Two years ago, as the first Democratic first selectman in almost 40 years, I found a town government dominated by Republicans from the offices of treasurer and clerk to the majority of boards and commissions. Because I made the decision to work with them instead of playing political games, we have achieved a great deal.
One of my highest priorities has been to create the most open government Easton has ever had. Especially as national politics have become so divisive, I have tried to find ways to share information — through my weekly email and brown bag lunches —and to give residents more opportunity to express their opinions at public meetings. Unity starts with giving everyone a voice.
It’s thus ironic that I’ve spent a portion of my term of office and certainly much of the past week fighting coordinated misinformation campaigns. There is a small, but extremely dedicated group in Easton who rely on misinformation in hopes of staying relevant. Earlier this year, these groups focused their misinformation campaign on our hardworking, bipartisan school board, our teachers and administrators.
Run by a handful of people who either don’t live in Easton or, for the most part, don’t even have kids in school here, these groups landed us in the national news with completely false charges that critical race theory is taught in our schools. It is not. At the time I urged everyone in Easton to focus on facts for the good of our community — our bipartisan board, our teachers, and our families. Deliberate misinformation campaigns can be costly, and can damage not just our schools, but the town’s reputation and the investment we all have in our homes.
This week Easton residents found more coordinated misinformation from these groups in our mailboxes. These pamphlets are completely based on misinformation about me, my well-known positions on public policy, and even on organizations that do a lot of good in this community like the Aspetuck Land Trust. I encourage anyone tempted to believe the arguments in these flyers to visit the town website to check the facts or to call me directly to get the facts.
My positions are clear and have not changed. I support policies that benefit seniors — supporting tax relief and the Senior Center. I am a strong supporter of funding the excellent schools for which our community is known. I have worked to ensure that Easton’s precious open spaces and farms be protected from development.
I have worked to identify funding for a new EMS building, and to support the Park and Rec Department from attempts to eliminate their budget because so many Easton families rely on them for childcare through Extended Day and summer camps, and so many of us benefit from the maintenance of sports fields, playgrounds, tennis courts and trails. I’m proud we raised the Pride flag for the first time in town and of our new Ethics and Land Use Ordinances, which were bipartisan efforts from the start.
I hope for your support on Nov. 2 to continue as your first selectman.