key. We can’t continue to be among the highest-spending states in the nation on a per capita basis for education. We do not have any real justification for that.”Belt-tightening is needed, Hackett said.“I regard the bill that was passed this past year as buying some time for us to make the changes we need to control the costs of education,” Hackett said. “I believe Vermont is not alone in having a swollen state expenditure level. California has a $38 billion deficit. States have been spending with wild abandon. In Vermont we’re just spending too much per pupil – too many units of administration, too high a teacher/pupil ratio.”• What does he think of Representative Bernie Sanders?“I think Bernie Sanders, who I’ve known for quite some time, and others came here recognizing there was political opportunity here for folks who work hard and build an organization,” Hackett said. “And they certainly did that. I still don’t think Bernie truly represents the views of the majority of Vermonters.“The fact is that Bernie is antagonistic to the economic interests of the state, and I think that’s a serious problem because we’re a very small state, and we need a sound economy in order to make it possible for Vermonters to succeed and survive. But I also think once you’re in office, it’s very, very difficult to lose an election. You have to do something awfully stupid.”• What does he think about the Vermont economy today?“I think Vermont is better positioned than many other states,” Hackett said. “But I believe Vermont’s economy is fragile at any time. I came out of the service just after IBM had come here, and it has been a huge stabilizing factor in the Vermont economy. The bad news is we’re so heavily dependent. The good news is that they’re a terrific employer and that they have brought a lot of hard-working, bright folks here. But you can see the state’s fragility if you understand what would happen if IBM should reduce that size by even half. So we’re very vulnerable. Happily, we’re building some diversity and some breadth, but I think it’s essential that folks understand that we have to have a climate that’s good for business activity.”• Are Republicans coming back to power in Vermont?“I hope so,” Hackett said. “I think, honestly, that the public is increasingly perceptive. Jim (Douglas) has proved to be a very, very good governor. The most distinguishing thing about Jim is that he says what he means, and then he does what he says. And that’s unique among politicians. I think that isreaching Vermonters, and that will help the Republicans.”Not Retired YetMany people describe Hackett as a workaholic, but he also has a strong love of the outdoors.“I like to ski, I like to fly fish, and I like to spend time with my wife on the golf course,” Hackett said. “I don’t play much golf except with her. I like to walk on the beaches in Florida for a few days in the winter. I used to have boats. I sailed for a lot of years on Lake Champlain. I still do some hiking, but I don’t do it a lot. But I really don’t intend to retire.”Hackett’s attitude about retirement frustrates his friends.“When you’re young you always go to your friends to go out and play, and when you get older, you do the same thing,” said Ned Austin, who has been Hackett’s friend since high school. “And Fred’s such a committed guy, I can’t get him to come out and play.”Joyce Marcel is a freelance writer from Dummerston.last_img read more

C-NS golfers earn sectional title; Liverpool’s Husted wins individual honors

first_img Tags: C-NSGolfliverpool Though it had already proved that it was good, the Cicero-North Syracuse Blue boys golf team saved its best and important effort for when it counted most.The Northstars emerged from a close four-way contest for the top spot Wednesday at Radisson Greens to take the Section III fall championship among Salt City Athletic Conference Metro division sides.And while that was going on, Liverpool claimed some sectional honors, too, when senior Dylan Husted emerged as the individual medalist, beating out, among others, his Warriors teammate, Spencer Baum.This particular sectional team tournament carried all sorts of mystery, partially because of the close competition among C-NS Blue, Fayetteville-Manlius and Baldwinsville during the regular season.The Northstars lost both head-to-head matches with the Hornets, but split with the Bees, including a 191-198 loss to B’ville earlier in the week at Timber Banks.Another element to the story was the elements itself. Cold temperatures, occasional wind and a Radisson course that took lots of rain in the 24 hours before the sectional tournament would make it play much longer than its listed 6,600-plus yards.With scores tightly bunched among all the contenders, what made the difference for C-NS Blue was the fact that it was the only team to record four 18-hole scores below 80.Senior Ryan Sisco led the Northstars, shooting a five-over-par 77. Right behind him, sophomore Jake Nardozza posted a 78, while junior D.J. Villnave and freshman Sean Lawler each put together rounds of 79.It was an 82 from junior Darin Townsend that ended up clinching the sectional title as C-NS Blue finished at 395, four shots ahead of both B’ville and West Genesee, who finished at 399 as F-M posted 400 to take fourth place.Meanwhile, the individual race, which included SCAC Empire division golfers, would feature no golfer running away from the field, which ultimately favored Husted.Putting together an even-par 72, Husted did enough to finish one stroke head of the 73 from Oswego’s Ryan Bartlett. Baum, who began the season by winning the Drumlins Invitational, managed a 74 and finished alone in third place.Aside from the 91 by Austin Alberici and 95 from Brian Pellegrino, C-NS also had its Green team in the sectional tournament, which finished with a team score of 435.Cullen Scott’s 84 paced C-NS Green, with Riley Rumble and Carter Costello both shooting 86. Brody Kennedy had an 89 as Devin Kellogg produced a 90. They were ahead of a 92 from Nick Wentworth.Liverpool shot a team score of 429, just ahead of C-NS Green. Behind Husted and Baum, Dante Cassella posted a 90, with Connor Boland earning a 96 and Kyle Kirkby shooting 97 as Kaeden Hacker finished at 104.All five of C-NS Blue’s top finishers – Sisco, Nardozza, Villnave, Lawler and Townsend – joined Husted and Baum in qualifying for the May sectional state qualifying tournament at Seven Oaks.Before all this, C-NS Blue and C-NS Green had one more head-to-head match,, with Blue prevailing 189-219. Sisco shot a 35, with Nardozza getting a 36 as Villnave and Sam Thompson each posted 39 and Lawler added a 40.For C-NS Green, it was Kennedy and Cullen Scott posting rounds of 41 in front of the 44 by Wentworth as Rumble had a 46 and Joe Degroat added a 47.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story last_img read more

Without top runners, Syracuse still puts up impressive performance at John Reif Memorial

first_imgIn the last invitational before the Big East championship, the men’s and women’s cross country team traveled to Ithaca to compete in the John Reif Memorial.Coming off of a short week after competing in the season’s most high-caliber race at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 12, the top-seven men and women runners did not compete in Friday’s race.The Orange had no problem showing up without its top runners.Reminiscent of the first three invitationals of the season, the men’s team placed four runners in the top 10.Freshman Andres Bennison finished first for the Orange and second overall with a time of 26:19 in the 5-mile race. Freshman Juris Silenieks came in fourth place with a time of 26:28. Senior Jonathan Aziz and freshman Joe Kush rounded out the top 10 finishing in seventh and 10th, respectively.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe women’s team matched its season debut at the Harry Lang Invitational with five harriers in the top 10.In the 5,000-meter race against Cornell, Niagara and Cortland State, Syracuse junior Kimberly Spano finished first with a time of 18:40 with junior Breanna Symoniak finishing fractions of a second behind her. Freshmen showed their skills as Emily Nist, Margo Malone and Katherine Kinkead rounded out the top 10.Syracuse stuck with its emphasized pack mentality in this race. The Orange looks to keep up the pace for the Big East championship on Oct. 26 in the Bronx.—Compiled by Melissa Bronson-Tramel, staff writer, [email protected] Comments Published on October 22, 2012 at 12:06 am Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more