Just about a year ago I wrote about a candidate in Enfield, Connecticut, Republican Clemence Dumont, and her unlikely effort to oust a local Democrat councilman.
She was a newcomer to politics, a Republican in a town where the Democrats had a 2-1 voter registration advantage. Her opponent was entrenched in the Democrat party and presumably in his council seat too.
But Clem, as she is known, went to work early, stayed late, and didn't give up. She kept right on campaigning until the last poll closed on Election Day.
Clem won by a slim margin that stood up to a recount, and now she is finishing up her first year on the council, representing her district, doing the people's work - really, she actually believes she should perform as promised when she was campaigning!
Clem set an example last year that I have seen repeated throughout Connecticut's Assembly districts and I would like to highlight four candidates for state office who I see as shining examples of that dedication and work ethic.
First, in the 8th House District, Timothy Ackert, Tim to everyone, but Timothy on the ballot, has put in a disciplined and energetic campaign. Tim was among the first candidates for the state Legislature to qualify for public financing, and he has spent his money wisely.
Tim sent out thousands of flyers, mailers and letters to the voters in the 8th District, which covers Columbia, Coventry and part of Vernon. But he also got out among the people shaking hands at event after event in all three towns.
And he didn't stop there. Tim knocked on thousands of doors throughout the campaign. I kid you not. Thousands! Tim personally, taking time to talk with voters who seem to be universally discouraged, frustrated and fed up with what has been going on in Washington, D.C., and in Hartford, Connecticut as well.
He ran a clean, issues-oriented campaign and did everything he could to get his message to the voters and show what action in Hartford could be like, after years of inaction by the Democrat incumbents.
Following Tim's lead are two candidates in Enfield, Susan Lavelli-Hozempa running for the 58th Assembly district, and William "Bill" Ballard for the 59th. Sue also received public financing which she put to good use and she too made extraordinary efforts to spread her message to the voters.
Sue currently serves on the Enfield Board of Education and spearheaded the first-ever in the nation Citizens Audit Committee to delve into school financing. To say that the committee's work was successful is a major understatement.
Sue's knowledge of how government is supposed to work, and her insight on financial matters, will serve her community and the state well if they send her to Hartford. Does she have a chance against a 10-year incumbent?
Well, her opponent is so confident of retaining her seat that she sent out campaign literature that included a recipe for pot roast and family photos! Can you believe that? She either is not thinking or not caring that voters might notice.
If you want campaign memorabilia, go find a 2008 brochure from Enfield Democrat Kathy Tallarita - especially if you want to cook a roast tonight - if you can afford a roast tonight what with all the taxes the Democrats have attached to it.
But make sure you vote for Susan Lavelli-Hozempa tomorrow!
Bill Ballard didn't receive public financing, but his district is entirely within the town of Enfield, and he has been able to make his case to the voters by walking out his door and down the street.
Bill has focused on crime and illegal immigration among other issues. He doesn't approve of sanctuary cities and wants a roll back on gasoline taxes, the business entity tax, and other "temporary" taxes passed by the Democrats that never go away.
Lavelli-Hozempa and Ballard, like Ackert, are up against entrenched Democrats. Two out of three of the incumbents, those faced by Ackert and Lavelli-Hozempa, are long-term office holders. The Democrat incumbents are major players in the state Legislature that has brought a breakdown in the state economy, out-of-sight gasoline, property and business taxes, and a burgeoning budget deficit that is heading toward a billion dollars.
Under the Democrats, who control both houses of the Legislature with near veto-proof majorities, Connecticut has earned the dishonor of being the least business friendly state in the nation, and jobs have been fleeing as a result.
Crime is out of control in our cities as well as suburban areas, shoot outs and murders in the Capital city vie for news headlines with home invasions in once-quiet communities. The Democrats passed a watered-down law that they say "gets tough" on career violent criminals - by increasing the average time spent behind bars for third offenders to a whopping 7.9 years. (Sarcasm implied and intended.)
Republicans are backing a Three-Strikes bill that would put all violent career felons behind bars for life.
Last but not least on my list is Pamela Sawyer who is running - unopposed - in the state's 55th House District. Sawyer is one of those rare legislators who can stand on her record of performance, even in a year when "incumbent" has become a dirty word in most districts.
She is so effective, so energetic, and so well-liked in her district that the Democrats couldn't find anyone to run against her. But that hasn't stopped Sawyer from campaigning!
She has made public appearances, her lawn signs are all over the district, she stands up for others of her party who are running for office, and basically shows the world what a real representative should look like.
Also on the ballot this year is an opportunity that comes only once every two decades - a vote to give us the right to amend the state Constitution. If we approve this measure, Connecticut will have the right to hold referendums on issues that matter to the voters, instead of letting a handful of legislators and judges write the laws of the land.
The question is: "Shall there be a Constitutional Convention to amend or revise the Constitution of the State?" My answer is Yes!
I have heard some negative comments about the viability of this measure from people who say that if the Democrats maintain their majorities in the Legislature they will set the agendas, and the makeup of the convention. Well, we have two answers to that.
One, throw the Democrats out of office. Term limits can be imposed tomorrow so impose them! Second, regardless of what the Constitutional Convention proposes, we the voters will still have the final say for a change.
So vote Yes on the Constitutional question, vote for the GOP, throw the bad guys out, put good guys in and let's get back to Government OF THE PEOPLE!
If we get government of the people, then BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE follow like day after night.
But this all rests on the willingness of voters to take a few minutes of their time tomorrow and get out there to vote! Please.
Clem Dumont has shown what can happen when good people work to participate in government. I have given you four more examples of her approach. It is a rare opportunity facing us, on every race from President, to Congress, to our state Legislators. WE can make a change.
But first we have to vote!
Monday, November 03, 2008