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A smart PR effort for the local GOP

The Winsted Journal Editorial

After working to defeat two budgets in town this year by lobbying hard against any and all tax increases, Winchester’s local Republican party is continuing to win the public relations battle this week by organizing to help renovate the Rowley Street Playground, which is sorely in need of repairs.

The local GOP’s newfound dedication to helping children may seem contrived to some — and perhaps even counterintuitive to their harsh budget policies — but the fact is the group has picked a specific task to embrace and is in the process of organizing a team to fix up the centrally located playground, in an act that can only be regarded as caring and kind.

So, chalk it up as another victory for the Republicans, who, with the smallest possible minority on the current Board of Selectmen, have managed to dictate policy to the Democratic supermajority.

The Democrats, who ran on the oft-repeated slogan, “Rebuilding Community,” are in danger of being outdone even when it comes to that theme, since it is the GOP that is actually putting a plan into action and making a very public contribution to the community.

This is not to say the Republicans are right about their policies. Much of the debate for the past few years has featured angry diatribes from flip-flopping members of the party who seem interested only in defeating the opposing party. A continued lack of support and empathy for the local education system has been a hallmark of the current board minority, which has used harsh political tactics to reduce proposed budget funding both for education and town infrastructure improvements. Driving in a few nails at the playground doesn’t change that fact.

Still, it is the GOP that is winning the PR effort, and townspeople on all sides should take notice. If the Democrats and other opposing parties want to create a brighter future for Winsted, it will behoove them to join their neighbors in these public enhancement efforts and put some muscle behind their words. If residents work together on these projects, they may ultimately learn they have more in common than they thought.