Letter: GOP chief saddened by 'nasty' attack
Published 10:21 am, Friday, August 2, 2013
As the Republican Town Committee chairman, I was saddened to read the letter written by my Democratic counterpart, Ellery Plotkin, demeaningly and angrily lashing out at Republican RTM members. The nasty tone of his letter is shameful and leads few to wonder why we have such gridlock in our government when the tone set by our leaders is so negative. With the failure of the RTM to redistrict, we as party leaders should be working to bring people together to forge a compromise and not facilitating a further divide.
It was this partisan nonsense that led to gridlock on the RTM redistricting committee in the first place. The theme of what is best for my party seems to be shadowing what is best for our town.
The Republican RTM members wanted eight RTM districts, and Democrats wanted to stay with 10. Having served on and recruited candidates for the RTM, I personally believe that a smaller body would be more productive, save taxpayer money by having fewer polling places and would be easier to recruit qualified and willing candidates for RTM. On the later point, just look at this year. I could only find 46 candidates to run for RTM, and the Democrats could only find 45. Why not go to 40 members?
RTM Moderator Jeff Steele went through great lengths to research alternatives the RTM could take to reach a compromise before the June 1 deadline. There would be no compromise. As a result, Moderator Steele asked that the Republicans and Democrats bring forth both of their proposed redistricting plans. Moderator Steele believed that if both plans were brought forth they could be discussed, debated, amended and a final compromise could be hashed out on the floor of the RTM by all the elected members. This plan allowed both sides a reasonable opportunity to present their cases, and all 50 RTM members would have a say in the ultimate plan. However, the Democrats refused to put forth their plan and the only plan to make it to the floor was the Republican plan.
Moderator Steele did everything he could to try to put the town's redistricting into compliance. Unfortunately, we are now completely out of with the state requirements; some districts have more than a 10 percent deviation between parties and 21 split districts. The actions taken by Moderator Steele were far from sinister.
At the end of the day, there are more than 10,000 Republicans and more than 10,000 Democrats in town -- about 400 more Republicans than Democrats. The 15,000 unafilliated voters outnumber both parties. With the state requirement that there be no more than a 10 percent deviation between party affiliations in any district, gerrymandering is no longer an issue.
We need our leadership to rise above the fray and stop all this nonsense and name calling. I have reached out to Chairman Plotkin to set a plan for compromise. We need to open lines of communication and get this redistricting done.
James Millinigton, chairman
Republican Town Committee