Op-Ed: Leadership in a Storm

As we slowly emerge from the darkness caused by the recent power outages, the people of Easton, Redding and Weston find themselves asking — where was the needed leadership before, during and after the storm?  Indeed, rather than focusing on preparation, our state and local officials simply trusted United Illuminating and Eversource to manage the response … a decision that is now hurting us all.

As the storm worked its way north, our citizens heard nothing concerning preparations, priorities or potential shelters.  For more than 24 hours after the storm hit, we sat in darkness with neither a repair truck in sight nor a message from our state and local officials. Only after another dark day did we begin hearing from local officials about hurried plans for shelters and water.  The messages that trickled in contained a lot of blame and finger pointing, but little information about repair crews, road closures or timing.

During my six years in office, state and local officials met with UI and Eversource well before an expected storm to discuss emergency response plans, available crew numbers, staging areas, emergency power and charging stations, and estimated response times.  During and after the storm we communicated with designated liaisons from both utilities to address what was happening on the ground, and to disseminate accurate and timely information to our constituents.

Perhaps this type of leadership has been lost as of recent.  We need a return of common sense leadership focused on our towns and our citizens, not activists and partisans focused only on national politics.

Former State Rep. John Shaban is running for re-election to the 135th General Assembly District seat he held for three terms from 2011 to 2017.  Shaban did not run for a fourth term, opting instead to run for U.S. Congress against Jim Himes.  The 135th District includes Easton, Redding and Weston.

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