On the Removal of Campaign Signs

I wrote this after the 2017 municipal election, and although this year someone else took down the signs (thanks, Gwen!), and nearly twice as many of us voted, and our votes were for different (I won’t say more important) offices, the thoughts I offered then seem no less valid today.—Chris, Nov. 7, 2018

Yesterday, as I drove around Bolton taking down the Democrats’ campaign signs, I was struck once again by how beautiful our town is.

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My path led from Bolton old to Bolton new. From our historic Town Green and the pre-revolutionary stone walls of Heritage Farm past much newer buildings and the promise of buildings yet to be. Up winding lanes past pond and marsh. Down straighter thoroughfares where colonial-era houses mingle with neighbors of far more recent vintage. Past farmland tilled for generations and sites of commerce undreamed of by Bolton’s earliest residents.

I count myself lucky to live here. Like so many, I came for the schools but quickly realized Bolton offers so much more. I marked them off as I drove around: the Hop River Trail, Bentley Memorial Library, Herrick Park, Pesce’s Farm, Bolton Lake, Fish Farm, Tinker Pond.

img_1820.jpgAll of these places (and many more) form the tapestry that is Bolton. Threaded through that tapestry, bringing to life its scenes, are the people who built these places or made them possible, the people who frequent them today, the people who care for them, and the people who dream or worry about their future.

This past Tuesday, 1,500 of us made our way to Town Hall, a biannual pilgrimage to express, not with weapons and epithets but with marks on paper, our frustrations and hopes. In voting we further enriched the tapestry that is Bolton. Not because of any particular outcome but because voting itself is an act of hope, a reminder to ourselves and to our neighbors that what we have is worth continuing, worth preserving, worth building on.

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The removal of campaign signs is both an end and a beginning. Having served their purpose, these bald appeals for votes are overnight rendered little more than litter across the landscape. Their removal, the symbolic end of the campaign, restores Bolton’s familiar landscapes and vistas.

This clearing of the fields, as it were, also signals that the time has come to begin anew, to sow the seeds of rejuvenation, to roll up our sleeves and begin with our neighbors the hard work of making democracy work in this small town we love so dearly.

Thank you, Bolton. We are humbled and honored and excited to begin the hard work that lies ahead.

—Christopher Davey, Chair of the Bolton Democratic Town Committee

 

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Letters for Tiffany

Over the course of the campaign, all five members of the BDTC executive committee wrote letters endorsing 55th Assembly District candidate Tiffany Thiele. Most were published in either the Journal Inquirer or RiverEast newspaper. All are collected here.

First Selectman Sandra Pierog:

On November 6th, Tiffany Thiele, the Democratic candidate for District 55, will have my vote. Tiffany stands for the values that are important to me and what I think are the core Connecticut values:

  • fiscal responsibility;
  • fair distribution of municipal aid;
  • equal pay for women;
  • earned family leave;
  • common-sense gun safety legislation;
  • a strong education system with well-paid teachers, safe schools, universal pre-K, and no more unfunded mandates; and
  • a fair and timely state budget to allow municipalities to plan appropriately.

As a gun owner and shooting advocate, I understand the importance of keeping guns out of the wrong hands with strong control and legislation. We need to continue to support equal education of the younger generation, which is critical for our state’s growth and stability. And we can’t go backward with women and family rights. As a municipal official, I understand the detrimental effect that unfunded state mandates have on our local property taxes. Tiffany shares my views and will work hard in the legislature to seek equitable solutions to these issues.

Tiffany is a resident of Hebron and has been working hard since her nomination, knocking on doors, visiting voters in the four towns she hopes to serve, attending meetings, and listening to her future constituents. She is approachable and accessible. I’m proud to support Tiffany and vote for the values I believe make Connecticut strong. Please join me on November 6 in voting Thiele for the 55th!

BDTC chairman and BOE and P&Z member Christopher Davey:

On October 10, Bolton held a public forum on school safety. Tiffany Thiele showed up. Robin Green, the current 55th District representative (who sits on the House Education Committee) did not. The contrast speaks volumes.

This election, up and down the ballot, we face a clear choice: Democratic candidates who will fight to move Connecticut forward in a way that benefits all citizens; who will protect women’s rights, workers’ rights, healthcare, and the environment; who will take the threats of gun violence, climate change, and the increasing unaffordability of higher education seriously. Or Republican candidates who would enact the Trump agenda here in Connecticut: more handouts to millionaires and billionaires; fewer protections for children, workers, and the elderly; and a refusal to take seriously the threats of gun violence, inadequate healthcare, and climate change.

