Greenwich’s choices

With all the chaos and tragedy of Hurricane Sandy, it’s easy to forget that we have a vital election coming up on Tuesday.

Not only will residents be able to make their voices heard on the presidency and the Congress, but there are also four state races that directly impact our town. Greenwich has the benefit of having eight terrific candidates running for state office. Out of all four races, there’s not a lemon candidate in the bunch and that benefits all of us.

The four Republicans, three incumbents and one first time candidate, all have sterling resumes and have been major figures in the community. Each of them has made a positive impact in Greenwich both in government service and to the town’s resident by simply giving of themselves. And while no one has to tell town Democrats the long odds they face when they run for office in Greenwich, it’s a testament to the people in the party’s willingness to serve that they were able to recruit four excellent candidates, each of whom would make an excellent member of the legislature if elected.

With so many negative races in the state and in the nation, it’s refreshing to see Greenwich’s races have been based on who will do the most for the town without the mud slinging and name calling.

In the 149th District, the choice is clear. For the past 12 years we have truly been blessed to have someone like Livvy Floren representing us. Ms. Floren is always a friendly face to see at local events and also a responsive representative who listens to the problems of her constituents and then acts to help them.

Not only has she shown tremendous kindness and dedication to Greenwich’s residents, she has also shown she can get things done in Hartford. Republicans may dominate Greenwich, but in Hartford Democrats rule the roost and Ms. Floren has shown an eagerness to work with her Democratic colleagues and Gov. Dannel Malloy. That means Greenwich’s priorities are being heard. She’s a reliable Republican vote in a Republican town, but she has shown she has the commitment of a real legislator. We disagree strongly with her desire to see a voter ID program installed in Connecticut since that will only lead to disenfranchisement of voters, but she has been an outstanding member of the General Assembly and deserves another term.

Democratic challenger John Blankley is an excellent candidate in his own right. He has run two difficult races the past two years because he truly believes he can make a difference if elected. He has good ideas, passion for service and energy for the job. He would make a fine state representative, but the truth is we already have a fine state representative in Ms. Floren and there’s no need for a change.

But this Greenwich delegation also needs Democrats who can speak in the majority. That’s where the priorities for the state are set and that’s why we need Stephanie Paulmeno to represent the 150th District. Ms. Paulmeno comes in with a unique résumé and it’s one that can be a real asset in Hartford. A registered nurse with multiple degrees in health, Ms. Paulmeno has already demonstrated her strong ability and dedication to this town through her work at The Nathaniel Witherell, Town Hall and so many other boards and commissions that it would take too long to list them all.

The magnitude of the disaster we have faced this week from the storm shows why we need someone like Ms. Paulmeno. Her expertise in issues of public health will be invaluable as we continue to face crises such as this. For years she has shown in town that it doesn’t matter what political party you are in, she will work with you to create solutions to problems. She is tireless on the issues and has shown she can handle representing the 150th District.

So many of us know the Republican candidate in this race. For years Steve Walko has been our go to budget guy, first as a member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation, then chairman of its budget committee and finally as chairman of the entire finance board. He’s provided steady leadership during extremely challenging times on the board and for a first time candidate he’s done well for himself on the campaign trail. But his resume is entirely focused on the financial side of issues and, while no one doubts that the issue of our budget deficit and increasing jobs in this state are major challenges, we have a lot of finance guys in Hartford. Ms. Paulmeno brings a unique perspective and unflagging energy to this job and we hope that the voters look beyond party affiliation to send her to Hartford.

In the 151st, Greenwich faces a choice between two qualified candidates who have spent years volunteering with our youth and meeting the complicated needs of diverse residents. But there should be no doubt that state Rep. Fred Camillo is the right man to continue representing us. Like Ms. Floren he has shown a strong commitment to working with Democrats to accomplish real legislation that will benefit our town. He does this while again staying true to the Republican principles that he shares with the majority in this town.

He is not an ideologue, though. Efforts to paint him as such are part and parcel of a political campaign and views should be discussed openly, but he is no Tea Partier. He is committed to bipartisanship in Hartford and has been a friend to Greenwich residents, both the two- and four-legged kind. Mr. Camillo has brought good humor, honor and hard work to Hartford. We can even forgive him for being a Yankees fan. He remains a true citizen of Greenwich and represents not just his district but all of us extremely well. No one can ever doubt his commitment to this town. He’s not just about carrying the Republican party’s banner in Hartford. He’s about getting things done for all of us.

To really get the maximum good for this town out of this delegation, we feel voters should also elect Daniel Dauplaise to the state Senate. Mr. Dauplaise really showed an impressive array of ideas during the debates between him and state Sen. L. Scott Frantz. Mr. Frantz has made some remarks lately that have left us scratching our heads, but we do not doubt his compassion or his commitment to giving back to others. We just think the 36th District’s interests will be better served with Mr. Dauplaise in the majority.

Being in the state Senate has to be about more than opposing tax hikes. With his claims to be a conservative Democrat, Mr. Dauplaise will fight for what Greenwich wants and do so in partnership with the governor and the Democratic majority. Greenwich needs a voice like his, one that will fight for needed improvements in education and transportation while also making sure our taxes remain reasonable.

Mr. Frantz has served us well, but we feel Mr. Dauplaise offers a chance for Greenwich’s priorities to be better heard. Too often we hear of Mr. Frantz’s frustration in being able to fight for what the town wants with Democrats in the majority and that’s something Mr. Dauplaise would be able to do.

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