Thank you so much for your thoughtful response and think you're spot on.
As for your one criticism... how dare you! ;) Just kidding!
I realize the piece is long and could be shorter, but due to many complex factors, it's really hard to take much out. However, I am more than open to specific suggestions and would happily connect with you individually to hear out any ideas you might have for making the piece shorter while preserving the intent and integrity of the overall story and matters discussed.