Through her votes, Robin Green has shown where her allegiance lies: far to the right of even her own party. (Bump stocks. Universal pre-K. Essential health benefits for women and children. Protecting seniors from predatory reverse mortgage practices. Preparing the state for the effects of climate change. On each of these issues and more, Ms. Green has voted against bipartisan legislation supported by large majorities of both Democrats and Republicans.)

In contrast, Tiffany Thiele is committed to working with legislators and local town leaders, regardless of party, to make the hard but necessary decisions needed to move Connecticut forward while ensuring that our local schools and town programs don’t suffer as a consequence.

Tiffany has shown up for Bolton, attending numerous public meetings, getting to know the local issues, talking with liberals, moderates, and conservatives alike. On November 6, I plan to show up for Tiffany and help Flip the 55th!

P&Z chairman and BDTC vice chairman Adam Teller:

I am supporting Tiffany Thiele to represent our 55th District in the State House. We need a representative in Hartford who cares about our concerns, and will fight for what is right. I haven’t seen any evidence that our current Representative, Robin Green, knows or cares about what’s important to us.

In 2017, Ms. Green voted “NO” on Senate Bill 954, which would have advanced a plan for universal preschool. She’s the owner of three for-profit preschool centers—was she voting her interest or ours?

This year, Ms. Green voted “NO” on a bill to protect essential health benefits; apparently she doesn’t value access to maternity and newborn healthcare, emergency services, and mental health/substance abuse treatment.

Most incredibly of all, Ms. Green voted NO on banning bump stocks—dangerous devices that have no real purpose but to allow a single weapon to kill more people, more quickly.

Of course, she also said “NO” to Tiffany Thiele’s invitation to debate, explain and defend her positions—because she can’t.

Tiffany Thiele would have voted “YES” on all of those issues. She supports quality education and services, but she also stands for fiscal responsibility, reducing inefficiencies, and reining in the unfunded mandates that burden town budgets inequitably.

I’m proud to be voting for Tiffany and the values that really make Connecticut great, and I’m asking the voters of the 55th District to join me.

BOE member Anne Decker:

On November 6, I’ll be supporting Tiffany Thiele, the Democratic candidate for the 55th District. One of the main reasons for my support is her stance on education issues.

Unlike our current representative, who voted for a budget that cut nearly $1.2 million in state aid to Andover, Bolton, Hebron, and Marlborough, Tiffany has pledged not to support a state budget that doesn’t provide our towns with their fair share of state education funding.

Tiffany believes we need to honor our commitments to teachers by preserving and fully funding their retirement fund, and she supports using state lottery revenue to do so. Tiffany also supports common-sense gun legislation that will keep our communities and schools safe. Our current representative, despite being a member of the Education Committee, refused earlier this year to join the vast majority of her colleagues in voting to ban bump stocks.

Tiffany is engaged and committed to our communities. She’s attended Board of Education meetings in Bolton, and both she and Senator Steve Cassano attended a recent school safety forum organized by the town and school system. Tellingly, neither our current representative nor Senator Cassano’s opponent bothered to attend.

The towns in the 55th District deserve better. Please join me on November 6 in voting for Tiffany Thiele.

BDTC secretary Mary Terhune:

As a 12-year union member of CSEA, I’m excited to support Tiffany Thiele in the race for 55th District representative. Tiffany’s endorsements by SEIU, Council 4 AFSCME, Connecticut AFL-CIO, UAW Region 9A, American Federation of Teachers and the CT State Building Trades demonstrates that she is aware of the concerns of the working class.

She is a proud CT resident who knows the importance of a skilled labor pool in our state. As our representative, Tiffany will be constituent-focused and will prioritize protecting jobs, supporting equal pay laws, and fighting for workers’ rights.

The 55th District needs a problem solver with a fresh perspective, and I am confidant Tiffany Thiele is the right person for the job. Please join me in supporting Tiffany with your VOTE on November 6!

In addition, the Journal Inquirer published letters by Bolton resident Magdalena Reyna and BDTC chair emeritus John Toomey (the latter in support of both Tiffany and Senator Steve Cassano).

