This seems to be a quieter election year — certainly compared with last year, as is always the case with the activity surrounding a presidential election.
But this one seems even quieter than your average Darien election.
What does that seem to measure? Are people politicked-out after last year’s election? Or are they tired of the ceaseless cacophony brought to us daily on the national political scene?
Regardless, it is quiet — but if last year’s election cycle taught us anything, it is that apathy is a vote by its own nature, and if you want a say in how things are going to go in Darien’s future, you need to vote.
Most elections this year are not contested, which also might explain the quiet. However, Darien’s first selectman seat is challenged by a Democrat for the first time since 2011.
Democrat Rob Richards was new to the political scene when he ran for the Board of Selectmen in 2015. That newness led to him getting himself, by his own actions, in the middle of quite a few long-time Darien discussions, specifically field lights and paramedics.
Part of what is troubling on his part is his supporters often appear to credit him solely with the resolution of these discussions. Such a foregone conclusion discredits the volunteers, hours, years and in some cases, decades, that have come before these moments.
Town officials should work together and show one another respect. Part of that respect is keeping fellow board members in the loop, obtaining community feedback on various town issues and sharing that feedback immediately, deferring to various town boards and their respective purviews, and lastly, working as a team. There are several cases over the last year that various aspects of that respect were broken. Whether that is attributable to optimism, confidence, or political naivete, it is still troubling.
Ms. Stevenson has consistently run Darien efficiently for the last six years, and toiled tirelessly in her first two as a selectman. Whether it was delivering food to overworked Public Works plow staff, or fighting to get Darien’s needs and voice heard in Hartford, or carefully working to negotiate crucial land purchases over the last year to preserve open space for Darien for years to come, she makes it clear she has one priority — Darien’s residents.
All of them.
Catering to a vocal minority to create a “balanced” discussion is sometimes an easier choice than coming to the table to find real solutions for the majority. And it is Ms. Stevenson who has been at the table consistently working towards solutions. Sometimes that means making decisions that don’t make every single resident in every single neighborhood happy, but that is part of the job.
Mr. Richards has good intentions, but he is not ready to lead the town until he learns to communicate his actions through his board and cooperate with other town officials before taking credit.
Darien needs experienced leadership to navigate it through these crucial times state and town-wise ahead, instead of focusing obtaining pats on the back for the past.
We endorse Ms. Stevenson for first selectman.