Support for reusable bag ordinance

To the Editor:

Over 50 years ago, Joy Shaw faced down a backhoe sent to destroy the Mill River wetlands. Her act of protest worked, and the wetlands were saved, but Joy didn’t want to stand in front of heavy equipment forever. Instead, she founded the Mill River Wetland Committee, Inc. (MRWC).

MRWC has a simple mission: to educate the community about the value of wetlands, to advocate for their continued protection, and to engage all people in the fight to protect our environment. For over 50 years, MRWC’s River-Lab Program has taught generations of students and parents to value the watersheds that support our lives.

Single-use plastic bags harm our watersheds specifically, and our environment as a whole. In line with MRWC’s mission, we support the proposed ordinance that promotes the use of reusable bags. The Fairfield residents we deal with each year (hundreds of parents and thousands of school-aged children) always ask what more they can do to protect our watershed and other precious natural resources. This ordinance is exactly what they are asking for!

We implore the Fairfield RTM to approve this ordinance. Fairfield is a leader on environmental issues, as demonstrated most recently by Fairfield’s statewide recognition by Sustainable CT. Let’s pass this ordinance and continue to lead CT in our sustainability efforts!

Mill River Wetland Committee Board of Directors

Lynn Shavinsky, President

Make voting more accessible

To the Editor:

Voting is one of our most important rights and responsibilities, and it’s time to make voting more accessible and convenient for all state residents.

Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have some type of early voting. Connecticut’s Constitution has some of the strictest voting rules and it can be difficult for some of our residents to make it to the polls on election day. The majority of Republican and Democrat voters across the nation support early voting, so why are we lagging behind?

Early voting in major elections will reduce the chaos and wait times that residents experience due to long lines, finding a parking spot, arranging a ride to the polls, health issues, child care, bad weather, and so on. It would also help to improve voter turnout in municipal elections.

Last election, people were waiting in the poring rain for up to four hours just to vote at some locations, and people got turned away when they joined the line too late. No one who is a registered voter should ever be turned away from voting due to staffing issues! Especially considering we saw the largest voter turn out for a gubernatorial election in Connecticut in a generation.

Changes to our voting rules will require a Constitutional amendment that will be put to a public vote. It's time for the General Assembly and Governor to sponsor, pass, and sign bills into law that will catch us up with the rest of the country and make voting more accessible and convenient.

Our Secretary of State Denise Merrill said we need to change our voting system into something that’s "much more votercentric than it is today". I couldn't agree with her more.

You can find your State Representatives here:

Leanne Harpin