Vote for Connolly

for the 133rd

To the Editor:

I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that being a “student of politics” (though admittedly one with a degree in political science) did little to prepare me for the reality of being an elected official. If there’s anything that my tenure on the Board of Education has taught me, it’s that what’s really critical is listening to constituents, paying attention to detail, and having the energy to see things through.

Sally Connolly, running for state representative in the 133rd District, could teach a seminar on these points.

I met Sally during my own run for office, and was immediately impressed by her selflessness, sincerity and good humor. She has a fantastic way of connecting with people, and is always looking for ways she can help. This is coupled with a phenomenal level of energy that allows her to balance her commitment to family with a deep community involvement. On any given day, Sally might be running a PTA function, speaking before a town board, volunteering at church or playing in her family band.

At the same time, I’ve been impressed with her intelligence and level of policy engagement. The problems we’re facing at the state level — which are complex and have been gestating for a long time — call for someone who is going to confront them with a combination of deep analysis and common sense. Sally’s intellect and experience as an advocate for Fairfield’s schools will serve her very well in Hartford.

I urge you to vote for Sally Connolly on Nov. 6.

Jeff Peterson


Send Connolly

to state House

To the Editor:

I met the Connolly family through our mutual involvement in the Gaelic American Club and have recently gotten a chance to know them better through their children’s involvement in Clan na Gael Óg’s youth production of “The Miracle Worker,” which I directed. Tristan, Clara, Tiernan and Colman, ranging in age from 8 to 13, all participated in the play this summer, and their talent, maturity, openness and willingness to learn was on par with the older high school students they were acting alongside.

It’s clear from my interaction with the Connolly kids that Sally and Damien are raising respectful, kind, open-minded and intelligent children who are already following in their mother’s footsteps, engaging in our Fairfield community and working to make the world a better place.

I’ve also had a chance to get to know Sally Connolly both as a mom and as a candidate for state representative. Our 133rd District is unique in that we are independent-minded free-thinkers. With nearly half of our voters registered Unaffiliated, it’s clear that we need a candidate that isn’t married to a political party. We need a candidate that takes our individualistic nature to heart, and to the state House. Sally Connolly embodies the independent-minded spirit of our district.

What we don’t need is a rubber stamp for Dan Malloy and his ultra-partisan legislation that has tanked Connecticut’s economy. Cristin McCarthy Vahey has consistently voted party line — even when it meant voting for two of the highest tax increases in Connecticut’s history, a 10-year extension in billions of state worker/big government contracts, and a budget that brought Fairfield’s ECS (Educational Cost Sharing) funding from over $2 million to ZERO dollars. Fairfielders are tired of scrambling to compensate for our legislators’ wasteful spending.

It’s time to move away from politicians who don’t represent us fairly. It’s time for a state representative who listens to our concerns, and then actually acts on our behalf in the state House for Connecticut and Fairfield. It’s time to send Sally Connolly to Hartford to fight for our interests. Let’s “Rally for Sally” on Nov. 6.

Jillian Plomin


Supports McCabe

To the Editor:

With all that’s happening in Washington, it’s been hard as a woman to feel like my voice and experiences matter to our leaders. It’s increasingly evident that we must elect leaders who will truly listen to and care about those who don’t always have a seat at the table. It’s a powerful reminder that local elections matter; who we elect in our communities today could very well be the people who lead us in Washington tomorrow. That’s why I’m voting for Michelle McCabe to be the next state senator for Connecticut’s 28th District.

While I respect the work that incumbent Sen. Tony Hwang has done in the community, it’s clear to me that he’s not the best leader for our district. It’s admirable that he demonstrates his support of the community by attending events throughout the district, but we need a leader whose commitment to the community is reflected in their votes, and not in how many photo ops they can get in a week. For example, it is unconscionable to me that a legislator representing Sandy Hook would vote to allow guns in state parks, yet Sen. Hwang did just that. Sen. Hwang also voted against net neutrality, prioritizing huge telecom companies over small business owners who are integral to our local economy. It doesn’t matter how many events he attends or hands he shakes; ultimately it’s Sen. Hwang’s votes that speak volumes.

As a social worker, I know that the real work of helping communities isn’t always glamorous. Michelle McCabe knows this too, and she has spent her professional life doing the hard work of fighting for the needs of Connecticut’s families. She knows that serving the community means taking the time to actively listen to people, to understand their stories and to work collaboratively with them to solve problems. It’s what she’s done in her career, and what she’ll do as our next state senator. I know that, with Michelle representing us in Hartford, my voice and the voices of every person in the community will be heard and will matter.

