You're probably as sick of our political system as I am, especially with the frustrating stand-off that took place in Washington, D.C.
While they continue to battle it out in the Beltway, you've got important business to attend to right here at home. In a little more than two weeks, we go to the polls here in Fairfield to vote in the municipal election.
Now some of you might be asking, "there's an election?" Yes, fellow Fairfielders, there is, on Tuesday, Nov. 5 -- and one that you just might think is unimportant and doesn't require your attention.
But you'd be wrong.
Granted, we are not casting ballots for the presidency (that's in 2016) or the gubernatorial office (2014) or first selectman (2015) -- all of which bring good-sized turnouts at the polls.
We are in what might be called an "off-term election."
I'd be the first one to admit that I've never quite understood what a constable does, but as for the others, they are the nitty-gritty of our local government. The decision makers.
The first selectman's office may garner all of the attention at election time (and throughout the term, for that matter) but it's the aforementioned boards and commissions and RTM that truly make the hard decisions and keep our town going.
For those of you who don't have a clue about the duties of those volunteer jobs (yes, volunteer), I suggest you consult the town charter, which can be found and read at www.fairfieldct.org . Many of them wield a lot of power.
The Board of Finance, for instance, handles the majority of the town's financial decisions. And then there's the Board of Education, which charts the course for the Fairfield public school system. The TPZ gets right into our residential and commercial neighborhoods and decides what goes where based on a large set of regulations.
Then there's the RTM, which the charter describes as having "all legislative power of the town, including the power to enact ordinances." That's pretty heavy stuff. In fact, the section on the RTM in the charter comes before any of the other boards, commission and offices, even first selectman.
I would venture to guess that most of us don't even know who are elected RTM members are or event what district we live in. That question, too, can be answered by visiting the town's website, where you will find a map and a list of the current RTM members in each district.
As for who is running for what in November, go to the individual parties' websites, where you will find lists of the candidates for each slot. For the Democrats, it's fairfielddemocrats.org, and for the Republicans, fairfieldrtc.com. Take a moment to familiarize yourselves with the candidates' names and views. Call them, too, if you have questions about where they stand on any issue.
If you aren't registered to vote (and I can't imagine why you wouldn't be), follow the link on the town's website for the registrars of voters' office, which also can be visited in person at Old Town Hall. The registrars will conduct a special voter registration session on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in their office. And absentee ballots are available at the town clerk's office, also in Old Town Hall, for those people who can't go to the polls on Nov. 5.
Finally, vote. Maybe Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best in October 1944, "The continuing health and vigor of our democratic system depends upon the public spirit and devotion of its citizens which find expression in the ballot box. Every man and every woman in this nation, regardless of party, who have the right to register and to vote, and the opportunity to register and to vote, have also the sacred obligation to register and to vote. For the free and secret ballot is the real keystone of our American constitutional system."
Patricia A. Hines is a Fairfield writer, and her "Hines Sight" appears every other Friday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She also can be followed @patricia_hines on Twitter.