Tom McCarthy and Ray Neuberger, Republican members of Fairfield’s Representative Town Meeting, recently called out state Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, D-133, for a committee vote on education at the state level and questioned her commitment to our community. This is absurd.

I would hope that by now our elected town officials are aware of exactly how government works. A committee vote is simply a first step in the process, frequently made to keep things moving and get an action to the floor. It can be made to ensure against larger reductions or to allow more time to build support in a larger caucus. That’s how it works in Fairfield — and in Hartford, too. There are many moving pieces with the proposed state budget, conversations still taking place, negotiations being made. Rep. McCarthy Vahey’s vote was clearly a means to facilitate and move the discussion forward.

Rep. McCarthy Vahey has a record of over 10 years as a highly visible, passionate and vocal advocate for what’s best for Fairfield. As a former member of the RTM and the Board of Selectmen — and now as a state representative — she is widely known for building bipartisan consensus and achieving results that have benefited our town. Most recently, she was instrumental in widening the eligibility for towns to join the state health plan (Partnership 2.0) which, in turn enabled Fairfield’s Board of Ed to save $3.5 million this year alone and reinstitute much-needed instructional program improvements (e.g., world language) and facilities maintenance and technology. It’s worth noting that Rep. McCarthy Vahey alone of Fairfield’s three state representatives supported this bill.

I would suggest we look at the records of those who have expressed so-called concerns about Rep. McCarthy Vahey and her commitment to education. As Mr. Neuberger says in his letter, “check the minutes and transcripts … the facts don’t lie.” No, they certainly don’t. What you’ll find is many past and current Republicans on the BOS, BOF and RTM who apparently weren’t so “concerned” about the interests of this community when they voted to cut Fairfield’s education budget year after year.

Julie Gottlieb

Deputy minority leader

Representative Town Meeting