Finally, check out this thoughtful piece from an unaffiliated voter on the anything-goes “Bolton Thunderdome” Facebook page.

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On False Equivalence

The next time an American visits horror upon his fellow citizens (how sad that we all know the wait is unlikely to be long and that my choice of pronoun is likely to be correct) and you hear someone offer the excuse, “There’s bad people on both sides,” point them to the ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map. It documents incidents of hate, extremism, anti-Semitism, and terrorism in the United States going back to 2002.

The following screenshots compare left-wing and right-wing extremist incidents and murders since 2008.

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Screenshot from ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map, showing left-wing extremist incidents, 2008–2018

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Screenshot from ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map, showing right-wing extremist incidents, 2008–2018

All such incidents are to be deplored, but we cannot pretend that there is any meaningful degree of real-world equivalence between left and right extremism. (And for every murder, shootout, or terrorist incident since 2008 there have been more than 14 anti-Semitic/white supremacist incidents.)

Those who subscribe to right-wing political ideas or support right-wing politicians who tacitly approve of or even provide quiet (or not so quiet) encouragement for the extremist ideas that today often circulate openly in right-wing circles would do well to examine why it is that the Republican platform has proven so attractive to so many who are willing to do unspeakably horrible things to their fellow citizens.

Allow yourself to be angry at today’s shooting, at this week’s mail bombs, at the demonization of desperate Central Americans seeking relief from poverty and violence, at the thousands of migrant children still locked up by our government, at the corruption of the current administration, at the chants of “Lock her up!”, at all the lies. Channel that anger toward action.

Vote.

Volunteer.

Raise your children not to fear diversity. Teach them that truth still has value.

Speak out against prejudice, hate, intolerance.

Be a light so others may see.

—Christopher Davey, chairman of the Bolton Democratic Town Committee

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Jahana Hayes

This past weekend, 5th Congressional District candidate Jahana Hayes spoke at a gathering in Manchester hosted by numerous local officials, including Bolton’s First Selectman Sandra Pierog and DTC Chairman Christopher Davey.

Ms. Hayes, a former National Teacher of the Year, is a truly inspiring figure. Her story is inspiring, and she has spent her life inspiring others—whether in the classroom or on the campaign trail. We can’t wait for her to represent Connecticut in Washington alongside the likes of Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy. We just wish (with apologies to Joe!) that she were in our district, so we could vote for her too!

Here’s a video of her speech from Saturday night.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole video, jump to to the 8:33 mark. But, really, take the time to watch the whole thing. You won’t regret it!

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The (Republican) Case against Robin Green

Recently a member of the Andover RTC posted on our Facebook page, attacking Tiffany Thiele, the Democratic candidate for the 55th Assembly District. It’s good to hear that Tiffany’s campaign has Republicans running scared. And given the voting record that Republican incumbent Robin Green has assembled, they should be scared.

The post attacking Tiffany focused on an ad she’s running on social media that calls Green out for her vote against legislation banning bump stocks. That bill passed overwhelmingly (114 to 35 in the House, 26 to 10 in the Senate) and was signed by the governor. Robin voted against it and, apparently, against the sentiments of the majority of her party (even Donald Trump is against bump stocks). Polls suggest that as much as 81 percent of voters favor a ban on these devices.

But Robin’s vote in favor of bump stocks is really just the first in a long list of votes that place her well outside the mainstream of even her own party.

  • A majority of Republicans voted for the 2017 community health care worker bill (SB 126). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for a 2017 bill prohibiting hospitals and pharmacies from engaging in certain deceptive and unfair practices (SB 445). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for a 2017 bill to study ways of enacting the recommendations of the Diabetes Advisory Council (HB 6237). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for a 2017 bill directing the Dept. of Public Heath to update its website with information allowing citizens to determine whether someone is a certified lactation specialist (HB 6487). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans (Senate and House combined) voted for the 2017 universal pre-k bill (SB 954). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for a 2017 bill establishing a working group to study public-private partnerships as a way to bring new businesses to the state (HB 6749). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for a 2017 bill making it easier for contractors to get paid upon completion of work (HB 7073). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for the 2017 pay equity bill (HB 5591). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for the 2018 Climate Change Planning and Resiliency bill (SB 7). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for the 2018 omnibus energy bill that, among other things, supports clean and renewable energy programs (SB 9). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for the 2018 bill capping (at 36%) the interest payday lenders can charge borrowers, among other consumer protections (HB 5490). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for the 2018 bill protecting seniors from predatory reverse mortgage practices (SB 150). Not Robin.
  • A majority of Republicans voted for the 2018 bill mandating essential health benefits for women and children (HB 5210). Not Robin.