Margaret Horton,

Representative, RTM District 9


Supports Vahey as ‘growth positive’

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of my friend and state Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey. Cristin began her elected service to the Fairfield community as a member of the RTM. I was elected to my first term on the RTM when Cristin became minority leader and we served together for about two years before she moved on to the selectman’s office and then to the state House. She has always worked with people from the perspective of “what is good for Fairfield?” I’ve never thought of her as taking a purely political partisan view of an issue.

In the state House, on the Transportation Committee, Cristin has focused on a system that “reduces traffic, facilitates economic growth, and improves the environment.” As a sitting member of the Town Planning and Zoning Commission, I too look at what options before the commission best help control traffic, spur growth and improve or augment the beauty that is Fairfield.

I am pleased that Cristin has focused some of her energy on road issues, neighborhood issues, pedestrian issues and bike issues. Roads and safety as well as improved bike access have been at the forefront of Cristin’s work.

She helped secure funding for road safety audits for various parts of Fairfield, which led to state grants for upgrades. Cristin also fights for improved Metro-North services which I, as a TPZ commissioner, see not only as critical to meeting current needs of Fairfield’s residents, but as a crucial way to draw new people, which can only help sustain our economy.

Cristin is a “growth positive” professional whom I heartily support in the November elections.

Chris McAleese


Driving, traffic big concerns

To the Editor:

Traffic and how drivers drive are a major concern of mine, whenever I’m at the wheel of my car.

Being someone who is cognizant of how others drive is a natural result of having been involved in a few accidents in my more than 50 years of driving. The one, big accident was the result of a poor decision that resulted in an inability to be fully aware of the road ahead when I started up after slowing down to view a property posted for sale.

Rather than pull over to a full stop, I drove closer to a curb for my guests to view the property before proceeding by pulling back into the lane, having failed to view a stop sign in what became a blind zone at a crossroad. I struck the rear end of a van, causing it to spin around and come to a stop beyond the road surface markings. It was a bad accident, no one was critically hurt, but hurt some were.

Altogether, I have had several fender benders, one for which I was responsible, having assumed something that was not, and the other two involved being rear-ended while at stop signs — no substantial damage to my vehicles.

Also of concern: I’m referring to current practice involving the four-way stop at the end of my street, Jennings Road and Holland Hill, where, for the most part, drivers approaching the perpendicular from the right at a crossing’s four-way stop will simply coast through with the foot on the brake and quickly move the foot to the accelerator if the driver feels in the clear.

That’s game of rolling the dice that drivers engage in, as there is no clear view of cross traffic, and only the hope that no one else who is stopped straight ahead or on the right will decide the intersection is his or hers to enter.

Happens all the time.

The other matter is the driver for whom the cellphone ring is a Pavlovian response, a life-or-death matter, be damned. These drivers will stare you to death while driving by you, rather than put down their device. And I? I should never stare back or stick my tongue out while pulling ahead, wishing that I’m in the clear to enter the four-way intersection.

Gerard Coulombe


McCabe will get things done

To the Editor:

I am writing this in support for Michelle Lapine McCabe, Democratic candidate for the state Senate.

It is 4 a.m. on a Friday and I am in the emergency room after my husband had a seizure, which later turned out to be caused by a brain tumor. In my worry and sadness, I call Michelle Lapine McCabe and she is there in no time with a tall cup of coffee and a toothbrush and toothpaste, because that was all I had asked of her. That was four months ago, and I remember Michelle sat with me all that day in the Neuro ICU as we watched my husband’s ventilator rise and fall.

I called Michelle because she is my friend, and that is what friends do. I can say that Tony Hwang is also my friend, and I know that had I called him instead, he would have also been right there with a tall cup of coffee, a toothbrush, and all the support I needed. In fact, when Tony found out what had happened to my husband, he came over to my house immediately to see that we were all hanging in there and had everything we needed.

Honestly, this campaign for state Senate is not about who is a better friend, this is about who is a better candidate for state Senate. This is about choosing a candidate that is looking out for me and my family as citizens of Connecticut.

I endorse Michelle Lapine McCabe for state Senate not because she is my friend. I endorse Michelle because she is not beholden to the interests of gun lobbyists, or the interests of a party that supports tax cuts for the top percent. Michelle wants to make sure that when it is time for me to retire, my teacher pension will be there. She will get to work for health care for all, so that anyone who has a medical emergency like the one my husband experienced can afford the care they need to get better.

I love where we live. I love our town and I especially love that friends like Michelle and Tony are always there when a friend is needed. Yet, at this moment, Connecticut doesn’t need a friend. Connecticut needs someone who will get things done. Let’s get to work!

