Editorial: Election Day 2012, the storm and some endorsements

As Darien and surrounding areas continue to recover from the violent winds, flooding, downed trees and power outages from this week’s storm, it is difficult to think about much else.

We are concentrating on the well-being of our families and friends here and in other areas affected by Sandy, focusing on managing without power — focusing on recovery.

While it is tempting to entirely focus on that, the fact remains that next week is Election Day, and Darien is faced with some choices.

Republican candidate Jack Chiaramonte makes a passionate and compelling argument as to why he should replace incumbent Democrat Bob Duff in the state senate representing Darien and Norwalk. Mr. Chiaramonte, chairman of Norwalk’s Board of Education, points out that many Fairfield County school districts don’t get their fair share of state reimbursements. It’s a familiar complaint for the Gold Coast, which often seems to give more than it gets in state dollars.

With such a strong, and understandable, focus on Norwalk, it isn’t clear whether Mr. Chiaramonte could offer the same passion to his Darien constituents or has the same understanding of Darien’s challenges.

Mr. Duff continues to do a good job for Darien, and has an even-keeled and friendly personality that seems to bridge relationships across the aisle. As an incumbent, he has an understanding of the challenges faced by both communities. He offers an open-door policy to Darien residents when concerns arise and offers an active presence in the community.

We encourage Mr. Chiaramonte to continue his fight for fair reimbursement for Fairfield County school districts.

We endorse Mr. Duff for Darien’s 25th District state senator.

The campaign between Democrat Rob Werner and incumbent Republican Terrie Wood in the race for state rep in the 141st District has been fair and civilized. Neither has anything seriously critical to say about the other, and that’s probably because both of them seem to be genuinely fair and civilized people. In fact, both of them seem to have similar priorities, including fighting for the environment and for changes to state statute 8-30g.

Mr. Werner is a newcomer to Darien politics but has served on the public school’s PTO’s and has served in public service in Hartford as a previous Hartford resident.

Ms. Wood has been active in Darien public service and has been a Darien resident for over 30 years. She has fought for Darien constituents in Hartford to make changes to the affordable housing statute and has a good understanding of her contituents’ needs.

As of Wednesday, there were 2,429 Democrats, 6,277 Republicans, and 4,314 unaffiliated registered to vote.

With the majority of Darien’s state representation continuing to be from the Democrat side, it’s crucial to have Ms. Wood to be the voice of Darien’s largest percentage of registered voters in a state government that is run by a Democratic majority.

In addition, Ms. Wood’s socially-moderate, fiscally-conservative stance is one that easily can be embraced and be representative across party lines.

We hope Mr. Werner continues to pursue public service.

We endorse Ms. Wood for Darien’s state representative in the 141st district.

Speaking of the Board of Education, the town faces its first race for Board of Ed seats in many years.

It’s hard not to support experience, especially when one of those candidates is the town’s Board of Ed chairman.

Republicans Betsy Hagerty-Ross, chairman, and Sarah Schneider-Zuro have been effective board members. Hagerty-Ross has been on the board for years and worked under previous chairmen John Boulton and Kim Westcott, and has proven that the time spent has been invaluable — making her a fair and judicious leader, and a good liaison between her board and other town bodies.

Schneider-Zuro’s background as an educator and her board experience also makes her candidacy well worth supporting.

On the Democrat ticket, Katie Stein’s resume is almost as impressive as the outpouring of letters and community support she has received for her candidacy.

The final Democratic candidate, Patty McCormick, is enthusiastic and has interesting ideas for resolving Board of Ed issues like enrollment. However the lack of community (and Democratic) support for her candidacy make her seem more on the outskirts of both her ticket and the Board of Ed discussions.

For the three vacancies on the town’s Board of Ed, we endorse Ms. Hagerty-Ross, chairman, Ms. Schneider-Zuro, and Ms. Stein.



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