Op/ed: Uncontested elections —an opportunity for all candidates to be heard
To the Editor:
The media is fixated on the 2020 election, but it is important to remember that 2019 is a municipal election year. On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5 we have the opportunity to vote for the individuals running for the following offices:
First Selectman (which is contested), Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Board of Education, Planning and Zoning Commission, among other positions. All but one of these positions is uncontested, which means that all but one of the candidates on the November ballot will automatically serve on our town boards and commissions. They will make the decisions that impact town projects, the town budget, our schools and more.
Because they will represent us and set the course for our town for years to come, contested and especially uncontested candidates have the responsibility to give voters the opportunity to get to know them.
It’s important for candidates to tell voters:
· why they are running,
· what they see as major opportunities for Darien and how they will move those issues forward, and
· what they consider the major challenges facing the town and how they will address them.
The way a candidate campaigns often demonstrates the type of elected official they will be.
On Election Day voters have the responsibility to vote and to vote for those candidates who have the ideas that best represent them. So, before Election Day, tune in, and get to know the candidates. If a candidate calls, answer the phone and have a conversation with them about their ideas. If you see them at a coffee shop ask them a question about a town issue, their vision for Darien, or anything else you would like to know. Most importantly, tell them what you think; their ability to listen to you will speak volumes about their governing style.
Municipal elections do not get as much attention as a presidential or a gubernatorial election, but they matter. In fact, some may argue they matter more, because the people we elect locally are making decisions about what happens right here at home.
And even in this mostly uncontested election, voters still have the opportunity to let our voices be heard. Those we elect will be our voice in the years to come.
The writer was a three-term first selectman of Darien from 2003 to 2009 and served as the state housing commissioner.