Margaret Capron


McCabe will

get her vote

To the Editor:

Michelle Lapine McCabe will get my vote this November. I feel like Tony Hwang is more focused on getting re-elected than representing the electorate. He doesn’t lead policy in Hartford, he tags along to co-sponsor popular bills. He is a master of the photo-op, but mute when it comes to substance. He doesn’t speak up or share his perspective on any controversial topic.

When the government began detaining immigrant children, where was Tony’s voice? Did it really take two months and thousands of children to be ripped away from their parents before he knew where he stood on this issue? Everyone says Tony is nice, and I’m sure that’s true, but I want a senator who will staunchly defend the Affordable Care Act, not bring me soup. Where is Tony’s opinion? Instead of talking about issues with far- reaching implications, Tony celebrates common, safe, popular topics. I want someone talking to me about how they will address difficult and divisive issues.

Where does Tony stand on the Kavanaugh nomination? I don’t know; he hasn’t said anything. I want a representative in Hartford who will speak up, be actively involved, and isn’t afraid to share their perspective. Michelle Lapine McCabe is that person. She will ensure we have sensible gun laws, support a woman’s right to choose, find alternate ways to bring in jobs, and focus on transforming our transportation system. You will always know where Michelle stands. She will listen to you and is open to changing her mind, even if it means splitting from party lines. Tony voted to allow guns in state parks.

He voted for unlimited ammunition permits and he voted to grandfather bump stocks in Connecticut. Conversely, Michelle has earned the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction. Tony Hwang did not earn this distinction. She has also been endorsed by: the NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC, the CT Working Families Party, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, the Sierra Club, the Connecticut AFL-CIO and the Center for Freethought Equality.

Our town deserves more than what Tony Hwang can deliver. I want a senator who will drive change, initiate new economic development, and introduce coalition building across parties.

Michelle Lapine McCabe is that person.

Betsy Elrick


Re-elect Hwang to state Senate

To the Editor:

I am not the typical concerned citizen that writes letters to the editor of newspapers. In fact, I try my best to be apolitical in all that I do. Frankly, after all that is going on in our state and in our country, I feel compelled to make my voice and opinion known in the hope that some of this truly “matters” to your readers and most importantly to our country.

I have grown incredibly tired of the rhetoric and rancor in politics. It appears that they spend so much of their time catering to their individual agendas rather than being the true representatives serving the needs of the often touted “American People.” I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of seven children. My mom took care of all of us while my dad ... spent 20 years serving the city of New York in the often maligned NYC Police Department.

I learned so much about the difference between “talk” and “real action.” There is no confusion in my mind about the difference between these two principles. Frankly with all of the problems in our state and country ... we need courageous leaders who connect with the communities that they serve and have the “chops” to actually take on the reticent and politically obsessed to change things for the better. What has occurred here in Connecticut has been absolutely horrendous. We are the laughing stock of the country. Residents are leaving, business is leaving. Crime is growing ... and we have “representatives” who seem to be more concerned with their “Washington persona” than getting stuff done here. Like many of my friends and business colleagues, we are done. Over it. Not interested in listening to any more “bologna.”

Tony Hwang is my pick for state Senator. He is one of us. He works full time as a state senator and he is passionate about truly representing the people of our area. Tony is always present at town events,.truly working with all of us all the time to make things better. Tony is a real person with a real desire and a demonstrated track record in serving. Tony understands the needs of small businesses and isn’t afraid to listen to all of us and take the action required of a real leader of this community. He is married with two children and truly understands the plight of families in Connecticut. He is a force for lower taxes, reduction of the state regulations that are crippling Connecticut. Tony has eliminated wasteful government spending, ensure safety in our schools, invested in quality education and fought to improve transportation systems.

What I like most about Tony is that he is real, authentic and present, not some polished-up caricature of a representative and/or candidate. I like that he has a bit of “Brooklyn” — no nonsense. Like all of us Tony is driven by an insatiable passion to change things for the better in our state and country. I am going to urge all of my friends and business colleagues in Fairfield and Westport to vote this November and retain a true representative of the people of our state — Tony Hwang.

Al DiGuido


Hunters should not worry

about CWD

To the Editor:

As hunters start sighting in for deer season, there’s a new concern in the woods: chronic wasting disease. While CWD has never been detected in New England, it was recently found for the first time in Quebec.

Should hunters be concerned? Let’s look at what we know — and don’t — about CWD.

