Editorial: As Darien's political season commences, set the civility bar now
It may be mid-summer but many of Darien’s political minds are looking toward the fall at the moment.
Both Darien Republicans and Democrats held caucuses for the upcoming election in November this week — Republicans on Tuesday and Democrats on Wednesday..
This is a first selectman election year, and current First Selectman Jayme Stevenson has said she will seek her fourth term as the town leader. Board of Finance Chairman Jon Zagrodzky and Planning & Zoning Chairman John Sini will also seek re-election this year. All three, along with the rest of the incumbents, save one, were endorsed by the Republican Town Committee in the spring as confirmed by Chairman Brent Hayes. Current Board of Ed Chairman Michael Harman was the only incumbent not endorsed.
The Democratic Town Committee caucus was held after presstime on Wednesday night.
Despite several inquires, DTC Chairman David Bayne said the party would release no information on their ticket until the caucus.
The Democrats have not had a first selectman candidate since the 2011 election, when John Lundeen was put forward. He lost to Ms. Stevenson but gained a seat on the board.
In keeping with Mr. Bayne’s position, Democrat Selectmen Rob Richards and Marc Thorne would not confirm as of press time whether they would be seeking re-election. On Wednesday night, Dems endorsed Mr. Richards for first selectman, Mr. Thorne for another term, ad Pam Sparkman for selectman.
The beginning of the political season is an important time to set the tone of how we conduct our community elections.
In the past, some of the dialogue and debate has become decidedly uncivil. In the end, most of those who step forward to take these town positions are sacrificing their limited spare time they have to make Darien a better place.
Between candidates and candidate supporters, as well as the general community, we can try to strive to raise the bar of civility that much of national politics seems to have lost.
Active and enthusiastic elections with competitive candidates who focus on the issues is a great thing for Darien —and for democracy.