Saturday, October 24, 2009

Going to the Candidates Debate ...

After attending a candidates forum in town this week I posted this as my Facebook status: "If I had a blog I'd have stuff to write about today. But probably not tomorrow." My terribly insane but lovable friend Bill took it upon himself to create for me this here blog. If he brought me a plateful of chocolate-chip cookies I'd feel compelled to eat them. So I'm really only going along with this to be nice.

Not really. Because I'm working in an industry with a questionable future (print media) I kind of have to be in the loop regarding new ways of communicating.

Here's the deal with the candidates' forum and why it made me want to create a blog. My good friend Amy Suffredini is running for Farmington Town Council Chairperson. Because the town council is presently made up of seven middle-aged white guys, it seems like a good time for a bit of change.

She's been working incredibly hard learning about the town's major issues and listening to what residents say their concerns are for the town. She's new to town and new to politics. She's an attorney and former NYC prosecutor.

Before the forum, I thought things were getting a little ugly. "Whisper campaigns" against Amy swirled around town. This one is my particular favorite: "Psst. Amy is pulling her kids out of our public schools and enrolling them in elite private schools. Her daughter will be attending Miss Porter's School." Hmm. Actually, no. Her daughter is six. Bella's smart, but we're pretty sure she's got a few more years of adding and subtracting before she heads to high school.

The Husband and I made a night of attending the forum -- dining on the tuna sandwiches donated by Highland Park Market. We shook hands and schmoozed with candidates and residents from both sides of the aisle. This is local politics; no need for partisan ickyness, right?

Each candidate was given four minutes to tell us why he or she should get our vote. Most read from prepared statements (Amy did not, which I thought was cool.) But it was Charlie Keniston who really set us on on the path of divisiveness. "This is like the presidential election," he said. "You don't vote for a president from one party and a vice-president from another party. You vote for a team." Really? In a town election? Some towns don't even designate political parties for their boards of education. Nearby Avon was recently commended in the Hartford Courant for having a board of education that rarely splits its votes and rarely votes along party lines. But here in Farmington, Charlie wants it to be us vs. them.

Do politicians really think that's what their constituents want? Here's a hint: We don't. We want you to make decisions that are in our best interests. That's it. Get over yourself, please.

I've volunteered to make calls for Amy, asking Undeclared voters if they'd be likely to vote for her. So far I've called one intoxicated young woman and one deceased elderly woman.

It was difficult to determine if either of them would make it to the polls on Nov. 3.

1 comment:

  1. reminds me of lots of great stories going door to door (dog bites, doors slammed in my face) or calling... And this was before the age of robo calls... Maybe there is a book waiting to be written - great phone calling and door to door experiences.