These and other instances where Robin Green voted not just in the minority but in the minority of legislators from her own party show that she represents the extreme far right of the Republican Party and not the majority of voters in her district. Given her votes, can she even claim to represent the interests of most Republicans in the district?

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55th District Candidate Tiffany Thiele with State Senator Steve Cassano

We choose to stand behind Tiffany Thiele because her values are Connecticut values and 55th District values. Tiffany supports common-sense gun laws and laws protecting the health benefits of women and children. She supports consumer protections, pay equity, and other steps to even the playing field between powerful corporations and the rest of us. And she will fight to ensure that our towns receive the state aid we deserve (Robin Green voted for budgets that reduced state aid to our towns).

Robin Green has had two years of experience as an elected official. She’s proven that’s two years too many.

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Primary Endorsements

At our meeting on July 26, we voted to endorse Ned Lamont, Susan Bysiewicz, and Chris Mattei in their campaigns for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general respectively. All three face primary challenges on August 14.

Ned Lamont, Governor

Bolton First Selectman Sandra Pierog said Ned would bring “a new perspective to CT government. As a businessman, he knows the challenges that face our citizens and businesses.”

Several DTC members expressed concern that Ned’s opponent in the Democratic primary had served time in federal prison on corruption charges. The choice was clear, they said.

To learn about Ned and his positions, head over to his campaign website.

Susan Bysiewicz, Lieutenant Governor

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Susan Bysiewicz, Bolton First Selectman Sandra Pierog, and Ned Lamont at a recent event in Manchester

DTC Vice Chair Adam Teller described Susan’s strong work ethic and commitment to reaching out to people across the state. “In my experience,” Teller said, “when she asks people for their opinion, she actually listens to what they say. Susan tries to bring people together, and we need that skill more than ever right now.”

DTC chair emeritus John Toomey noted that Susan had built personal relationships with many in Bolton, and he stressed her past experience in state government, both as a state representative and as secretary of state. “She transformed Connecticut’s voting system as secretary of state, making it more modern and verifiable. Thanks to Susan, we have a a system that’s automated but can’t be hacked, even by the Russians.”

Toomey also noted, “Susan has the necessary experience to lead the state if anything were to happen to the governor, an unfortunate occurrence that has happened three times just in my lifetime.”

For more on Susan, see her campaign website.

Chris Mattei, Attorney General

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Chris Mattei and DTC member Mary Terhune at a candidate event in Bolton last November

Attorney general candidate Chris Mattei was praised for his past experience as a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s office. For First Selectman Pierog, his position as a newcomer to state politics “uniquely qualifies Chris to serve since he doesn’t have existing allegiances or debts to other political insiders.”

DTC member Gwen Marrion praised Chris’s intelligence, and DTC chair Christopher Davey noted that Chris had twice visited Bolton and made strong positive impressions on members at each visit.

For more on Chris, see his campaign website.

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All three of the endorsed candidates are focused on making Connecticut better for all of our neighbors, and we believe they have the qualities and experience needed to move the state forward without leaving small towns like Bolton behind. We endorse them and hope our fellow Democrats will join us on August 14 in voting for each of them.

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Registration Event on July 31

Would you like to vote in the August 14 primary election? To do so,  you’ll need to be a registered Democrat or Republican.

As reported today in a special edition of the Bolton Bulletin, Bolton’s registrars of voters will be holding a special registration event on July 31, from 2 to 4 pm at the Notch Road Municipal Center. If you can’t make it Tuesday, you can also register to vote at any time online through the Secretary of State’s office.

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Budget Vote Today

Polls are open today until 8 pm at Bolton Town Hall. Please stop by to vote on the town budget.

The proposed budget can be reviewed here (PDF).

At the April BDTC meeting, members voted to endorse the budget as proposed by the Board of Finance prior to the May 1 public hearing on the budget. We believe this is a fair, fiscally responsible budget; it takes steps to address some of Bolton’s long-term needs, maintains a health contingency fund, and should result in zero tax increase to Bolton tax payers.

SignHolder

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