CWD was first discovered at a university research lab in Colorado 50 years ago. In free-roaming deer, it was first detected in the 1980s, also in Colorado. Since then, the disease has slowly spread around the country from Texas to North Dakota and east to Pennsylvania. It affects deer, elk and moose.

The first common fear among hunters is that CWD will affect them. However, there is not a single case of CWD affecting a human. While CWD is related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (which does affect people), these kinds of ailments tend to not cross the species barrier. The former does not affect people, just like the latter does not affect deer.

Because state agencies have typically tested very few harvested deer for CWD—even in states where the disease has been previously detected—it’s very likely that humans have been eating CWD-positive deer for decades. Yet there’s no evidence that it has ever affected anyone.

A second common concern is that CWD will wipe out deer populations. This hasn’t happened, either.

CWD has been detected in Colorado for three decades and in Wisconsin for close to 20 years. Yet hunting opportunities are still strong in both states. When researchers in those states examined whether CWD had an effect on deer populations and mortality, they found it did not.

Why? CWD has a long incubation period — up to two years. Deer that get CWD are more likely to die of something else, such as predators, starvation or vehicle strike.

Lastly, there is confusion about how CWD spreads. It is often a mystery. For example, no one is sure (yet) where it came from in Quebec. And CWD was detected in New York in 2005 in one isolated case, but further testing of local deer has not found it again.

CWD is believed to occur spontaneously, which may explain isolated cases, such as Quebec or a previous finding of the disease in reindeer in Norway.

CWD can also be spread inadvertently through hunters moving carcasses. An official with the U.S. Geological Survey has identified carcass movement as a key threat to accidentally spreading CWD. In the New York case, it may have been accidentally spread through a taxidermist. A recent case in Minnesota was linked back to the taxidermy work done by the deer farmer.

Sometimes deer farms, which raise animals for meat and velvet, are blamed for CWD because they move animals between farms and breeding facilities in different states. But farms are actually low-risk due to the stringent USDA rules they are required to follow in order to ship interstate.

Deer farms, which are permitted in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and other facilities that move deer across state lines, must be certified under a federal CWD monitoring program. Obtaining certification requires that a farm test all of its eligible animals for CWD for at least five years, with zero positive test results. Farms are constantly testing for CWD and should be seen as the “canary in the coal mine” for an area, but not necessarily the source.

Because CWD is spread by free-ranging animals, there’s little anyone can do to stop its slow spread. But sportsmen should support sensible policies.

States should strictly enforce bans on importing carcasses from CWD-positive areas. State agencies should conduct more testing of hunter harvests for CWD, just to be sure. And states should help fund scientific research to help find solutions to CWD. Recent research has discovered new genetic markers that appear to be more resistant to CWD than previously known to exist, but more funding is needed.

Hunters should also understand that much of the concern about CWD is driven by media coverage. Other deer diseases, such as bluetongue, act quickly and can in fact drastically kill off deer in an area — yet get relatively little media attention.

Hunting is a tradition that provides good bonding experiences for friends and family. Sportsmen shouldn’t let the experience be diminished by unfounded worries.

Charly Seale

Chairman, Media Review Committee

American Cervid Alliance

Time to get serious about state challenges

To the editor:

I’m running for state treasurer for one reason — to help restore the financial stability of the state of Connecticut. It’s been an honor to travel Connecticut and listen to voters about their concerns regarding the decades of fiscal mismanagement.

The treasurer, as Connecticut’s chief financial officer, is the “sole fiduciary” of a diverse $42.3 billion portfolio of state funds. This is a very serious responsibility that demands sophisticated knowledge of the financial markets, training and education. I have held a similar executive level role, chief investment officer, for a decade during my 35-year career. The largest portion of the portfolio is the state pension funds that provide for the retirement security of teachers, public safety workers and state employees.

I believe that the investment return on Connecticut’s pension assets can improve from their current levels. Connecticut’s performance has ranked substantially below the median performance of other large public pension plans. Indeed, the mediocre performance compounded over decades has contributed to the growing unfunded liability.

Additionally, the treasurer holds important seats on over 20 boards and commissions, including the State Bond Commission. Decades of irresponsible bonding have damaged Connecticut’s credit rating. This means money is more expensive to borrow and the higher cost is passed down to every taxpayer. I will demand responsible bonding policies, regardless of which party controls the governor’s mansion or the Legislature. I have been vocal on this issue throughout my campaign, whereas my opponent has been virtually silent.

It’s time to get serious about the challenges that face Connecticut. I understand the duties of the office of treasurer; I have the experience, competence and vision to serve, and I ask for your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Thad Gray

Candidate for state treasurer