If Not Now... When?
Newtown, like any town, has its fair share of complainers, right?
You hear them at shop counters, on the sidelines, sitting with you in the waiting room while your car is being fixed or your kid is with the dentist. They are in your book group, members of your gym, or they live next door.
But if you are listening, while their remarks may be less than savory — even unwanted — they often do make a good point, maybe even backed by some thoughtful insight.
We also know countless Newtown residents dedicated to their families, neighborhoods, and community. You see them sorting at the food pantry, doing chores for those who cannot, donning gloves and boots to erase somebody else’s litter from our trails and waterways, and volunteering in our schools, firehouses, and with the ambulance corps.
To all the complainers and energized community builders, we need you now more than ever. Newtown’s major political parties will be holding caucuses between July 20 and 27 to tender candidates for upcoming local elections. Barring any local primaries — which almost never happen — these candidates will likely be the ones on Newtown’s ballot November 2.
So if one of these organizations is a logical avenue for you, better get cracking and contact your local Democratic or Republican Town Committee about serving. (newtownctdemocrats.org or sites.google.com/view/newtown-republicans)
If you have mulled local political service but eschew major party involvement, Newtown is home to not one, but two independent political party leaders who can brief you on options under their banner.
While challenged in recent years to muster winning results at the polls, the Independent Party of Connecticut — now affiliating itself with The Alliance Party — counts its former chair and candidate Bruce Walczak among your neighbors. And Monte Frank, a Sandy Hook attorney and leader of the Team 26 cycling tribute to our 12/14 victims, is Connecticut’s point person for the nonpartisan Serve America Movement (SAM), which actually rejects rigid ideology and predetermined policy positions. Or you can look up residents active with the Connecticut Working Families Party, which often cross-endorses candidates on Newtown ballots.
Still believe you have challenges to overcome in order to pursue public office?
Last week, the governor signed a bill to promote greater representation by women in elected and appointed government leadership by addressing the barrier of childcare expenses when a candidate is participating in Connecticut’s citizens election program. It also codified a statutory requirement for appointing authorities to consider recommendations from organizations promoting gender and racial diversity on behalf of constituents seeking to serve on boards and commissions.
Speaking of appointments, if you lack the constitution, time, or stamina for political campaigning, nearly every week, positions on Newtown’s appointed boards sit unfilled.
Ultimately, perhaps the best reason for you to step up and into voluntary political service right now is because it provides the opportunity to do the most good where it most matters: in your family, neighborhood, and community.
So how about it, Newtown. If not now... when?