Editorial: The Darien Times' endorsements

There are few election cycles, regardless of who you support, that most of us will celebrate ending more than that of Election 2016.

The Presidential race has been reduced to the plot of a reality show, with behavior we wouldn’t tolerate from our children, let alone the leader of our country.

Both candidates give many voters serious pause as to their qualifications and more seriously, their honesty and integrity. It’s gotten to the point where going to the voting booth makes us reminiscent of Sophie’s choice — but the opposite. Take them both — and start over.

But we can’t start over. What we can do is endorse neither, and wish voters the best with their own soul-searching decisions come Nov. 8.

Though there are a few Darien-related contested elections, only two seem to be forefront on the minds of Darien, judging by letters to the editor.

State senate

During the summer, The Darien Times asked Sen. Bob Duff, who is seeking re-election for his seat that represents Darien and Norwalk, some questions (along with his opponent, Republican Greg Ehlers). One of the questions was whether serving as Democratic senate majority leader could pose a challenge to Duff to be able to simultaneously serve the needs of his Darien constituency.

Sen. Duff began his answer by saying:

“Are you suggesting the governor does not have the best interests of every Connecticut resident at heart?”

No, we aren’t suggesting it, we’re stating it as fact. Sen. Duff, many residents of Darien often think the governor does not have their best interest at heart, nor the interest of Fairfield County. And considering Gov. Malloy’s approval rating is one state above the lowest in the nation, Fairfield County is not alone. In fact, some report Democratic state officials have gone as far as to distance themselves and announce their positions are independent of Malloy’s during this political season.

Senate Bill 1, which was introduced as a means to reform the state’s tax system, including the establishment of a statewide mill rate on tax and a revenue sharing system of commercial property tax, as well as the cutting of the Education Cost Sharing grant in the spring when many school budgets were already finalized, and the raising of Metro-North fares are examples of some decisions there were not quite in the best interest of Darien.

Republican Greg Ehlers of Darien has run an aggressive campaign against Sen. Duff, and understandably so. Ehlers is angry. He’s angry with the state’s status quo and angry at the Connecticut future he sees for his children. He’s angry at the pennies on the dollar Darien gets back from its substantial investment in the state. He is not a politician, but a businessman who got tired of his own frustration with the state of the state, and decided to do something about it. He has no plans to be a career politician, but instead to be a voice and advocate for Darien  — something it sorely needs. He is not beholden to endorse and support Gov. Malloy and his goals and agenda — he is beholden to his own ideas for change and progress and to his constituency.

We endorse Mr. Ehlers for state senate.

State representative

State Rep. candidate Randy Klein is no stranger to Connecticut politics and is a familiar face in local and state Democratic circles. His wife served as first selectman of Darien for three successful terms, and during her tenure, Darien had the first Democratic majority on the Board of Selectmen in its history.

Now, Evonne Klein is running the state’s Department of Housing, appointed to the newly created position by Gov. Dan Malloy in 2013. Randy Klein has previously served as head of the town’s Democratic Town Committee and served on it.

Much of Klein’s and his supporters’ criticism of current State Rep. Terrie Wood is that she uses “excuses” when she can’t get things done. If you're a Republican and you’re continuously outvoted by a Democratic majority, that tends to be a fairly good excuse. A good analogy used was that’s like blaming a guy for losing when he’s playing basketball one against five.

Her criticism of her fellow Darien state officials, including Sen. Duff, is also bemoaned as a weakness. This is interpreted as not playing nice, not getting along, and criticizing Sen. Duff, as senate majority leader, isn’t going to do Darien any favors.

Who Klein is rarely critical of is Gov. Dan Malloy — in fact, he has consistently praised the governor, including in his Democrat Blue blog (now private), in op-eds and letters in this paper.

Terrie Wood does not have an easy job. She’s in the minority party in both Hartford and among her fellow Darien state officials. This often leaves her out of the loop in a variety of ways — but she will not let her voice, and in effect, Darien’s voice, be silenced — whether her fellow Democrats want to hear it or not.

The last thing Darien needs in Hartford is yet another Mal-loyalist who will support and endorse any legislation or policy that comes through the Democratic pipeline machine in Hartford. A representative needs to fight for Darien, not play partisan poker with those with “tenure” or long-term ties to the party in power.

There’s nothing wrong with being a supporter of the governor, but even a supporter has to agree the governor makes mistakes and is wrong sometimes. A state as diverse in Connecticut cannot have one-size-fits-all legislation — and that is why choosing our town’s representatives is so crucial. A representative of Darien must question the state’s leadership when necessary and fight for those whom they represent.

State Rep. Terrie Wood fights for Darien regardless of the odds — and even if it’s only a voice, it’s better than silence, sycophancy or resigned acceptance. She advocates for mental health and sensible fiscal policies. She advocates for seniors, the environment and small businesses.

Terrie Wood chooses fights based what’s fair and right for Darien. There’s no honor in only choosing the fights you can win. By doing so, you’ve already lost.

We endorse State Rep. Terrie Wood.